VANCOUVER -- Mounties in Surrey are warning the public to be mindful of investment scams after dozens of incidents have been recorded since the start of the year totalling more than half a million dollars in loss.

In a news release Monday, the Surrey RCMP said it's recorded 59 incidents of fraud involving cryptocurrency since January, totalling a loss of $612,748.

Of those fraud incidents involving some sort of cryptocurrency, 25 of the 59 were CRA and police scams, Mounties said. Those usually involve someone passing themselves off as a person in authority like a police officer, financial institution or government agency.

But the most significant financial losses have come from cryptocurrency investment scams, leading to $375,000 being lost by victims.

Mounties say those scams often involve the victim willingly transferring money to a stranger online for the purpose of buying cryptocurrency. In the end, those transactions turned out to be fraudulent.

"Your best defence against becoming a victim is knowledge and awareness. If you choose to purchase any kind of cryptocurrency, ensure that you use a major trading platform or online exchange," said Const. Brad Charpentier of Surrey RCMP's economic cybercrime section, in a news release.

"Be aware that cryptocurrencies are not insured and if your money is stolen, you will not be reimbursed."

Mounties recommend people use strong passwords and security questions for all online accounts.

Signs of a scam can include unsolicited phone calls, emails or texts, the use of threatening language, requests for personal information and demands for payment by e-transfer, pre-paid credit cards, gift cards or online currency.

Scams should be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 and to local police.