One in three Canadian crypto-asset owners have reported experiencing fraud, scams, or other criminal victimization, according to a new report. The study found that fraudulent crypto investment advisors, misinformation leading to asset inflation, and scams targeting crypto wallets were the most common types of fraud reported. Interestingly, these negative experiences were more prevalent among individuals with lower incomes and less education.

These findings are based on a research report published by the Dais at Toronto Metropolitan University and supported by Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst. The report, titled “Risky Business: The Cyber and Sociotechnical Security Threats of Crypto-asset Trading,” utilized a mixed-method approach that included an extensive literature review and a representative survey of Canadian crypto-asset owners.

The survey revealed several key findings. Firstly, approximately one in ten Canadians (around 3 million people) have owned a crypto-asset such as Bitcoin, Ether, or an NFT. Among these owners, one in three reported experiencing fraud or scams, with higher rates observed among lower-income and less-educated populations. The study also found that a larger share of self-reported crypto owners were men, younger, university educated, and had a higher income.

Additionally, the research highlighted that nearly one in five crypto owners had been targeted with online harassment, resulting in a fear for their safety. This was in comparison to only 6% of individuals who had not owned any crypto-assets.

Furthermore, the report noted that Canadians had very low levels of trust in crypto-asset exchanges, even before the collapse of the FTX exchange in late 2022.

André Côté, report co-author and director of policy and research at the Dais, emphasized the need for enhanced public awareness of these threats, consumer protection, and a deeper understanding of the specific groups of Canadians who are being harmed.