Cryptoasset fraud attempts increased nine-fold in 2021

By Geoff Agombar – Local Journalism Initiative
Cryptoasset fraud attempts increased nine-fold in 2021

Exploding values of some cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, often drives fevered headlines about overnight millionaires. But, like all investments, big rewards rarely stray far from big risks.

Buying high and selling low is not the only way to lose money when experimenting this hot new market.

March is Fraud Prevention Month. Alongside police notices urging vigilance against phone scams and cybercrimes, Quebec’s financial markets authority (Autorité des marchés financiers, or AMF) is urging Quebecers to have their guard up against fraud when trading crytpoassets, especially offers promoted on social media.

In 2021, the agency received nine times more reports of attempted fraud involving cryptoassets than in 2020.

“Solicitations on social networks, catchy ads, use of influencers to hype the popularity of their tokens: fraudsters use many schemes to lure their victims. Prudence and vigilance are the best defense against fraud, scams and abuse,” said Louis Morisset, AMF president and CEO.

The AMF has two campaigns underway to raise awareness of fraud risk in this market. On Youtube, videos compare cryptoassets to sitting in a sports car or wearing high fashion but, poof, you are standing in your underclothes or sitting on the ground holding a steering wheel when the value crashes or the fraudster vanishes.

The other campaign reminds Quebecers just as they want to make a quick buck on the cryptoassets, fraudsters are just as interested, and better prepared, to make a quick buck off of them.

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