The US Department of Justice (DOJ) disclosed the seizure of seven domain names linked to a recent cryptocurrency scam referred to as “pig butchering.”
While the scam has nothing to do with actual porcine slaughter, its mercilessness likely served as inspiration, as the con artists’ end game is to drain victims’ wallets.
To some degree, the newly discovered scheme follows the same pattern as other romance scams; grifters establish a relationship with their targets, attempting to trick them out of their money. The targets are usually acquired through dating apps, social media platforms or even “random texts masquerading as a wrong number.”
What sets pig butchering apart from other romance scams is that, instead of asking for money directly, the con artists persuade their victims to invest in cryptocurrency, luring them to rogue websites. Once the payment goes through, the perpetrators cut all ties with their marks.
“Victims are then directed to other members of the scam syndicate running fraudulent cryptocurrency investment platforms, where victims are persuaded to invest money,” US Attorney’s Office’s announcement reads. “Once the money is sent to the fake investment app, the scammer vanishes, taking all the money with them, often resulting in significant losses for the victim.”
Between May and August 2022, scammers led their deceitful campaign against five victims, who were redirected to the phony domains. According to the DoJ’s announcement, the domains spoofed the Singapore International Money Exchange. Scammers immediately transferred the stolen funds through swapping services and private wallets to obfuscate their origin. So far, victims of pig butchering schemes have amassed over $10 million in losses.
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