Tagged: cryptocurrency Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 28, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank collapse, , cryptocurrency, ,   

    Bank closes after falling to crypto scam 

    Bank closes after falling to crypto scam

    By Greg Collier

    A small but successful bank in Southwestern Kansas recently closed its doors after losing $12 million to a cryptocurrency scam. It was one of only two banks in its rural Kansas town, and its loss could be devastating to the local community’s economy. The bank was known for working with farmers in the community who may no longer have that resource available to them. Thankfully, the bank’s customers are protected mostly by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), bank shareholders are left holding the bag. So, what scam caused the bank to collapse? It’s believed to have been the pig butchering scam.

    The pig butchering scam is when a scammer convinces their victim to invest in cryptocurrency through a phony exchange. The victim will be led to believe their initial investment has exponentially grown. However, when the victim tries to withdraw their money from the exchange, they’ll be told they need to pay an additional fee, which can be as much as the initial investment.

    Typically, we discuss the pig butchering scam as a version of the romance scam, but it doesn’t have to always be so salacious. It can be as simple as someone you’ve recently met suggesting you should invest in cryptocurrency.

    It’s unclear if that’s what happened in the Kansas town, since the bank’s collapse is still under investigation. However, what is known is that the bank’s CEO allegedly asked a client for a $12 million loan, so he could get his money out of a cryptocurrency investment. The client was said to be assured that the investment wasn’t made with the bank’s money. The CEO is said to have told his client he ‘knew someone’ who was helping him invest in crypto, but there was an issue with the payment, and he needed to put more money back in. Again, we can’t say for sure, but this sounds like the typical script for the pig butchering scam.

    The bank CEO was no shady dealer either. He was a known pillar of the community who was trusted by clients and customers alike. If we had to hazard a guess, it sounds like someone got into his ear and tricked him into the scam. Unfortunately, it was to the tune of $12 million.

    The point to this blog post is twofold. The first is, no matter who you are and how experienced you are in your respective field, anyone can fall for a scam. The second is that scams can not only have a devastating personal effect, but can devastate a community if someone isn’t careful.

    The crypto world is crazy enough without scammers trying to take your money. Only dive into crypto if you’ve done your homework. If someone you’ve never met face-to-face starts pushing you to invest with their so-called “expert” advice, chances are they’re not legit.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cryptocurrency, , ,   

    Widow strung along for years in ‘pig butchering’ romance scam 

    Widow strung along for years in 'pig butchering' romance scam

    By Greg Collier

    You might think it was Valentine’s Day with all the recent news about romance scams lately. However, the recent spate of romance victims coming forward not only shows that romance scams can happen at any time, but also how nefarious they really are. Yet, there is a romance scam that stands above all the others, as it has claimed tens of thousands to upwards of a million dollars from its individual victims.

    It’s called the pig butchering scam because the scammer ‘fattens up’ their victims using emotional manipulation before leading their victim to the financial slaughterhouse. While it may sound violent, it’s not, but can be just as devastating and traumatic.

    After gaining the victim’s trust, scammers convince them to invest in cryptocurrency. They guide the victim to a fake cryptocurrency exchange they control, making it seem like the investment is growing quickly. But when the victim tries to take out their supposed profits, they’re told they need to pay more money before they can get their earnings. No matter how much they pay, the victim never gets any returns.

    A widow from Baltimore recently came forward with her story about falling for this scam. She was just playing the online game Words with Friends when she was approached by her scammer. This is a good example of the innocuous places where scammers can lie in wait for their victims. Who expects to run into a scammer in such an innocent game?

    The scammer claimed to be a man named Micheal who was working overseas in Turkey. He claimed to be a widower with children around the same age as the victim’s children. Romance scammers will often assume the identity of someone who closely resembles their victims.

    After striking up a relationship with the victim, the scammer moved the conversation away from the game and on to the WhatsApp messaging app. This is another red flag, as scammers will try to get their victims away from the platform where they first met so no one will see their messages to their victim.

    While some scammers can wait months before asking their victims for money, this scammer waited an entire year before asking his victim for money. In that year, he was showering the victim with affection, talking about how they were going to get married and buy a home together. This is known as ‘love bombing’.

    Then the scammer convinced the woman to invest $35,000 into cryptocurrency. He directed her to a phony cryptocurrency exchange that was supposedly based in the UK. After sending in her $35,000, the phony exchange made it appears as if she made close to a million dollars. Except, she couldn’t take the money out of the exchange without paying a $17,000 ‘processing fee’. All the while, the scammer kept convincing her the money was real. The victim even paid money to ‘Michael’ to help pay the bills for a car accident Michael’s son was in. Once scammers know they have hooked their victim, they’ll keep asking for money until there’s no money left, and will still keep asking. Other victims of romance scams have taken out loans and even embezzled to send money to who they think is their romantic partner. The victim in today’s story kept giving money to the victim even after a friend warned her this could be a scam.

