Five victims lose $10m in a 'pig butchering' scheme

Scammers initiate a relationship with a victim to gain their trust before convincing them to invest in cryptocurrency.

The US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia authorized the seizure of seven domains used in a recent cryptocurrency scam known as "pig butchering."

Fraudsters look for their victims on dating apps and social media platforms or even send random texts masquerading as the wrong number. They pretend to be looking for friends, and only after they gain victims' trust do scammers suggest earning money by investing in cryptocurrency.

From at least May through August 2022, scammers fooled five victims and convinced them to invest in a "legitimate cryptocurrency opportunity."

Fraudsters used seven domains spoofing the Singapore International Monetary Exchange to collect "investments" from their victims. Once the victims transferred the money to the wallet addresses provided on bogus pages, the funds were immediately "transferred through numerous private wallets and swapping services in an effort to conceal the source of the funds."

Scammers defrauded victims of over $10 million.

It's not uncommon for scammers to phish their victims on dating apps. Threat actors take it slow, establish a relationship to build trust, and then exploit it. Once scammers have victims' confidence, they start boasting knowledge about cryptocurrency investments, inviting them to join for a fast profit.

A victim is usually directed to a fraudulent website, specifically set up to resemble an investment portfolio. The catch is that the victim is presented with various numbers and graphs that show the profit accumulating. Victims are often allowed to withdraw some amount of 'profit.'

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