Ontario man out $106,000 after being blindsided by twist of two scams
An Ontario man says he will probably have to sell his house after being scammed out $106,000 of his retirement money.
Sylvester, 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 savings.
"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," Sylvester, from Oshawa, said.
Sylvester said in October 2021, he was on a Facebook dating website when he met the woman, who claimed to be named Joanna and said she was visiting Canada from Korea.
After a week of chatting online, she suggested they invest in cryptocurrencies together.
Sylvester started with $500, but later invested thousands more. In total, he made about 22 transactions, taking loans from the bank and a line of credit.
At one time he transferred $24,000 in funds. He said he believed the woman he met online was also investing at the same time as him and putting in equal amounts.
Sylvester said at one time he even did a Zoom chat with the woman.
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.
That's when he said he realized he had been scammed out of $106,000.
A woman uses her computer keyboard to type while surfing the internet in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, December, 19, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
"I'm retired and that was my retirement money that I saved. Now my heart is crying," Sylvester said.
Canadians, like Sylvester, lost more than $70 million in 2021 to investment fraud and another $40 million to romance scams.
Now criminals are combining the two types of fraud adding a twist to dating scams that some are calling CryptoRom.
In November, CTV News Toronto spoke with a woman who lost $80,000 in a cryptocurrency scam after connecting with a man on a dating website.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said while victims may think they're investing in cryptocurrencies, they're really just handing their money over to criminals.
"The fraudster is sending a platform, which is fake, but it very much looks real to the victims," Sue Labine with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre told CTV News Toronto.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been lonely and have turned to dating websites for companionship.
Sylvester is devastated after being caught in the scam and is worried he will lose his home.
"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," Sylvester said.
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