An Ontario investor who lost $55,000 in cryptocurrency funds said he can’t believe his good fortune after getting his stolen money back.
“It’s a million to one. I’m certainly the luckiest guy in Ontario,” Oshawa, Ont. man Allan Jones told CTV News Toronto.
Durham Regional Police said recovering stolen cryptocurrency is extremely rare and they believe it’s only the second investigation in Ontario that has resulted in the recovery of funds.
“I think Mr. Jones was very fortunate and lucky,” Det.-Const. Taryn Snow with Durham Police’s Financial Crimes Unit said.
Jones said he became interested in cryptocurrencies and last summer bought almost one bitcoin for $55,000. Once he had the cryptocurrency, he went online to download software to manage it.
“I had bought some Bitcoin and I was going online to see how to trade it,” said Jones.
Jones went on Google and researched software programs to trade Bitcoin and found a program for $350.
When he tired to download it to his computer, the company called him and offered to help him install it.
While the company had remote access to his computer, Jones became concerned as he watched his Bitcoin account begin to empty and it appeared his account was being drained.
“I said ‘What are you doing? Why are you in my Bitcoin? How did you get there?'” Jones said.
“They said ‘We are not taking your Bitcoin, sir. We are just opening an account for you,’ but that wasn’t true. They were actually downloading it and it (the Bitcoin) was disappearing in front of my eyes.”
Malware had been remotely installed on his system and his $55,000 in Bitcoin was gone.
Over the next four months, Durham police, the Crown law office, and the RCMP followed the block chain to recover Jones’ funds.
Jones was shocked and relieved to get all his money back.
“It was like winning the lottery. There was no chance to get it back, but we had to try and I am so lucky to have the funds recovered,” he said.
Police were not able to lay charges, as the suspects involved in the fraud operate in secrecy and could be anywhere in the world.
Snow says anyone investing in cryptocurrencies needs to be cautious.
“Just be cognizant that there are a lot of companies out there that are fraudulent and want to steal your money,” Snow said.
Jones says when he got back his $55,000 in Bitcoin, he converted back into cash and put it in his bank account and he plans to be more careful with his investments in the future.
Investigators would like to remind residents interested in investing in cryptocurrency to educate yourselves on reputable exchanges and to never give anyone remote access to your desktop or device.
Anonymous information can be sent to Durham Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online. Tipsters may be eligible for a $2,000 cash reward.
Police say there are many cases of cryptocurrency scams, but they caution it’s extremely rare to get your funds back. Still if you’re scammed you should report it to police in case something can be done to recover your money.