The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) has issued a public warning against cryptocurrency scams after reports of fraud involving two European firms.

On March 20, the Manitoba securities watchdog published an investor alert regarding Jbcapitals and Halifax & Associated for defrauding a rural Manitoban of more than $5,500. The two firms are affiliated with each other and primarily operate in Switzerland and Denmark.

Crypto scammers target victims on Facebook

Senior MSC investigator Jason Roy stated that the victim was lured by a Facebook ad for Jbcapitals:

“The company, Jbcapitals claimed to invest in Bitcoin/cryptocurrency markets on behalf of their clients with an ‘85% success rate’, but the victim was never able to recover any of his initial investment or supposed returns.”

The MSC warns investors to look out for red flags that suggest fraud. These include the promise of high returns or insider information, and often apply pressure on investors to make decisions quickly.

Police warn Manitobans of scams involving Bitcoin ATMs

On March 17, the Winnipeg Police Service published an article through the Winnipeg Free Press warning that a large number of Manitobans have fallen victims to scams “where fraudsters are having victims send them money in the form of Bitcoin.”

The scams are executed under a variety of pretexts, such as fake romantic liaisons or job opportunities, with victims often directed to transfer BTC via Bitcoin ATMs. 

The police have urged Manitobans not to transfer funds to individuals they have not met in person or to pay “government utility bills” using a Bitcoin ATM.