Stephen Carr, a Meaford, Ontario resident, said he lost his life savings of nearly $500,000 after being scammed in a cryptocurrency scheme on YouTube.

Scammers have used the video sharing website multiple times to lure victims. Some have even uploaded fake recordings of famous people, including Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, and Kanye West, which appear to promote dubious cryptocurrency investments.

‘I am devastated’

In a recent interviewCarr said he got involved in the crypto scam through a video he saw on YouTube. The criminals promised viewers that they could make significant profits if they invested in their project.

Initially, the Canadian did not find anything suspicious and contacted people. He started with a $250 investment and contributed another $2,500 soon after.

After some time, Carr requested a withdrawal of $1,000, and the entity promptly complied. This gave him more confidence that everything was legitimate, and between October 2022 and January 2023, he invested almost $500,000 (his life savings).

The Canadian had his first doubts when he saw his funds grow to $1.3 million and asked to withdraw part of them. However, the wrongdoers insisted that he pay a $150,000 settlement fee to complete the withdrawal.

“I got ripped off and in hindsight I put a ridiculous amount of money into this and a ridiculous amount of trust in these people,” Carr lamented.

The devastated individual admitted that the fraud had forced him to put his house up for sale in order to reorganize his life. “I have maybe two or three months of usable cash left, and that’s it,” he added.

Carr said she wanted to share her story so others could stay cautious and not repeat her mistake.

Jason Tschetter, an Alberta resident who was also scammed in a similar scheme last year, recently launched Fraud Hunters Canada (an organization that supports victims and helps them recover funds).

He highlighted that criminals have turned cryptocurrency scams into a “real business”, while the police lack the time and ability to investigate and catch the culprits.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people are going to go through anger, depression, denial. They will even try to negotiate with the criminal, but it will not work. I have talked to several recovery companies, but many of them are in the same boat and are fraudulent,” Tschetter said.

Other crypto scams on YouTube

Steve Wozniak, one of the co-founders of Apple, archived a lawsuit against YouTube in the summer of 2020, alleging that he allowed scammers to use his face to lure people into fake bitcoin giveaways. American inventor and programmer lost the case in 2021 after the court determined that his arguments were not strong enough.

Wozniak is not the only famous figure involved in these types of scams. Criminals have also impersonated Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and others over the years.

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