An Ontario man has allegedly lost his home plus his entire life savings after falling victim to a crypto scam.
Stephen Carr of Meaford got involved with the scam after watching a YouTube video that promised he could make large amounts of money trading commodities, foreign currencies, and cryptocurrencies. To test the waters, Carr started with a $250 investment and poured another $2,500 after seeing his investment grow.
At one point, the Canadian resident asked for a $1,000 withdrawal, which he received and gave him confidence the website was legitimate. Subsequently, he invested his life savings of $498,000 from a period in October 2022 to January 2023, as per a report by CTV News Toronto.
“What I didn’t know at the time is this trading platform I was on was a simulation, it wasn’t connected to anything, like a flight simulator that’s not connected to a real airplane,” he told the outlet.
After his investment grew to a whopping $1.3 million, Carr tried to withdraw some of his funds. However, he was asked to pay a $150,000 liquidation provision to get his money. He said:
“I got conned, and in hindsight, I put a ridiculous amount of money in this and a ridiculous amount of trust in these people. I’m devastated. I’m in the process of selling my house and have to reorganize my life. I’ve got maybe two or three months of useable cash left, and that’s it.”
Jason Tschetter of Alberta, who has also lost $81,000 in a crypto scam, started Fraud Hunters Canada, a group that tries to support victims and help them recover their money, last year. However, due to the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies and limited police resources, it’s almost impossible to recover stolen crypto funds.
As reported, the crypto industry lost approximately $4 Billion worth of digital assets to hacks, fraud, scams, and rug pulls last year, with five major exploits totaling $2,361,000,000 alone, accounting for 59.8% of all losses in the year.
While hacks accounted for the bulk majority of crypto losses in 2022, other forms of illegal activities, including scams and frauds, continued to evolve and claim more victims. For instance, some scams capitalized on the World Cup Qatar 2022 program to launch phishing websites from around the globe designed to steal users’ identifying and banking data.
In late 2022, Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky said that BlueNoroff, a subgroup of the North Korean state-sponsored hacking group Lazarus, is now impersonating venture capitalists looking to invest in crypto startups in a new phishing method. Reportedly, BlueNoroff has created more than 70 fake domains that seek to pose as venture capital firms and banks.