The Delaware Department of Justice’s Investor Protection Unit halted the operations of 23 entities and individuals involved in cryptocurrency romance frauds, known as “pig butchering” scams.
A recent analysis conducted by Bankless Times estimated that Americans lost around $185 million between January 2021 and March 2022 due to such schemes.
Crypto Scammers Again in the Spotlight
The latest destination where crypto romance fraudsters chose to con people is the eastern US state of Delaware. Not long ago, the Investor Protection Unit (operating under the jurisdiction of Delaware’s Department of Justice) received complaints from locals that they had been reached by unknown individuals urging them to buy cryptocurrencies for investments.
Some people digital assets and saw a significant return on their initial purchased distributions. The fraudsters kept encouraging them to buy more, assuring revenues will be as good as the previous time. Needless to say, people were unable to withdraw their funds when they wanted to cash out some profits, while their holdings disappeared from their accounts.
Collaborating with a data analytics company, the Investor Protection Unit detected 23 organizations and individuals related to those schemes and issued a Summary Order to Cease and Desist.
Attorney General Kathy Jennings further revealed that those were behind a typical crypto romance scam, also known as “pig butchering.” Criminals make online contact with lonely people and lure them into a love affair. Once under the magic of feelings, victims are urged to make crypto investments, while wrongdoers “fatten” their targets before skimming everything from them, hence the name “pig butchering.”
“Protecting investors from online scammers is extremely important. When victims lose money through cryptocurrency scams, including the pig butchering scam, it can be difficult to recover those funds. Today’s order takes a first step toward protecting Delaware investors from the pig butchering scam by freezing funds at risk from further transfer by the wrongdoers,” Attorney General Jennings said.
Subsequently, the Delaware officials gave some vital tips to locals, so they could prevent future similar attacks, including being vigilant when receiving online messages from unknown individuals on dubious platforms. People should also keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “risk-free” investment and that “if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Previous Similar Cases
In January this year, a British citizen, who preferred not to disclose his name, parted with nearly $200,000 of his savings after a woman he messaged on a dating app conned him.
Jia, as she introduced herself, assured the man that she was a successful cryptocurrency investor with “inside knowledge.” She lured him into believing they will build a mutual wealthy lifestyle only if he assigned his savings into a dubious digital asset investment.
The man ended up investing around $200,000 when he found out that his balance “had been cleared.” He also couldn’t contact Jia anymore and admitted that if it weren’t for his mother’s help, he would have committed suicide.
Going back to the USA, a Bankless Times research determined that American residents have lost approximately $185 million due to romance crypto schemes between January 2021 and March 2022.
“Victims of romance scams learn that the heart is not so smart the hard way. Their search for love makes them easy pickings for conniving individuals that dupe them out of their money. They put on an elaborate con that has their victims swooning over them, and by the time the victim catches on, they’ll be several thousand dollars poor,” the analysis stated.
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