Winnipeg police get provincial funding to beef blockchain forensics unit

Winnipeg police get provincial funding to beef blockchain forensics unit

The $100,000 Canadian Dollars (CAD), in provincial funding, will make Winnipeg police more prepared to handle cryptocurrency-related cybercrime.

Kevin Goertzen, the Provincial Justice Minister, stated on Aug. 3, that the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund money will be used for five additional police officers to complete a CryptocurrencyTracing Certified Examiner training program and to purchase specialized software to trace the activities of cybercrime such as CipherTrace or Blockchain Forensics.

According to the Manitoba government cybercrimes increased by more that 370% between 2016-2020. Sgt. Trevor Thompson, Winnipeg’s police financial crime unit, stated in a statement:

“Criminal actors have now moved into the cryptocurrency space, using it primarily to get funds from their victims as cryptocurrencies have become more popular and widely available.” Police must adapt to the increase in cryptocurrency use in criminal enterprises in order to counter it.

Thompson stated that his office receives 7 to 8 reports per day about cybercrime, most of which are related to investment scams that exploit victims’ inadequacy of crypto. Many of the criminal organizations involved in cybercrime are not located within Canada. He also said that anonymity is a problem in crypto-related crime.

Related: Victorian police will have ‘greater powers’ to seize cryptocurrency assets from criminals

Thompson stated at a news conference, that most fraudsters in Winnipeg and Canada now use crypto in romance scams and online job scams. This can lead to financial loss and emotional distress.

The Manitoba Securities Commission also actively fights crypto-related cybercrime. It has warned the public about a number of criminal schemes. Since its inception, the Manitoba Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund (MMPF) has distributed more that $20 million CAD.

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