Some crypto scammers reportedly use dating apps like Tinder to build online relationships with their victims.
According to The San Francisco Examiner, crypto fraudsters have targeted Silicon Valley techies. Cy, a Bay Area real estate analyst, lost $1.2 million to crypto fraud. Cy said the criminal ended their two-month correspondence with “Now kill yourself.”
Cy, a psychiatric patient, said of the scam,
More than money was lost. Lost confidence. I’ve destroyed my family.
The report claims Cy was the victim of an online crypto scam known as “pig slaughtering” or “pig butchering” — “sha zhu pan” () in Chinese– where the victim is “fattened up” over time as the criminal builds an online relationship with the target. The victim is tricked into giving cryptoassets or money.
FBI San Francisco has seen a rise in romance scammers persuading people to invest or trade cryptocurrency.
FBI estimates 24,000 Americans lost $1 billion to romance fraud in 2021. One in 20 dating app messages are scams, according to a San Francisco cybersecurity firm.
Cy’s online relationship wasn’t romantic, but he fell for romance fraudsters’ prolonged engagement. Grace Yuen of Singapore’s Global Anti-Scam Organization called the fraud “psychologically dark” Her organization has helped 1,400 victims, many from the Bay Area.
According to CoinDesk, crypto romance scammers don’t just target Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge users.
The report said “crypto dating scams aren’t obvious at first” because “scammers invest a lot of time in their victims, maintaining a relationship until they feel trust has been established” Scammers “flatter and make their victim feel good before conning them, like a farmer fattens a pig before slaughter.”
CoinDesk reported that “victims of crypto dating scams consistently report that their online partner refuses to meet them in person or video call them because they’re shy” and that “scammers use photos of other people to create realistic online profiles.”