According to a study conducted by the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), approximately 35% of Canadians who own digital assets have become victims of crypto fraud. The research analyzed data from a survey of 2,000 Canadian residents and found that fraudulent schemes related to cryptocurrencies are a significant issue in the country. The study also revealed that nearly 9% of Canadians have invested in cryptocurrencies or non-fungible tokens (NFTs), with those who graduated from universities having a higher share than others.
The survey found that cryptocurrency scams are prevalent in Canada, with over a third of those who invested in digital assets being lured into fraudulent schemes. The largest share (14%) of those surveyed reported being contacted by individuals who presented themselves as crypto investment managers and subsequently stole fees for their “services.” Additionally, 10% of respondents admitted to sharing their wallet information following a request for additional information, while 7% claimed to have purchased digital currencies from a mysterious individual who then disappeared.
The authors of the study warned that when users fall prey to cryptocurrency scams, they can experience significant financial losses, which may compromise large amounts of money from lines of credit, credit cards, and life savings. The scale of these types of fraud and scams is substantial in Canada. People from the lower income brackets and those with less education are more likely to be conned. Conversely, 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 revealed that most Canadians are wary of cryptocurrency exchanges, with nearly 50% having “low trust” in such companies, 25% being “neutral,” and only 9% having “high trust.” This is in contrast to the high degree of confidence in local banks, where only 12% do not believe in domestic banking institutions, while 46% have “high trust.”
The study estimated that approximately one in ten Canadians have invested in cryptocurrencies or other digital assets, with the majority of investors being men aged between 25 and 35. While some scams may result mainly in frustration among victims, others can be devastating. For example, an elderly man and his wife from Toronto lost $300,000 in such a scheme. The couple was approached by an unknown individual online, who presented themselves as “professional and knowledgeable” in the investment field. They advised the family to distribute funds on a dubious cryptocurrency platform, and at first, everything seemed legitimate. However, when the couple asked to withdraw some assets, the wrongdoer said they had to pay significant fees to complete such transactions. Later, the couple discovered that their entire investment had vanished, proving their fears that they had fallen victim to a crypto fraud.
Fortunately, the Toronto Police Service managed to recover a “significant portion of lost funds,” although the identity of the criminal who drained the money remains unclear, implying that they could be located in another country.
The study conducted by the Toronto Metropolitan University has revealed that cryptocurrency scams and fraud are a significant problem in Canada. The findings suggest that people from lower-income brackets and those with less education are more susceptible to such scams, while individuals earning over $50,000 per year and having university degrees seem to be more cautious when approached by scammers. The research also highlights that most Canadians are wary of cryptocurrency exchanges and that only a small percentage have invested in cryptocurrencies or other digital assets.