$10M Cryptocurrency ‘Pig Butchering’ Scheme Leads To Domain Seizures In Virginia: DOJ

Federal officials in Virginia have seized domains used to further fraudsters’ “pig butchering” cryptocurrency schemes, according to authorities.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced the measure in an effort to curtail the spread of these schemes, which led to losses of more than $10 million to its victims.

According to federal prosecutors, “in pig butchering schemes, scammers encounter victims on dating apps, social media websites, or even random texts masquerading as a wrong number,” slowly gaining trust until proposing the idea of making a business investment using cryptocurrency.

Victims are then directed to other members of the conspiracy running crypto investment platforms that they are encouraged to invest in. Once the money is sent to the fake app, the scammer disappears, taking the money with them.

In this instance, between May and August this year, scammers induced five victims by using the seven seized domains, which were all spoofed from the Singapore International Monetary Exchange, officials say.

“The term ‘spoofed’ involves a cyberattack in which fraudsters or hackers seek to persuade individuals that a web address or email belongs to a legitimate and generally trusted company, when in fact it links the user to a false site controlled by a (member of the conspiracy).”

Using their “pig butchering” tactics, to gain trust, the scammers convinced their victims that they were investing in a legitimate company with a cryptocurrency opportunity.

Once the money was transferred through the seven seized domain names, the funds were transferred through private wallets and swapping services in an effort to conceal the funds, which totaled more than $10 million.

Anyone who believes they may have been the victim of a “pig butchering” scam can contact or by filing a report online.

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