Pig butchering: Dating scam hooks victims with fake crypto investments

Online dating scams are sadly on the rise — handsome strangers whispering sweet nothings, taking advantage of fragile hearts and one-track minds. Otherwise friendly faces are not so much searching for a real connection as they are looking for your wallet. These modern-day grifters employ a not-so-new trick to rake in serious profit. Kevin Kok, a cryptocurrency-involved victim of such cons, puts it this way: “She put money into my wallet, into this app, and this app is super crazy, where it’s like a shadow. So everything appears to be working, but in the background, they have total control. So, it shows, like you making money.” For Kok it cost him an eye-watering $15,000 — but it’s only part of the story.

Enter greedy hog butchers — the summer scourge that adapts well-worn romantic scams with virtual cover. As Amanda Senn of the Alabama Securities Commission notes, “It’s called pig butchering because the fraudster will fatten you out with promises of great returns and even entice you to invest.” Preying on those who hope for a relationship, the butchers extend small initial investments in cryptocurrency accompanied by extremely large payouts — too fantastic to be true owing to the criminal’s surreptitious behind-the-scenes crypto control. Criminals stretch out the poor chum, surging the fake funds back through anytime-accessible sites to string the scruffy stockfish along. Focusing primarily on Amazon Prime and Apple customers, the fraudsters capitalize on common summer activities within those or any other store platforms like grocery delivery services, and thus realizing cash.

Richard Forno of the University of Maryland’s Baltimore County center for cybersecurity cautions those possibly involved in double dealings of the heart and wallet: treat Online strangers exactly how you value people in person, he advises — mindfully. “Don’t suddenly open up your checkbook or your online accounts to a stranger.” Above all, it’s significant to be vigilant. Our best advice? Take the FBI’s edict to heart when emailed by someone, anyone, heard from and not otherwise for a real relationship: if it seems to good to be true, it probably is

Robert Wilson author
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