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Toronto woman says she lost $340,000 to cryptocurrency scam

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A woman from Toronto who lost $340,000 in a cryptocurrency scam is speaking up to stop others from falling into the same trap.

Natalya, who asked us not to use her full name because she is embarrassed, said it was last fall that she saw a story on YouTube that said she could make money investing in cryptocurrencies.

“It said invest in crypto this is the most current way to get rich,” Natalya said.

She contacted the company through their website and someone called her and convinced her to start investing with $250 and when she saw that amount grow she decided to invest even more.

“I trusted him and I wired him $100,000,” Natalya said.

At one point the scammer sent her $5,000 and told her to start "acting like a rich woman" and buy herself diamond earrings. After she did that she felt the company must be legitimate and she invested another $240,000.

“Seeing my money grow I got very excited, I’m like, 'Wow! That’s a great way to make money very fast,'” Natalya said.

On paper, it looked like her money had doubled, but when she tried to take funds out of her account, she couldn't. That's when she realized it was fraudulent and she was scammed out of the total investment of $340,000.

“I was ashamed to tell anybody that I got scammed so easily with so much money.” Natalya said.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians lost $309 million to investment scams in 2023.

Jason Tschetter created Fraud Hunters Canada after he lost $81,000 in a cryptocurrency scam.

“We get clients that have lost $700,000 or $7,000. It varies on what they can get out of people,” said Tschetter.

Tschetter said there are few services for people to turn to when they are victims of cryptocurrency fraud.

Fraud Hunters Canada will be rebranding next month as Cyber Crime Victim Service and be a resource for people to seek help if they're the victim of a cyber fraud.

"They are facing suicide attempts, financial destitution, divorce, it's horrendous for a lot of people who call us,” said Tschetter.

Natalya said losing $340,000 has been devastating for her and she wanted to share her story to warn others.

“I’m very upset about this and I don’t want this to happen to other people,” said Natalya.

Some people caught in crypto scams are victimized again when criminals call them to say they can get their money back. They charge a fee upfront saying they can recover the missing funds, but it's just another scam.

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