“Investigations involving cryptocurrency have been increasing over the past few years, and as the technology advances and evolves, so do criminals,” said Talbot. “In cryptocurrency investigations, the only way to identify the exchange where the funds have been deposited, is through blockchain analysis.”
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians reported more than $300 million in losses to investment fraud in 2022, nearly doubling from $164 million the year prior. Of the reported incidents, Talbot said the majority involved investing in cryptocurrency after seeing a deceptive advertisement.
“For LPS, the addition of Chainalysis Reactor as an investigative tool gives us the ability to fully investigate cryptocurrency crimes with the best chance at a successful conclusion,” said Talbot, noting that in the past, LPS has relied on assistance from the Calgary Police Service to perform blockchain analysis.
The police service described a blockchain as a decentralized public leger that records cryptocurrency transactions across a network of computers. Blockchain analysis involved interpreting data on the blockchain.
LPS said it believes that cryptocurrency fraud is underreported on a nation-wide basis for a variety of reasons, including a perception that little can be done about it.
“But the addition of Chainalysis Reactor in-house significantly increases LPS’ investigative capabilities and the Service is encouraging victims to come forward,” reads a media release from LPS.
Some red flags and tips when investing in cryptocurrency, as provided in a news release from LPS, include:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Fraudsters will offer investment opportunities with higher than normal or true monetary returns
- Fraudsters often use high-pressure tactics to get consumers to hand over their money quickly. Do not “act now”
- Be aware that once a cryptocurrency transaction is completed it is unlikely it can be reversed
- Be skeptical when someone insists you don’t discuss the potential investment with others
- Be wary if a “friend” tells you about a cryptocurrency investment opportunity via social media or email. The friend could be a fraudster who has either hacked or spoofed one of your contacts’ accounts
- Be cautious if someone on a dating site or social media platform encourages you to invest and vouches for the company’s safety or says they’re investing with them too
- Verify if the investment company is on the Canadian Securities Administrators’ National Registration Search Tool
- Check to see if a person or company has been flagged as a risk to investors on the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada website and with provincial regulators
Residents of Lethbridge who have been victimized in a cryptocurrency scam or other crypto crime can phone LPS at 403-328-4444.
READ MORE: Lethbridge News Now
If you have a news tip, question or concern, please email Lethbridge.newsroom@Pattisonmedia.com.
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