A cryptocurrency exchange that claims its Canadian headquarters is in an unoccupied house in Churchill is not registered to trade securities in Manitoba, warns the Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC).
The MSC issued an investor warning about CrypTrade24, which claims to be legally registered in the Netherlands and operating from a two-bedroom bungalow in the Northern Manitoba port town on the shores of Hudson Bay.
Staff of the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets told MSC investigators that CrypTrade24 is not registered in the Netherlands, while the provincial government department that owns the company’s purported Canadian headquarters at 93 Button Street in Churchill says the building is currently unoccupied though it is sometime used as a residence for government employees who have to travel to Churchill for work.
“The address had me do a double take,” said MSC senior investigator Jason Roy in a news release. “I’ve seen many offshore trading firms use fictitious addresses, including a Winnipeg parking lot,”
CrypTrade24 promises up to a 200 per cent return on investment within 20 days, which is a “major red flag for fraud,” according to Roy.
“Investors cannot rely on the look of a website to determine if it is legitimate, and they can’t rely on how nice the person on the other end of the phone is,” Roy said. “Investors need to make sure the person they are dealing with is registered to sell investments in Manitoba. It is the number one way to protect against investment fraud.”
The British Columbia Securities Commission has also issued an investor caution naming CrypTrade24, the MSC says.
Anyone considering buying or selling an investment should research the company thoroughly and/or talk to their registered investment advisor to assure it is an appropriate decision, says the MSC.
Common features of fraudulent investment opportunities are promises of high returns with low risk, pressure to invest quickly or limited time offers, and unregistered salespeople and companies.
MSC says potential investors can check to see if an individual or company is registered to do business in Manitoba with an online check at aretheyregistered.ca. The website recognizeinvestmentfraud.com provides information about common investment frauds and scams. People who believe they have been targeted by any type of investment fraud attempt can call MSC’s anti-fraud line at 1-855-FRAUD-MB.