Police in Winnipeg, the capital of the Canadian province of Manitoba, will be better prepared to tackle the use of cryptocurrencies in cybercrime, thanks to $100,000 Canadian dollars (CAD) in funding provided by the provincial government.
Provincial Justice Minister Kevin Goertzen on Aug. 3 said money from the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund will be used to put five additional members of the police force through a Cryptocurrency Tracing Certified Examiner training program, as well as purchase specialized software for the detection of cyber activities such as CipherTrace and Blockchain Forensics.
According to the Manitoba government, cyber crimes have increased by more than 370% between 2016 and 2020. Sgt. Trevor Thompson of the Winnipeg Police Financial Crimes Unit he said in a statement:
“As cryptocurrencies have grown in popularity and become more widely available, criminals have now migrated into this space and are primarily using cryptocurrencies as a means to obtain funds from their victims. In order to combat the increase in the use of cryptocurrencies in criminal enterprises, the police must adapt.”
Thompson continued they say that his office receives seven or eight cybercrime reports a day, mostly related to fraudulent investment schemes that take advantage of the victim’s lack of understanding of how encryption works. Many times the criminal organizations involved are outside of Canada. Anonymity is also an issue in crypto-related crimes, he added.
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Thomson he said a press conference that the majority of scams in Winnipeg and across Canada now use encryption in “traditional” romance scams and online employment scams that lead to “life-changing financial losses and emotional distress.”
The Manitoba Securities and Exchange Commission is also active in the fight against crypto-related cybercrime and has warned the public about a variety of criminal methods. The Manitoba Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund has distributed more than $20 million CAD since its inception in 2009.