'Pig Slaughter' online crypto investment scam defrauded New Yorkers of $10.5M
6 mins read

'Pig Slaughter' online crypto investment scam defrauded New Yorkers of $10.5M

A devious crypto-currency scam called “pig slaughter,” which involves luring investors online to pool their savings in the hope of big returns, has cost New Yorkers more than $10.5 million over the past year. brooklyn prosecutor Said on Thursday.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said “pig-butcher” The operations reach out to their targets on social media, through dating apps, text messages and online chat groups and try to form a relationship before offering them large returns through a fake cryptocurrency website.

When the targets attempt to withdraw their investments, they are blocked and the money disappears through the web of foreign electronic transfers. Operators often use boiler-room style call centers to achieve their goals involving people who are forced to work overseas.

“(The term refers to) when a pig is fattened up before it is slaughtered,” Gonzalez said. “It is a slow process of offloading the burden and also a slow process of earning the trust of people to attract them to invest. This is a confidence scam.”

In Brooklyn alone, he said more than $4 million was lost in the past six months. Nationally, the FBI has estimated that the scam has cost people more than $3 billion.

Assignment – Wrong Photo

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez (Theodore Parisien for the New York Daily News)

While the NYPD received 50 complaints in 2023, more than half of which were from Brooklyn residents, the actual number of people implicated in the scam is believed to be much higher, meaning the amount stolen is far larger, Gonzalez said. .

Gonzalez said it may be nearly impossible to get the money back and since the actors are abroad, it is equally difficult to make an arrest. He urged anyone who was a victim of fraud to report it to the NYPD or DA's Virtual Currency Unit.

The initiative began in March 2023 after a 51-year-old woman reported to the NYPD that she lost $22,680 in a scam.

Prosecutors said he had downloaded an app from a site called “coinformat.com” and made eight deposits. His profits quickly grew to $387,495, but when he tried to withdraw the initial investment, he was blocked from the chat group. The money disappeared.

The woman's investments were routed through various crypto addresses and ultimately deposited in a foreign cryptocurrency exchange. Prosecutors said it was probably cashed in by someone from China.

The same operation defrauded people in California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Illinois, resulting in a total loss of $366,665. More victims came forward in that case and a network of 80 Internet domains were linked to coinformat.com. The total loss from the scam was more than $1 million.

“Investment returns that seem too good to be true are almost always fake,” Gonzalez said. “I urge everyone to be very suspicious of anyone they have not met in person who offers an attractive investment opportunity in cryptocurrencies.”

Gonzalez said clever scammers often allow people to make small withdrawals, but block larger amounts.

“They'll say you'll be taxed, or you'll be told you'll have to pay a fee, send us another $35,000,” he said. “Some people have actually borrowed more money to recover their initial investment.”

In a video played Wednesday, a woman described how she met a man on the Bumble dating site who talked her into investing more than $110,000.

“I never got my money back,” she said. “I would tell people to listen to their gut.”



Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch

In a video played Wednesday, a woman described how she met a man on the Bumble dating site who talked her into investing more than $110,000. (Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

A second woman said the man who targeted her posed as a romantic interest and used information about her to manipulate her. He lost $106,000, he said. “My advice is don't get engaged,” he said in the video.

Foreign operations are generally beyond the reach of US law enforcement. Alona Katz, head of the DA's Virtual Crimes Unit, said the workers “are often people who have been coerced or trafficked and sometimes are literally chained to their desks.”

Targets are usually asked to visit a website and download an app to allow them to make a transaction. Even apps are poisoned with malware that can expose people's private communications and passwords, Katz said.

Katz said social media companies can do more to eliminate fake accounts and those originating from a single device.

“We have direct contact with some social media companies and the accounts are shut down within 24 hours,” Katz said. “Other companies are more resistant to taking our complaints.”


Royalty-Free Stock Photo ID: 1166453734A computer programmer or hacker prints a code on a laptop keyboard to break into a secret organization system.  (Jaririyavat/Shutterstock)


A devious crypto-currency scam called “pig slaughter,” which involves luring investors to move their savings online in hopes of big returns, defrauded New Yorkers of more than $10.5 million over the past year, Brooklyn prosecutors said Thursday. Has suffered a loss. (Jaririyavat/Shutterstock)

Gonzalez said that during the investigation of coinformat.com, prosecutors shut down 21 Internet domains and took control of them, placing a screen on each that showed they had been seized by authorities.

“We're closing them down as we learn about them,” he said. “The bad news is that there are many more scammers out there.”

gonzalez Offered a series of tips to avoid getting scammed: Don't invest online with strangers, do this background check When to Contact and Investigate a Cryptocurrency Firm DA's officeamong others.

Red flags include text messages from strangers claiming big money, you are suddenly added to a cryptocurrency chat group, or you are asked to download an app from an unknown company.

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