Manitoba Securities Commission Fraud Prevention

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Alerts & Cautions

INVESTOR ALERT: BITCOIN BANK

Posted: March 6 2018

MSC: Don’t Bank on Bitcoin Scheme

Winnipeg - The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) is issuing a warning to Manitobans about BITCOIN BANK – an online investment ‘bank’ for cryptocurrency allegedly operating from Sunnyvale, California. Bitcoin Bank recently began soliciting Manitobans via classified ad sites and social media to participate in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and trading scheme.

MSC’s investigation show much of BITCOIN BANK’s website content is misleading.

“For starters, their claims on how much money you will make are dubious,” says Jason Roy, senior investigator with the MSC. “We’ve also confirmed their purported office location in California is false, and the photos of their ‘team’ are fake—the photos have been taken from other websites and they’ve simply added fake bios.”

However, to the average person, the site, www.bitcoin-bank.io, may look professional, and the offers may sound encouraging. Roy suggests the easiest way for Manitobans to protect themselves only takes a moment of your time.

“March is national Fraud Prevention Month. We always tell people to check an individual or company’s registration before anything else at aretheyregistered.ca. BITCOIN BANK is not, and has never been, registered to trade securities in Manitoba. It would be illegal for them to accept your money.”

Other red flags to look for:
• A guarantee of high investment returns and low risk
• A bonus or reward for referring new members – typical of Pyramid schemes.
• Extensive spelling errors, poor grammar, or garbled English
• High-pressure sales tactics
• Unregistered sales people

MSC suggests potential investors follow some basic advice.

“Investors should ask themselves, ‘Do I fully understand how this works, and how would this fit with my overall long-term investment strategy?’” says MSC Communications Coordinator Jason Booth “In many instances, cryptocurrency investments are motivated more by FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out on the supposed goldrush, rather than a sound strategy. Even the legitimate products can be high-risk, and definitely not suitable for everyone.”

Attached to this release is the “Be Cautious of Cryptocurrency” infographic, which has more information on how investors can protect themselves from cryptocurrency fraud. It can also be found here.

Members of the public are advised to contact MSC if they are involved with BITCOIN BANK, or if they believe they have been targeted by any type of investment fraud attempt. MSC’s anti-fraud line is 1-855-FRAUD-MB.

The public can also visit recognizeinvestmentfraud.com for more information on common investment frauds and scams.

The Manitoba Securities Commission is a division of the Manitoba Financial Services Agency, a Special Operating Agency of the Government of Manitoba that protects investors and promotes fair and efficient capital markets throughout the province.


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Media Inquiries:
Jason Booth, Communications Coordinator, MSC |  204.945.1660 |  jason.booth@gov.mb.ca