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Chilliwack grandma loses all her Christmas money in crypto scam

‘If telling this story helps one person, then I haven’t lost everything,’ says Chilliwack woman
Carol Anderson after a free hair styling she was generously offered after someone stole her Christmas money. She’s hoping her tale of woe helps one person avoid becoming a fraud victim. (Carol Anderson/Facebook)

A local grandma is warning others about a type of cryptocurrency scam after she had all her Christmas money stolen.

”I’d like to prevent this happening to anyone else,” said Carol Anderson of Chilliwack. “It was devastating.”

She felt “really dumb” after realizing she‘d fallen victim to fraudulent financial transactions.

“Apparently this is happening a lot,” Anderson said.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has reported several types of cryptocurrency scams, like the one where scammers impersonate staff of crypto companies to get access to financial details.

A police report was made in early December but was Anderson was told it was unlikely she would get her money back.

Anderson’s bank refused her first claim, but she has high hopes of getting an appeal.

The local woman was still grieving from losing her husband in February 2022 when she made the first transaction as an investment with the idea of getting some Christmas money to buy presents for the grandchildren and great grandchildren.

“I decided to invest some money into crypto,” she explained.

Anderson made an initial $250 online transaction to set up an account.

“They were walking me through how to do it online,” she said. They instructed her “by remote” how to set up an account and said a call would be forthcoming to help her set up a digital “wallet” to withdraw.

The trouble started when she wanted to take out her money.

Then she received a call from someone in Montreal, but they later denied anyone from that company had spoken to her on the day in question.

“He was instructing me how to do something. But I couldn’t get it.”

The person asked if they could do a remote online instead of talking on the phone. They already seemed to have all her information so she thought it would be safe.

“Not thinking I just went to my bank account,” she said.

She was told they would be depositing her money, but that didn’t happen.

“That’s when he took it.”

Her account was completely cleared out of the $1,500 she had reserved for the holidays.

Somehow her modem failed, and the person was suddenly gone. The company now claims she made the investment herself.

Cryptocurrency scams and fraud typically involved the attempt to steal cash, personal and financial information from a target, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

“Fraudsters will offer you cryptocurrency buy-ins promising a high rate of return and in a short amount of time. Instead, the victim will lose their investment and sometimes their personal and financial information.

“Get your cryptocurrency from well-known and reputable exchanges. Purchase any hardware wallets directly from the manufacturer.

B.C. RCMP put out a warning in May 2022 after it appeared Lower Mainland seniors were being particularly targeted for this type of fraud.

RELATED: Two Abby residents lost $46K in bank scam

Since it happened, several people have generously helped her out. It was not a huge amount of funds stolen, but it was all she had.

In the wake of the fraud, a good friend rushed to buy her winter boots. Stylist Tracy Broskey styled and cut her hair. Another person who she didn’t even know gave her a $100 Marks gift card.

It made her feel much better. Now Anderson is wondering how many people ended up in the same boat as her.

“If telling this story helps one person, then I haven’t lost everything.”

RCMP advise that anyone targeted by a scammer to contact the non-emergency line of their detachment, as well as reporting the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or through the online Fraud Reporting System.

RELATED: Crypto scammers increasingly targeting seniors in the Lower Mainland

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