Senior is lost $106,000 from CryptoRom scam

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An Ontario man is scammed out $106,000 of his retirement money. The victim said he will likely have to sell his home as a result.

Sylvester, from Oshawa, who did not want to provide his surname, said he is devastated and left completely lost after realizing he had been conned out of his entire savings. 

Sylvester, said “I just met this girl online, and I started to talk to her, and she said she’s making some money in cryptocurrencies and said I could too.”

In October 2021, Sylvester began online dating on Facebook dating where he met a woman, who claimed to be named Joanna and said she was visiting Canada from Korea. 

After a week of chatting online, “Joanna” suggested they invest in cryptocurrencies together. 

Sylvester started with $500, but then invested thousands more. In total, he made about 22 transactions, taking loans from the bank and a line of credit. One transaction equaled $24,000 in funds. While Sylvester was making these transactions he was under the impression that the woman he was online dating was putting in equal amounts.

The woman also sent him printouts showing that his investments were rapidly going up, however when he tried to take his money out in December he couldn’t and then relaized he was scammed out of $106,000. 

Sylvester said “I’m retired and that was my retirement money that I saved. Now my heart is crying.”

Canadians, like Sylvester, lost more than $70 million in 2021 to investment fraud and another $40 million to romance scams. Criminals are now combining the two types of fraud (investment and romance) and are calling this scam “CryptoRom.”

In November, CTV News Toronto reported another case where a woman who lost $80,000 in a cryptocurrency scam after connecting with a man on a dating website.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre explained that while victims may think they’re investing in cryptocurrencies, they’re really just handing their money over to criminals.

Sue Labine with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre told CTV News Toronto: “The fraudster is sending a platform, which is fake, but it very much looks real to the victims.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people of all ages have been lonely and have turned to dating websites for companionship. This scam could happen to anyone.

Sylvester’s said: “I’m lost. My mind is not working properly. I can’t think, I can’t do anything. I borrowed money from my friends, I borrowed money from all the banks. I have to sell my house probably.”

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