Some crypto scammers reportedly forge online relationships with their victims — through dating apps like Tinder — so that they can then be separated from their money.
According to a report published earlier this month by The San Francisco Examiner, techies in Silicon Valley have been hit hard by crypto scammers. The report features Cy, a Bay Area real estate analyst who lost $1.2 million in a crypto scam. Cy told the outlet the criminal went so far as to end the two-month correspondence by saying, “Now you’re going to have to kill yourself.”
Cy, who checked himself into a local psychiatric unit, said of the scam:
I lost more than money. I’ve lost my confidence. I ruined my family’s life.
The report claims Cy was the victim of a type of online crypto scam known as “pig slaughtering” or “pig slaughtering” — “sha zhu pan” (杀猪盘) in Chinese — in which the victim is “fattened” via a “pig slaughter.” ‘ becomes prolonged as the criminal establishes an online relationship with the target. The victim is then tricked into giving away their cryptoassets or money.
An FBI spokesman told The Examiner:
The San Francisco FBI department has noticed an increasing trend in romantic scammers convincing individuals to send money to invest or trade cryptocurrencies.
According to the report, the FBI estimated that 24,000 Americans collectively lost more than $1 billion to love scams in 2021. An investigator from San Francisco-based cybersecurity firm Sift found a similar trend, with one in 20 messages on a dating app being linked to a scam.
Though Cy’s online relationship wasn’t romantic in nature, he still fell victim to romance scammers’ protracted engagement. Grace Yuen of the Global Anti-Scam Organization, a non-profit based in Singapore, called the nature of the scam “psychologically obscure” but not uncommon. She said her organization has helped more than 1,400 victims, including many from the Bay Area.
According to a CoinDesk article, “Cryptoromance scammers aren’t just targeting those who are actively dating through apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge.”
The report goes on to say that “crypto dating scams are not obvious at first” as “crypto dating scammers invest a great deal of time in their victims and maintain a relationship until they feel trust has been established and that.” victim is willing to be exploited.” It was also noted that the scammers “constantly flatter their victim and make him feel good before cheating, just like a farmer fattens a pig before slaughter”.
The CoinDesk report also states that “victims of crypto dating scams consistently report that their online partner refuses to meet them in person or video call them because they are shy and not ready,” and that is the reason being that “scammers use other people’s photos to create realistic online profiles”.
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