Research carried out by contributors of the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) estimated that 35% of Canadians owning digital assets had fallen victim to crypto fraud.
The study further determined that approximately 9% of the locals have purchased cryptocurrencies or NFTs, with the share being higher among individuals who graduated from universities.
Less Educated People Seem More Likely to Get Scammed
The report, conducted via a representative survey of 2,000 Canadian residents, showed that fraudulent schemes related to cryptocurrencies are a serious problem in the country. Per the results, over a third of those who have invested in digital assets have been lured into some sort of scam.
14% (the largest share) said they had been contacted by a person who presented themselves as a crypto investment manager and who later stole a fee for his “services.” 10% admitted sharing their wallet information following a request for additional information, while 7% have purchased digital currencies from a mysterious individual who then disappeared.
“When users fall prey to these cryptocurrency scams, significant financial loss can result, sometimes compromising large amounts of money from lines of credit, credit cards, and life savings. Not only are there financial losses, but also the risk of personal and financial information being stolen. The scale of these types of fraud and scams seems substantial in Canada,” the research’s authors warned.
People from the lower income brackets and those with less education are more likely to get conned. Individuals earning over $50,000 per year and having university degrees seem more aware of the risks in the industry and are more cautious when approached by scammers.
The survey also estimated that most Canadians are wary of cryptocurrency exchanges. Nearly 50% have “low trust” in such companies, 25% are “neutral,” whereas only 9% have “high trust.”
In comparison, the confidence in local banks is much higher. Just 12% do not believe in domestic banking institutions, while 46% have “high trust.”
The study suggested that roughly one in 10 Canadians have hopped on the crypto bandwagon by purchasing bitcoin, ether, or another digital asset. The majority of investors are men aged between 25 and 35.
The Painful Lesson Learned by a Canadian Couple
While some scams are not that devastating and result mainly in frustration among victims, others could be crucial. One example is an elderly man and his wife from Toronto who parted with $300,000 in such a scheme.
The couple wanted to invest their life savings and were approached by an unknown individual online. After presenting themself as “professional and knowledgeable” in the investment field, they advised the family to distribute funds on a dubious cryptocurrency platform.
At first, everything seemed legit, and the duo saw their investment growing “significantly” in time. However, the problems started when they asked to withdraw some assets. The wrongdoer said they have to pay considerable fees to complete such transactions. Later, the couple saw that their entire investment had vanished, proving their fears that they had fallen victim to a crypto fraud.
Fortunately for them, the Toronto Police Service recovered a “significant portion of lost funds.” The identity of the criminal who drained the money, though, remained unclear, meaning they could be located in another country.