US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia Today we announced the seizure of seven domain names used in cryptocurrency fraud schemes. (opens in new tab).
Seven (disguised) domain names masquerading as the official website of the Singapore International Currency Exchange were aimed at victims of the so-called “slaughter of pigs” strategy. Slaughtering pigs in this sense means that the scammers used social engineering to build a relationship with the victim. Scammers pose as prospective lovers through dating apps, new social girlfriend media friends, or simply happy acquaintances obtained through the wrong mobile number.
Victims were then persuaded to invest their funds in a scammer-controlled cryptocurrency app (with the expected promise of disproportionate profits). As soon as the tokens left the victim’s wallet to the crook’s side, the lovers disappeared and the friends evaporated and took the funds.
In the grand scheme of things, cryptocurrency scams are still a drop in the water compared to those in the traditional financial sector (Only about 4.2% of the 8 billion humans, or about 320 million people, are estimated to have owned or traded crypto assets. (opens in new tab)). But this certainly feels not the case for the millions of ordinary people who lost their money in one of several high-impact cramps in crypto: Freed’s FTX implosion.
Slaughtering pigs is nothing new, either, but the fact that cryptocurrencies themselves operate entirely in the digital realm, with transactions, contacts, jobs, and businesses only being reached through digital means (especially Twitter), makes its users more could be comfortable. We are prepared for these types of scams as we operate in a digital only space. The FBI has released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) regarding the increase in cybercriminal activity surrounding crypto. That said, as with any traditional crime scene, it’s an uphill battle. Scams like this will no doubt increase in frequency as the number of people interacting with the cryptocurrency ecosystem.