An Ontario man says he is “devastated” after investing his entire life savings in an investment scam he became involved in through a YouTube video he saw.“I’m devastated. It ruined me, and my savings are gone,” said Stephen Carr of Meaford, Ontario. Online investment fraud continues to be a significant problem in Canada, and Carr is one of many victims.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, $379 million in fraudulent losses were recorded in Canada in 2021, with cryptocurrency fraud being the leading cause of failures. Carr said he saw a YouTube video promising he could make a lot of money trading commodities, foreign currencies and cryptocurrencies.
He said he contacted the company and started with an initial investment of $250. As that seemed to grow, he collected another $2,500. At some point, Carr asked for a $1,000 payout, which he received, giving him confidence that the site was legitimate. After that, from October 2022 to January 2023, Carr invested his savings of $498,000.
“What I didn’t know at the time was that the trading platform I was on was a simulation that was not connected to a flight simulator or a real aircraft,” he said. Carr became concerned when he thought his fortune had grown to 1.3 million and wanted to take some of it off. However, he was told to pay a $150,000 liquidation fee to get his money.“I was scammed, and in hindsight, I put a ridiculous amount of money into it and put a ridiculous amount of trust in these people,” Carr said.
“I’m devastated. I’m selling my house, and I have to rearrange my life. Maybe two or three months of usable money left, and that’s it.” Jason Tschetter of Alberta lost $81,000 to a crypto scam last year. Tschetter founded Fraud Hunters Canada, a group that seeks to support victims and help them get their money back.
Given international borders and limited police resources, this is nearly impossible.”These criminals have done a real business out of it, and the business is thriving,” Tschetter said. “Unfortunately, the police are understaffed and don’t have the time to investigate all the scams we receive. “