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OPP warning of rise in “crypto romance fraud”

Be wary if someone you’ve been talking to online offers to help you invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. 

That’s a warning from Ontario Provincial Police.  

To mark Valentine’s Day, OPP officers have put out some advice for identifying “romance fraud,” a kind of scam that sees fraudsters forming romantic relationships with victims.  

They say Ontario residents lost more than $21-million last year to romance fraud, and over $111-million to investment fraud.  

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Now, officers say scammers are blending the two techniques into what they call “crypto romance frauds.” 

Police say scammers will claim that they’ve made money investing in cryptocurrency, and offer to help victims do the same. 

From there, they say the fraudsters use fake online investment apps and trading platforms to ask victims to send them money.  

Officers say they’ll do everything they can to make victims believe the investments are real, and victims often don’t realize they’ve been scammed until they try and fail to withdraw money. 

To protect yourself, police say you should avoid accepting online friend requests from people you don’t know, never send money to someone you haven’t met, and never give out personal information like your social insurance number online. 

If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a scam, you can report it to the OPP or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, online or over the phone. 

We’ve requested an interview with OPP Community Safety Officer Annie Collins to learn more. 

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