An Alberta woman has another warning about so-called “digital gold” and the rush to cash in cryptocurrency.
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A Calgary investor – new to cryptocurrency and crypto assets – told Global News that she lost around $2,500 due to what she believes was fraudulent activity.
“I was very adventurous and very unprepared for what I was investing in,” said Isabelle Lévesque.
“I trusted them. I can’t believe I got caught.
Lévesque said she found TrueNorthBit, a cryptocurrency exchange, while searching online a few months ago. She reached out and the company was quick to respond. She said she continued to receive regular calls from the company over the following weeks.
“They kept insisting on talking to me on the phone,” she said. “They wanted to know me better.
Lévesque said the company representatives had gained her trust, so she entrusted her money to them. Especially, she added, when she started seeing returns.
“Profits kept growing every day. At one point, just in two weeks, I had made $200 in profit.
But then Lévesque said she was pressured to invest more — thousands more. She said she was told that if she didn’t put in about $10,000 in total, she would be moved to a more junior advisor and wouldn’t see the returns she had seen.
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She declined and instead decided to begin the process of withdrawing all of her money – with the help, she said, of TrueNorthBit.
“This lady called me and started telling me to do all kinds of transactions that I didn’t understand,” says Lévesque.
“The balance that night, my account balance that I could see online, was zero.”
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Lévesque sent email after email to the company, which Global News obtained.
In one, she asks, “What have you done to me?” You didn’t call me back as scheduled on December 24th and my account with TrueNorthBit shows $0. I haven’t received my money.
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An email response from TrueNorthBit’s helpdesk reads: “As we can see you have lost the amount due to trading activity, please check your closed positions for further information.”
Lévesque is adamant she didn’t trade anything and added that she simply did what the representative told her to do.
Global News attempted to contact TrueNorthBit for a response to its claims. We have sent numerous emails directly to the representatives responsible for managing Lévesque’s accounts. We also called the Canadian and UK phone numbers listed in the emails but received no response.
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The Better Business Bureau serving southern Alberta and east Kootenay told Global News that it has not received any other complaints about this specific company, but has received eight other complaints about the investment. in cryptography.
“It’s a bit of the Wild West in the crypto asset market right now,” said Wes Lafortune of the BBB. ” It’s a big problem. It explodes.
Lafortune said the median loss is $600, but he added that there are actually millions of dollars in losses due to cryptocurrency schemes and fraud in Canada.
Lafortune added that regulations around investing in crypto are starting to “catch up,” but he said real change is still a long way off. He suggested investors do their research, get investment advice from someone they trust, and not be rushed or feel pressured into investing.
“It’s a bit like the gold rush mentality,” he said. “People want to make a quick buck and there are promises of huge profits, huge wins and those usually don’t materialize.”
“Ultimately, don’t invest in a crypto asset unless you can afford to lose money.”
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Alberta Securities Commission Alert
The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) told Global News that it is also aware of parties engaging in fraudulent investment schemes, including some in relation to crypto/cryptocurrency assets such than bitcoin.
It and the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) recently issued investor alerts warning of the dangers.
The ASC said it is focused on educating Albertans about investing, including investing in crypto assets, adding that they are very high risk and not suitable for all investors. He has also added a number of resources to his site to help investors check which sites are registered.
He also strongly encouraged Albertans to ignore unsolicited offers to invest in crypto assets received online or via social media.
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