A catalogue of the latest cons and scams
The popular Netflix show Squid Game inspired a crypto token that saw more than US$3 million snatched from investors (Alamy)
The drop in value in ten minutes for a digital crypto token called Squid Game, which took its moniker from the popular South Korean-made Netflix show. In late 2021, Squid Game shot up from one cent per token to more than $2,856 in the span of less than one week—only to come crashing down much faster.
As the token’s value first rose, investors began to complain that they weren’t able to sell the coin. In an apparent scam known as a “rug pull,” the promoters of the cryptocurrency—which was traded on unregulated, decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges that connect buyers directly with sellers—yanked the coin from the exchanges and the liquidity pool disappeared instantly. The purported scammers made off with an estimated US$3.38 million in the process.
“It is one of many schemes by which naïve retail investors are drawn in and exploited by malevolent crypto promoters,” Cornell University economist Eswar Prasad said in BBC report.
The wage a 22-year-old Ontario woman was promised when she accepted a supposed data-entry job with Vancouver-based women’s clothing chain, Aritzia. She soon found out her new gig was nothing more than a ruse that featured a fake Aritzia website, falsified contracts and even a fraudulent cheque for $3,485 that was mailed to her.
Unsuspecting, she deposited the cheque to her bank and watched as her balance was automatically adjusted. Yet two days later, the fake cheque bounced as the ruse became apparent.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported more than 1,400 victims in Canada lost over $8 million in job-related scams in 2021—nearly double the previous year.
Is what a scammer posing as a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer directed a victim to use in order to safely transfer her life savings as part of an elaborate con.
The victim first received a call from a supposed CBSA agent, informing the woman that her bank account would be seized due to suspicious activity under her name.
The scammer continued correspondence via email, where she was told that in order to protect her assets she would need to transfer $30,000 to another, more secure account using “safeguard machines” that police later determined were, in fact, Bitcoin machines.
It wasn’t until the victim received a call from somebody posing as an officer named Sgt. Marshall of the Kingston, ON police department, who reprimanded her for asking too many questions, that she became suspicious. The caller ID and phone number both matched the real Kingston police offices—a technique called “spoofing”—but the bizarre conversation finally prompted her to contact the real police.
Read about other scams that have been discovered. Plus, check out the book, Uncovering fraud: True stories about fraud, fraudsters and how they got caught and get insights to help you protect yourself.