March 28, 2024

A Nanaimo senior says he is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy after losing nearly $100,000 to a cryptocurrency scam.

Robert Dunning, a 74-year-old retired electrician, said his chequing, savings, line of credit and credit card accounts were cleaned out over a two-week period this fall after he set up online banking and invested $250 in Bitcoin.

“I wanted to try this out, so I put in the minimum amount of money, which I recall was about $250 and I wanted to just leave that there and see what happened,” Dunning said.

The next day he received a phone call from someone claiming to be a trader with an online brokerage who said he could help Dunning get started.

“I had to show a photo of my driver’s licence and this person already had my e-mail and my phone number,” Dunning said. “He said you’re going to have to have online banking for this to work.”

Dunning activated his online banking and was contacted the next day.

“He phoned … and said, ‘OK now you can get started and you’ve already made a profit from that original investment and now you need to invest more money.’ I said ‘no, I don’t want to invest any more money, I just want to see what happens with this first,’” Dunning said.

At one point, he said, the caller took control of his computer remotely and Dunning watched as the caller browsed through his accounts during the set-up procedure, assuring him that everything looked good to proceed with trading.

“But unknown to me, he…

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