TORONTO — Canadians have been swindled out of than $1.7 million via scams involving cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin so far this year — more than double the amount during all of 2016.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says that's more than five times the amount people lost to these types of scams in 2015, which was roughly $284,000.
As bitcoin becomes more popular with investors, sending the price above US$17,000 mark last week, criminals appear to be increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies to extort payment from their victims as well.
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Police say to beware
These new figures come after police in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario warned in recent months to beware of scams involving demands for a transfer of funds using bitcoin.
RCMP in Langley, B.C., last month said a woman received a call from what she believed was her husband's cellphone and someone posing as a police officer, asking for bail to secure her spouse's release.
Police said the woman followed the caller's instructions and paid them $5,000 in bitcoin, before receiving a call from her husband who was sitting at home and never arrested in the first place.
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