A mother from Ontario, who fell victim to an investment scam resulting in a loss of over $7,000, is now sharing her story to caution others. She urges vigilance against fraudsters employing deceptive methods, such as fake news reports on social media.
Shivaun Taylor told CTV News Toronto that she was searching through TikTok when she first came across a news report showing that someone who started investing only $250 was now making $28,000 a month.
“The news story said a police officer was making thousands of dollars a month. That made me get really interested and I just signed up,” said Taylor.
Taylor said that someone called her the next day after she contacted the investment platform and told her to start investing in cryptocurrencies. At first they just asked Taylor to put in $250 but over time she was convinced to put in more money until she had invested $7,250.
Taylor said when she wanted to take the money out, she couldn’t.
Later, she discovered that the news report she had watched was not real and had been manipulated using artificial intelligence.
Similar investment scams have used deepfake videos of Elon Musk and other celebrities.
“My money is not in that platform anymore,” said Taylor. “That money was to take care of my child who has autism. I am so stressed and devastated. That money was to support him.”
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, 1,742 victims lost $16,363,182 in investment scams during the first half of 2023 alone.
Karen McGuinness, the head of the office of the investor with the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO), told CTV News Toronto that everyone needs to be careful where they put their money – especially if it’s in cryptocurrency.
“It’s really important to understand who you are getting your advice from,” said McGuinness. “If someone can make these returns on a no-risk basis, why are they asking for your money? They would be doing it on their own and making their own profit.”
According to the Better Business Bureau, some signs of an investment scam include promises of fast, easy returns with no risk, unsolicited investment offers that come out of the blue and pressure to act fast.
Some investment scams may include buzzwords like ‘patented,’ ‘tested, ‘ and ‘ proven strategies’ or have illegitimate celebrity testimonials.
Taylor says she was investing the money to help her son.
“I’m now so stressed to lose this money, and it’s really affecting me,” said Taylor.
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