Feds seize seven websites involved in the “pig butchering” crypto scam

    Key Takeaways:

    • Seven websites that were being used to carry out pig butchering schemes have been seized by the US Department of Justice.
    • Pig butchering is a confidence ruse in which scammers persuade victims to invest in cryptocurrency only for them to disappear with it after making several deposits.

    The U.S. Department of Justice has for the first time taken control of seven domains that were home to websites connected to “pig butchering” scams, in which con artists deceive victims of romance fraud into making cryptocurrency investments through phoney investment platforms.

    In pig-butchering schemes, a cybercriminal makes a friend on a social media site, dating app, or other platform, then uses that friendship to secure a cryptocurrency investment in one of the victim’s ventures.

    Five victims were tricked into depositing cryptocurrency into sites they thought were the Singapore International Monetary Exchange between May and August 2022 by con artists. The victims suffered losses totaling $10 million.

    Unfortunately, the fraudsters had successfully “spoofed” these domains to make it look like they were a real company. The assets were immediately transferred to various wallets under the scammers’ control after victims deposited their cryptocurrency through the websites.

    These websites are frequently advanced enough to allegedly allow victims to track their money. The websites frequently tempt victims to deposit more cryptocurrency by showing them a healthy return on their investment.

    As per the DOJ, Using the confidence-inspiring strategies mentioned above, the con artists persuaded the victims that they were making investments in a reliable cryptocurrency opportunity. 

    The victims’ funds were transferred directly through multiple private wallets and simply switching services in an effort to hide the source of the funds after the victims made investments into the deposit addresses that the scammers supplied through the seven seized domain names. The victims suffered a total loss of over $10 million.

    Scammers using cryptocurrency have discovered that users of dating apps and social media sites (the “pigs”) are convenient targets after gaining their faith using a variety of social engineering techniques, leading to the global spread of pig butchering scams, which originated in Asia.

    The crypto scam involving the butchering of pigs has become “alarmingly popular,” according to several U.S. authorities. A cease-and-desist order was issued in September by the Delaware Department of Justice’s Investor Protection Unit against 23 organisations and people who were involved in this particular scam.

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