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High-risk cryptocurrency trading event shutdown by security

Josh Bergant, News Reporter
Ryan Wanzala, Biz/Tech Reporter

A series of unauthorized cryptocurrency and foreign exchange trading seminars were stopped by Humber’s security at the North and Lakeshore campuses late last semester.

A group of Humber alumni and students reportedly trespassed into classrooms and lecture halls and held multiple cryptocurrency and foreign currency exchange trading seminars without the approval of Humber College, according to the Department of Public Safety.

“Public safety security folk are patrolling the campus,” said director Rob Kilfoyle.

“If they see something taking place out in public space or even in classrooms if we know that the classroom should be unoccupied, they are required to investigate and request a copy of a permit. If the group can’t provide a permit, they are shut down,” he said.

An interceded seminar that was initially scheduled to be held at Humber North campus promised to invite instructors who allegedly paid off their student loans from cryptocurrency and foreign exchange trading. A video uploaded on Instagram last year depicted an instructor teaching a so-called “earn while you learn” system from a smartphone.

Tyler Fleming, director of the Investor Office at the Ontario Securities Commission, cautioned potential investors about the potential high risks of the two markets. They were flagged in a report by the Canadian Securities Commission as “very volatile and complex.”

“Forex trading can be complex and volatile, and investors have been alerted against dealing with unregistered firms offering forex investments,” said Fleming.

“For example, representatives who use high-pressure sales tactics that encourage you to invest on the spot or who make grandiose marketing claims such as ‘guaranteed high returns, with little to no risk’ are signs to watch for.”

Nir Kshetri, a professor at the Bryant School of Business and Economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, outlined the risks associated with these investments.

“Typically, scammers will run these types of events through all the big social media channels. It’s more about the marketing than the actual product — which doesn’t really exist,” Kshetri told Et Cetera.

He noted scenarios of fraud in these investments.

“If you look at examples in India, many criminals resort to running ICO scams promising unrealistic returns,’ Kshetri said. “You’ll see these scammers presenting potential returns of 10 per cent or more to lure in victims.”

The latest interventions at the North and Lakeshore campuses were a direct result of a new policy adopted by Humber last year that detailed temporary use of space on campus.

“There’s a permitting process that has to be taken every time an event is held on campus. It’s really so that public safety is aware of who is using the facility, particularly if there’s an emergency of some sort,” Kilfoyle said.

Nir Kshetri’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this article. Et Cetera apologizes for the error.

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