One of the largest blockchain data platforms globally is partnering with the Calgary Police Force to fight cybercrime following a rise in complaints from Calgarians over cryptocurrency scams.

Chainalysis, a United States-based blockchain data platform, provides data, software and research services to government agencies, financial institutions, cybersecurity companies, and law enforcement organizations.

“Cyber is quickly becoming a component of most criminal activity, and often requires collaboration between law enforcement and other expert industries.”

With Chainalysis, the Calgary Police Service Cyber Forensics Unit has created the CPS Blockchain Investigation Team (BIT), dedicated to support cryptocurrency and blockchain-related investigations.

Cybercrimes, particularly cryptocurrency scams, can be difficult for law enforcement to fully investigate due to a variety of complex factors, including various international locations and jurisdictions, sophisticated criminal techniques and quickly advancing technology.

The Calgary police have previously warned Calgarians that victims are typically targeted through ads on social media platforms. In some cases, victims believe they are communicating with a known friend or advisor who counsels them how to set up a cryptocurrency account through a legitimate website. The victim than transfers money into what they believe are investment accounts actually provided by the advisor.

The police service partnered with Chainalysis after Calgarians reported a loss of $13.9 million to cryptocurrency-related crimes to Calgary police last year. So far, another $3.2 million has been reported in 2023.

With the increase in the adoption and use of cryptocurrencies and digital assets in Canada has come a corresponding rise in cybercrime, according to Chainalysis research. Canada ranked 22nd in our Global Crypto Adoption Index in 2022, up from 26th in 2021 and 24th in 2020.

Canadian engagement with crypto ATMs, decentralized exchanges, and centralized exchanges, shows that Canada has experienced a nearly 213 percent increase in use of crypto since 2019 as of January 2023.

At the same time, for every 1,000 Canadians, there was at least $1,144 CAD in total exposure to illicit crypto activity in 2022 alone, Chainalysis reports. The top 10 scams in terms of revenue alone took in over $41.7 million CAD in Canada in 2022.

The police service and Chainalysis are calling the hub that will house the CPS Blockchain Investigation Team the Western Canada Cryptocurrency Investigations Centre. They claim it will strengthen the Calgary Police Service’s ability to ensure the public safety of citizens, according to the police. It will also allow for proactive policing, enhance technical investigative skills and provide expert training resources for law enforcement, the police service claimed.

“Cyber is quickly becoming a component of most criminal activity, and often requires collaboration between law enforcement and other expert industries,” said Chief Constable Mark Neufeld of the Calgary Police Service.

Chainalysis and the Calgary Police Service intend to offer training to other law enforcement personnel, as well as case support. Chainalysis claims it has a long history of supporting law enforcement officials. Its data platform and team of experts have helped on cases involving child abuse material, darknet markets, ransomware gangs, North Korean hacking, and more, leading to the seizure of billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies.

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Chainanlysis said that the partnership will offer a global blueprint for public and private sector partnerships when it comes to increasing the safety of cryptocurrency and providing meaningful opportunities for collaboration between law enforcement and leading industry experts.

The Calgary Police Service is not the only law enforcement agency looking at cryptocurrency crimes. The RCMP has been training more officers to tackle investigations involving cryptocurrency.

“Cryptocurrencies provide the medium to move value anywhere in the world in minutes,” said Inspector Adrienne Vickery, the RCMP’s officer in charge of the Cryptocurrency Program with the Federal Policing Criminal Operations – Financial Crime Section. “When it’s done for illicit purposes, we have to employ all of our investigative techniques to find the source of the funds and prove the criminal offence.”

Cryptocurrency has become a go-to source to launder millions in criminal cash, because it can be exchanged into legal tender paper money such as Canadian or United States dollars. A total of $75 million was linked to cryptocurrency-enabled frauds in Canada in 2021, up from $22.8 million in 2020 and $8.2 million in 2019, according to the RCMP.

Vickery became the RCMP’s cryptocurrency co-ordinator in 2016, and has been building the agency’s capacity to deal with crimes associated with digital currency since then.

The post Calgary Police Force, Chainalysis partnership aims to reduce cryptocurrency scams first appeared on BetaKit.

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