A Winnipeg woman is out $18,000, after she fell victim to a cryptocurrency investment scam that ended up maxing out her credit card.

She phoned Jason Roy, a senior investigator at the Manitoba Securities Commission, to report the scam.

He said he gets calls like that all the time.

The Winnipeg victim told him she had been pitched an investment opportunity — essentially a “get-rich-quick” scheme. She didn’t have the funds needed for her trading account, so she used cash advances on her credit card. They were then converted into cryptocurrency — and soon gone for good.

“We’ve got Manitobans that have lost … $250 — and some realize what’s gone on at that point — and all the way up to 600,000 [dollars] in certain cases,” Roy said. “We’ve had individuals who lose that amount.”  

Roy said while there are legitimate registered firms that sell cryptocurrency in Canada, potential investors need to do careful research. He recommends they speak to a financial professional who is registered with the securities commission.

The commission is trying to break the stigma that comes with being a victim and raise awareness of so-called “boiler rooms” overseas — call centres that are involved in phone scams.

They target Manitobans though “spoofing” — which involves scammers using software show a fake local phone number on their target’s call display, Roy says.

“It’s a really hard thing to admit to yourself that maybe you fell for something that you…

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