Doug and Victoria Lloyd are left searching for answers after the retired married couple was taken for $177,023 through a line of credit.
It all started with an online video of what appeared to be Elon Musk promoting a new investment opportunity.
The Lloyds followed a link in the video description and submitted their phone number to a website that promised significant financial returns.
“In the beginning it was exhilarating. Thinking, wow, there’s this new thing you can invest in and you’d make money and we were able to maybe get our dream house,” said Victoria Lloyd.
“We needed the money at the time. We needed to build up as many funds as we could.”
However, the video was fake, made with deepfake technology. It was the beginning of a scam that would drastically change the Lloyds’ lives forever.
It all started at the beginning of October, when they received a call from a man claiming to work for an investment platform called ‘Be the Bank’.
The man put them in touch with a ‘financial advisor’ who convinced the Lloyds to send him a small sum in order to begin forex trading on their behalf.
“We talked for hours every day for months. He always encouraged me and told me what to do,” said Doug Lloyd.
“He built it up like he was my best friend. He’d talk to us about his wife and his dog sometimes.”
After a while, the scammer convinced Mr. Lloyd to invest in cryptocurrency and increase the sum he was sending to maximize his returns.
“That’s when things went up $10,000 that night, $20,000 we made the next night and that was when it was early,” said Mr. Lloyd
“I started telling my friends and they were all saying ‘oh, that’s a fraud. Don’t do that.’ But it was so real. I mean, you could see it all online and we checked them out through the better business bureau in England, and their website looked all so legitimate.”
Doug Lloyd was in a serious motorcycle collision when he was 20 years old that left him hemiplegic. With limited mobility, he now has challenges working a computer.
The scammer recognized this and pressured the couple into granting him access to remotely control their laptop in order to move the process along faster.
He would go through Mr. Lloyd’s emails and even his bank account and it seemed to be working well.
By late November, the Lloyds say their account had swelled to roughly $500,000 in value, but when Mr. Lloyd tried to withdrawal $350,000 USD, the man they had been talking to changed his tone.
“He always had an answer for everything, until he got angry,” said Mr. Lloyd.
In voicemails sent to CTV News, the scammer is heard pressuring the couple saying they were “making the biggest mistake of their lives” and warning them “don’t fall for any kind of scam from other people saying they are calling from a fraud department.”
The Lloyds have since filed a police report with the Ottawa Police Service and they have alerted Scotiabank.
However, police say the chance they will be able to recoup their money is slim.
The bank told them their investigation found no clear evidence of fraud on the couple’s ScotiaCard.
“Scotiabank cannot comment on the details of individual client situations for privacy reasons,” said Scotiabank in a statement to CTV News.
“Recognizing that fraud is an ever-present risk in financial services and other industries and is a constantly evolving threat here in Canada and around the world, we continue to update information and work with industry partners to drive awareness. We also encourage all clients to practice safe banking habits and do their part to help recognize, reject, and report fraud. For resources and tips, clients can visit https://www.scotiabank.com/security.”
The couple is now facing a mountain of debt on their line of credit that they were planning to use to create their dream home.
“We were trying to build a house so that we wouldn’t have to go into a retirement home and we could just live there for the rest of our lives,” Mrs. Lloyd said.
“But they took it. It’s just devastating. All our dreams are gone. I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else. It’s not fair. We worked all our lives and you’re planning your future, your life but it’s all gone. We could even lose this house. They just took it away from us.”
In 2023, there were 3,631 victims who were tricked by similar scams, losing a collective $309 million according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Specifically for Ontario, 1,209 victims were swindled out of roughly $111 million.
This article was originally sourced from www.CTVNews.ca