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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has seized as much as $112 million in digital currency from addresses tied to pig butchering scams.
Pig Butchering Is a Huge Problem
Judges in several states – including Arizona, Idaho, and California – have issued at least six separate warrants for the seizure of digital currency housed in various addresses. Authorities claim victims were tricked into investing much of their savings into phony digital schemes. California court documents explain:
In this case, the FBI Phoenix Division has identified at least 69 victims with an estimated loss of at least $33.9 million related to these various fraudulent investment platforms.
Pig butchering scams are like romance scams in that they often start with WhatsApp messages or something similar from illicit actors reaching out to potential victims. From there, they earn their trust and persuade them to get involved in online digital currency trading platforms that unbeknownst to the victims, are controlled by “friends” of the scammers.
They eventually give in and start investing and after a while, they start to see their profits grow. Things are looking great until they try to take some of their money out or they try to make a withdrawal. This is when the problems arise, as they’re usually told they need to pay fees or invest more before they can take any money out. Before long, they realize things are fraudulent, and the victims are forced to walk away with bruised egos and empty pockets.
The court documents attest to this and say:
Eventually, most victims are completely locked out of their accounts and lose all of their funds.
Pig butchering scams ultimately got their start in the region of Florida back in September of last year. During that time, Jimmy Patronis – a chief financial officer – explained:
In Florida, we embrace emerging technology and innovation, but consumers must always stay on guard for scams, especially as new financial products like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies become increasingly popular. Reports say cryptocurrency scams have bilked millions out of unsuspecting crypto investors, many of which were scammed through online dating apps over the course of several months. Just like with any major financial decision, consumers should do research and never transfer funds to someone they think is suspicious, untrustworthy, or whose identity they haven’t verified. You may as well kiss your money goodbye. If you feel you have been the victim of a scam, report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com. Always remember: if an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it is.
One Man Lost Millions
The court documents detail a specific case in which a scammer who went by the name “Jenny” approached a man online called “JZ.”
Her deceitful actions caused the man to lose more than $2 million in crypto by the time the scam had finished.
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