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The Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay (BBB), a Canadian consumer advocacy group, has warned against the “exploding” crypto scam industry, per Global News.
“It’s kind of the wild west in the crypto asset market right now. It’s a big problem. It’s exploding,” the BBB’s Wes Lafortune told Global News, which contacted the consumer group about a crypto scam that targeted Calgary investor Isabelle Lévesque.
Lafortune added that the median loss for victims is approximately $600 and that Canada has already lost millions of dollars due to cryptocurrency fraud.
“It’s a bit of the gold rush mentality. People want to make a quick buck and there’s promises of huge profit, huge gains, and those usually don’t materialize. Bottom line is don’t invest in a crypto asset unless you can afford to lose the money.”
In Lévesque’s case, she believes she lost out on about $2,500 due to what she believed to be fraudulent activity.
She told Global News she trusted a company called True North Bit with her money and saw returns on her investments quickly but was pressured to invest further. She was allegedly told if she didn’t invest about $10,000, she would be transferred to a more junior advisor and would not see the returns she saw earlier.
She refused and instead tried to get her money out.
“A lady called me and started to direct me to do all kinds of transactions that I didn’t understand. The balance that night, the balance on my account that I could see online, was zero,” she said.
“I was being very adventurous and very unprepared for what I was investing in. I trusted them. I can’t believe I got caught.”
This is not Canada’s first encounter with the dark side of crypto, either.
Canada, crypto, and regulation
In January 2021, a 48-year-old Canadian lost about $27,000 worth of in a scam.
In September 2021, the Canadian Securities Administrators and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada issued a joint letter warning against misleading and “gambling-style” crypto ads.
Two months later, Canadian police in Hamilton made an arrest relating to a cryptocurrency scam worth approximately $36 million.