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How a Canadian Couple Lost Nearly $300,000 in a Crypto Scam

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A Canadian couple from Toronto fell prey to a cryptocurrency scammer and lost approximately $300,000 in a complex scheme. Nonetheless, law enforcement officials were able to recover a considerable amount of the lost money and returned it to the victims.

Another Canadian Crypto Scam

The Toronto Police Service announced earlier this week that an elderly man and his spouse, whose identities were not disclosed, became victims of fraud relating to cryptocurrency.

The couple was approached online by an unfamiliar person who claimed to be knowledgeable and professional in the investment field. After he gained their trust, he convinced them to invest their savings in a fraudulent cryptocurrency platform. The victim then urged the couple to send some funds via a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange to a designated wallet. Initially, they saw no red flags since the value of their investment was significantly growing on the platform. At some point, they even transferred funds directly to the fraudster. 

The couple began noticing fraudulent activities when they attempted to withdraw some holdings. The scammer demanded that they pay hefty fees or invest more to complete such transactions. Eventually, they lost nearly $300,000.

The Toronto Police Service conducted an investigation and managed to recover a significant amount of the money lost. Although the identity of the scammer remains unknown, law enforcement officials assume that they are located abroad. 

Stephen Carr, a resident of Meaford, Ontario, also fell victim to a similar scheme and lost his entire life savings, approximately $500,000, in a crypto scam on YouTube, which the police could not retrieve. As a result, Carr has to sell his house to restart his life anew. 

Avoiding Crypto Scams

After news of the scam hit the airwaves, several investigators and experts advocated for caution when joining investments online. Detective Sean Vandecamp urged people to be extremely careful since these tactics are quite popular. 

“It is not likely that the funds are recovered via cryptocurrency, that’s why this is such a great success story,” he added.

Andreas Park, a finance professor at the University of Toronto, highlighted that crypto users are especially vulnerable to scams, stating,

“With this great freedom that you have comes the responsibility — and the problem — that if you send it to the wrong person, it’s just gone.”

Vanessa Iafolla, a fraud prevention consultant, and instructor at Wilfrid Laurier University advised those unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies to avoid any offerings involving the asset class.