Stephen Carr – a resident of Meaford, Ontario – said he lost his entire life savings of nearly $500,000 after being scammed into a cryptocurrency scheme on YouTube.
Scammers have repeatedly used the video-sharing website to lure victims. Some have even uploaded fake videos of celebrities, including Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates and Kanye West, who appear to be promoting dubious cryptocurrency investments.
In a recent interview, Carr said he became involved in the crypto scam through a video he watched on YouTube. The criminals promised the viewers that they could make a significant profit if they invested in their project.
At first, the Canadian found nothing suspicious and contacted people. He started with an investment of $250 and shortly after invested another $2,500.
After some time, Carr requested a withdrawal of $1,000, and the entity promptly complied. This gave him more confidence that everything was legit, and between October 2022 and January 2023, he invested almost $500,000 (his entire life savings).
The Canadian had his first doubts when he saw his funds grow to $1.3 million and asked to cash out some of it. However, the bad actors insisted that he pay a liquidation fee of $150,000 to complete the withdrawal.
“I got scammed, and looking back, I put a ridiculous amount of money into this and a ridiculous amount of trust in these people,” Carr lamented.
The devastated individual admitted the scam forced him to put his house up for sale so he could reorganize his life. “I have maybe two or three months of usable cash left, and that’s it,” he added.
Carr said he wants to share his story so others can stay vigilant and not repeat his mistake.
Jason Tschetter – an Alberta resident who was also defrauded in a similar scheme last year – recently launched Fraud Hunters Canada (an organization that supports victims and helps them get their money back).
He pointed out that criminals have turned cryptocurrency scams into a “real business”, while the police lack the necessary time and ability to investigate and catch the culprits.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people will go through anger, depression, denial. He will even try to bargain with the criminal, but it just won’t work. I’ve talked to several recovery companies, but many of them are in the same boat and are scams themselves,” Tschetter said.
Other crypto scams on YouTube
Steve Wozniak – one of the co-founders of Apple – filed filed a lawsuit against YouTube in the summer of 2020, alleging that it allowed scammers to use his face to lure people into fake bitcoin giveaways. American inventor and computer programmer lost case in 2021 after the court found that his arguments were not strong enough.
Wozniak is not the only famous person involved in such scams. Criminals have also played Elon Musk, Bill Gates and others over the years.
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