A stunned local old man loses nearly $10,000 in a Bitcoin scam

“I want people to be aware of this,” says Severn Sunna, scammed by crooks who took over her computer screen; OPP offers fraud prevention tips

A Severn Township senior has fallen victim to a Bitcoin scam and lost nearly $10,000.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, was watching a morning TV show via Facebook where the host was showing how easy it is to invest in Bitcoin with the click of a few buttons.

“At the end of this brief, he said if you’re interested, leave your name and phone number,” the local official explained. “Two days later, they called me and set me up.”

The 70-year-old described herself to the fraudsters, who said they were from a company called Forefront Capital London, as “computer illiterate”, and they took full advantage of her. The scammers asked for the woman’s help but said they would need her to share the computer screen with them.

“I had no idea sharing a computer screen would end up in all of this,” she said. “My bank statements say that a company called Simply Digital Technologies got paid $9999, which was without consent. I didn’t even know it was happening.”

When she submitted a fraud claim to her bank, she was told there was nothing she could do because she had provided the fraudsters with her PIN or PIN.

“I didn’t give them my[PIN],” she said. “So, now I’m a little angry with the bank I’ve been a client of for decades.”

She is a cancer survivor, has undergone many radiation treatments and even lost one of her eyes.

“Maybe attributable to this; it makes it hard to see the computer, but I know I certainly didn’t give them permission to get into my bank account,” she said.

In dealing with the scammers and trying to get her money back, she said she was met with degrading language and mocked for being old and weak.

“I want people to realize this,” she said. “That’s really all I can do at this point.”

She worries about other personal or banking information that has been erased from her computer and worries that the nightmare might be long before it ends.

Orillia OPP Const. Brett Boniface said that the incidence of such scams is on the rise.

He said losses reported by the Canadian Anti-fraud Center in 2021 had reached an “all-time high” of $379 million. However, it is almost certain that the actual losses are much higher.

“It is believed that the vast majority — 95 percent — of fraud incidents go unreported to the police,” Boniface said.

He said that while police are aware of such scams, it is hard to thwart them.

“Electronic device fraud investigations are very complex investigations, where fraudsters can hide behind multiple IP addresses and use their computer skills to make themselves virtually untraceable,” Boniface said. Aurelia.

He added that “money obtained fraudulently directly finances other criminal activities.”

OPP encourages everyone to take steps to protect themselves from fraud. Always seek independent advice from family members, a trusted friend, or counselor if there are any offers or requests involving money or personal information.”

He said the OPP is currently running a countywide initiative to provide more education to citizens about scams.

“Regardless of age, gender or location, everyone can take basic steps to better protect themselves from becoming a victim of fraud,” he said.

Offer the following fraud prevention tips:

  • Don’t let anyone pressure you to act right away. Take your time, and slow down. You control your information.
  • Do not provide any personal information to someone you do not know or trust.
  • Hang up or leave any website if you feel uncomfortable during the interaction.
  • Never click on links provided to you in an unsolicited email or text message, or on social media. These are the opportunities that perpetrators can use to steal your information. For example, the Canada Revenue Agency will not send you a link that asks for personal or financial information.
  • Go to legitimate sites and services yourself.
  • Never send money to anyone you don’t know. Requesting instant payment by money transfer (Western Union, MoneyGram), gift cards (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon cards) or Bitcoin is a red flag and a sign to hang up or end the web session.

– With files from Dave Dawson

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