OPP issue warning after Mapleton resident scammed out of $113,000

MAPLETON – Police are reminding residents to be wary of investment scams after a Mapleton resident was defrauded of over $100,000 – and then several thousand more after “a company” claimed it could recover the lost funds.

Wellington County OPP officials say officers responded to a reported fraud on July 24 in Mapleton Township.

“It was reported that the victim had lost approximately $109,000 in an investment scam involving bitcoin,” police stated in a July 25 press release.

“The victim then paid approximately $4,000 to a company that claimed it could recover their lost investment.

“Investigation determined that this company was also fraudulent.”

Police are trying to warn residents about investment scams in general, and in particular about the latter, which they have termed “recovery pitch scams.”

“In this type of scam, fraudsters retain a list and contact previous investment scam victims by telephone, email, social media or will use search engine optimization and claim that they can return the funds the victim lost in a previous investment scam,” police explained.

“Fraudsters will tell victims that there is a fee for their services and, in some cases, will ask for remote access to the victim’s computer or device.

“In the end, no funds are returned to the victim and more funds are potentially stolen.”

The OPP is offering the following tips to help protect residents:

  • if you’ve been a victim of fraud, fraudsters may target you again with a promise to get your money back;
  • never be afraid to hang up the phone;
  • never allow an unknown person to gain remote access to your computer/device;
  • always have your computer/device serviced by a reputable local business;
  • never pay an advance fee to obtain a refund;
  • remember that search engine optimization refers to the ability to have websites appear in the first results of an online search – don’t assume the top results mean companies are legitimate;
  • if you provide personal information or grant remote access to your computer, follow these steps to protect yourself from identity fraud; and
  • learn more tips and tricks for protecting yourself.

Police say anyone who suspects they have been the victim of cybercrime or fraud should report it to local police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.

You can also visit www.getsmarteraboutmoney.ca, an initiative of the Ontario Securities Commission’s Investor Office to help people make informed financial decisions.