Stephen Carr – a resident of Meaford, Ontario – said he lost his entire life savings of nearly $500,000 after being conned into a cryptocurrency scheme on YouTube.
Scammers have used the video-sharing website multiple times to lure victims. Some have even uploaded fake recordings of famous people, including Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, and Kanye West, who appear to promote dubious cryptocurrency investments.
In a recent interview, Carr said he got involved in the crypto scam through a video he watched on YouTube. The wrongdoers promised viewers they could make significant profits if they invested in their project.
Initially, the Canadian found nothing suspicious and contacted the people. He started with a $250 investment and contributed another $2,500 shortly after.
After a while, Carr requested a $1,000 withdrawal, and the entity honored it immediately. This gave him more confidence that everything was legitimate, and between October 2022 to January 2023, he invested almost $500,000 (his entire life savings).
The Canadian had his first doubts when he saw his funds growing to $1.3 million and asked to cash out part of it. However, the bad actors insisted he pays a $150,000 liquidation fee to complete the withdrawal.
“I got conned, and in hindsight, I put a ridiculous amount of money in this and a ridiculous amount of trust in these people,” Carr regretted.
The devastated individual admitted the fraud had forced him to put his house for sale so he could reorganize his life. “I’ve got maybe two or three months of useable cash left, and that’s it,” he added.
Carr said he wanted to share his story so others could stay cautious and not repeat his mistake.
Jason Tschetter – an Alberta resident who also got conned in a similar scheme last year – recently launched Fraud Hunters Canada (an organization that supports victims and helps them recover funds).
He outlined that criminals have turned cryptocurrency scams into an “actual business,” while the police lack the necessary time and ability to research and catch the culprits.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people are going to go through the anger, the depression, the denial. They will even try to bargain with the criminal, but it just won’t work. I’ve spoken to several recovery firms, but a lot of them are in the same boat and are fraudulent themselves,” Tschetter stated.
Other Crypto Scams on YouTube
Steve Wozniak – one of Apple’s Co-Founders – filed a lawsuit against YouTube in the summer of 2020, alleging it allowed fraudsters to use his face to lure people into fake bitcoin giveaways. The American inventor and computer programmer lost the case in 2021 after the court determined his arguments were not strong enough.
Wozniak is not the only famous figure involved in such scams. Criminals have also impersonated Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and others over the years.