US authorities have confiscated approximately $9 million in cryptocurrency that is believed to be connected to a gang involved in cryptocurrency investment fraud and romance scams. The US Department of Justice declared that the seized funds are associated with cryptocurrency wallet addresses linked to a gang known as the “pig butchering” group, which has targeted over 70 victims globally. This type of scam involves fraudsters establishing online romantic relationships with unsuspecting victims and then convincing them to invest in a cryptocurrency platform that the fraudsters control. The scammers eventually disappear, taking all the money with them.
The “pig butchering” scam is one of the fastest-growing types of scams worldwide. Victims are lured into online romances, often initiated through dating sites or unsolicited messages on social media. The scammers build trust over time before manipulating their victims into investing in a cryptocurrency platform. Unbeknownst to the victims, the fraudsters also control the platform and will eventually vanish, leaving the victims with nothing. The victims, or “pigs,” are effectively tricked into investing their money before it is stolen from them.
The US Department of Justice investigators were able to trace the victims’ deposits and observed that the scammers quickly laundered the funds through multiple cryptocurrency addresses and different digital currencies using a technique called “chain hopping.” The Justice Department’s Acting Assistant Attorney General, Nicole M. Argentieri, emphasized that these scammers deceive ordinary investors by creating websites that falsely claim their investments are profitable. The seizure of these funds serves as a reminder to cybercriminals that law enforcement will continue to develop expertise in tracking and recovering stolen cryptocurrency for victims.
Earlier this year, the US Department of Justice announced the seizure of approximately $122 million in cryptocurrency associated with pig butchering investment scams. In 2022, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported that investment fraud resulted in higher losses than any other scam reported, totaling $3.31 billion, with pig butchering and other cryptocurrency-related fraud accounting for the majority of losses. Victims of internet scams are advised to file reports with the FBI’s IC3 and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
1. US authorities have confiscated nearly $9 million in cryptocurrency linked to a gang involved in cryptocurrency investment fraud and romance scams.
2. The “pig butchering” scam is a rapidly growing type of scam where fraudsters establish romantic relationships online and manipulate victims into investing in a cryptocurrency platform they control.
3. The scammers quickly launder the ill-gotten funds through various cryptocurrency addresses and digital currencies using a technique called “chain hopping.”
4. The US Department of Justice’s seizure of these funds highlights their commitment to tracking and recovering stolen cryptocurrency for victims.
5. Investment fraud, including pig butchering and other cryptocurrency-related scams, caused the highest reported losses in 2022, totaling $3.31 billion. Victims are encouraged to report scams to the FBI’s IC3 and the FTC.