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British Columbia Officials, RCMP Issue Warning To International Crypto “Money Mules”

Julia Smith
Last updated: | 2 min read
RCMP crypto, BCSC crypto, IMET warning

The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have issued a warning to ten B.C. residents over their alleged involvement in international crypto fraud schemes, the officials revealed in a press conference Monday.

According to both the RCMP’s Integrated Marketing Enforcement Team (IMET) and the BCSC, officials hand-delivered the warnings on May 29. Authorities allege that the unnamed residents assisted in criminally moving funds related to digital assets internationally, effectively making them crypto “money mules.”

BCSC, RCMP IMET Crack Down On Illicit Crypto Activity

“We are going to identify individuals who are clearly showing the intent and knowledge as it relates to their activity, which is going to be required in order to be able to substantiate a charge and ultimate conviction in criminal court,” RCMP Superintendent Adam Macintosh said.

The province has struggled to grapple with increasing crypto crime in recent years, with Surrey residents losing over $12 million to illicit cryptocurrency scams in 2023 alone.

In January and February 2024, police in the Vancouver metropolitan area had already received over 50 crypto fraud reports amounting to over $3.2 million stolen.

“Using spoofed websites and mobile applications with fake trades and profits, the victims are encouraged to invest money on the investing platform. When the victim attempts to withdraw their investments, they are typically asked for more money for taxes and other fees,” the RCMP said in a March 2024 statement. “Eventually the scammer stops communicating with the victim and the victim realizes they have been defrauded of all the money they believed they were investing.”

Digital Asset Scams Of Increasing Concern Across North America

The Canadian officials’ press conference comes amid growing crypto scam concerns across North America. On Tuesday morning, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urged consumers to “cut off contact” with potential crypto fraudsters.

Last month, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) alerted citizens about the rise of numerous crypto-related frauds that “often result in investors losing most, or all, of their money.”

“These elaborate scams use social manipulation and financial grooming tactics to exploit the public’s interest in, and incomplete understanding of, crypto assets,” the CAFC said in a statement. “Victims are lured into transferring increasing amounts of money.”

It appears the BCSC and IMET are cracking down on illicit digital asset activity.

While no arrests regarding B.C. crypto “money mules” have been made, the BCSC and IMET’s latest warning may mark the final step ahead of formal criminal charges against its residents.