    While you may recognize a romance scam, someone you know may not. If you think someone you know is being scammed, don’t be judgmental, but show them this blog post or other news articles about the scam. Recognize that it may take time for your friend to come to terms with the possibility that they’re dealing with a scam. Be patient and continue to provide support. Ultimately, your role is to provide guidance and support while respecting your friend’s autonomy. It’s essential to strike a balance between offering assistance and allowing them to make their own decisions.

  • Geebo 5:28 pm on August 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , cryptocurrency,   

    Does cryptocurrency automatically mean a scam? 

    Does cryptocurrency automatically mean a scam?

    By Greg Collier

    Ok, we admit that our headline asks a pretty loaded question we’re pretty sure will get some crypto-bros all riled up. We’re not talking about people who legitimately and knowingly invest and trade in cryptocurrencies. Instead, we’re talking about your average consumer, and for them, when someone asks for payment in cryptocurrency, it’s almost always a scam.

    Before cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum became somewhat mainstream, scammers would ask for payment in gift cards because the funds could easily be emptied from the card, and once that happens they’re virtually untraceable. For similar reasons, scammers have started demanding their payments be made in cryptocurrency. While cryptocurrency can technically be traced, the nature of cryptocurrency allows its users to remain pseudonymous.

    The problem for scammers used to be getting their victims to convert their own money into cryptocurrency. Depending on the scam, scammers could walk their victims through an online cryptocurrency exchange, but something easier has come along. Enter the Bitcoin ATM.

    Bitcoin ATMs are kiosks that allow anyone to either buy or sell Bitcoin. At one of these ATMs, someone could enter their Bitcoin wallet information and exchange their Bitcoin for cash. Conversely, someone could purchase Bitcoin by depositing cash into the machine, and that’s where scammers come in.

    For the average consumer, anyone who asks for some kind of payment or transfer in cryptocurrency is a scammer. Businesses won’t ask you to pay your bills in cryptocurrency. Banks will not tell you your money needs to be protected by exchanging it for cryptocurrency. Neither, will the police, the government, or any tech giant like Apple or Microsoft.

    These scams tend to target the elderly due to their perceived lack of knowledge about modern technology. In just the past 24 hours, we found three stories involving elderly victims putting their money into a Bitcoin ATM, which went straight to the scammer’s digital wallet.

    In Kansas City, a man was dumping thousands of dollars of cash into a Bitcoin ATM at a gas station. Thankfully, the clerk noticed what the man was doing and contacted the police. When the police arrived, the man was still on the phone with the scammer. The scammer hung up once the police officers introduced themselves. The man thought he was talking to his bank, who told him to move his money to keep it safe. Again, that’s not a thing banks do.

    In the Reno area of Nevada, an elderly man almost lost $15,000 to scammers. This victim was told their bank account had been connected to criminal activity. Once again, the victim was told to move their money to protect it. In this instance, the scammers could have impersonated law enforcement officers, his bank or both. This man was lucky, as local police got a search warrant for the Bitcoin ATM, and were able to recover his cash. However, that is the exception and not the norm.

    Lastly, a victim from New Jersey lost $25,000 to a Bitcoin ATM scam. This victim received an email that appeared to come from his bank about a transaction they didn’t make. He was also probably asked to deposit the money into a Bitcoin ATM to protect his bank account.

    Scammers are the only ones who insist on receiving payments in cryptocurrency. Any reputable business will never ask you to send cryptocurrency as a prerequisite for making a purchase or ensuring the safety of your funds. Such requests are always indicative of fraudulent activity.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 17, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank robbery, , , cryptocurrency, , ,   

    Job scam uses victims to rob banks 

    Job scam uses victims to rob banks

    By Greg Collier

    Recently, the city of Omaha, Nebraska, experienced a bank robbery and an attempted bank robbery with similar M.O.s. In both instances, a woman handed a phone to the bank teller. The person on the phone threatened the bank tellers into giving money to the person who handed them the phone. Except, the people standing at the teller’s counter had no idea they were being used in a bank robbery. So, how did this happen? We could just say ‘Craigslist’ and leave it at that, but we’ll give our readers a more in-depth explanation.

    According to a local news report, the women who entered the banks had replied to a Craigslist ad looking for someone to help with a sick and elderly relative. Once the women responded to the ad, they were told they would be helping with, “light housework, grocery store runs, and helping with finances.” Don’t you think classifying ‘helping with finances’ as bank robbery is a bit much? Anyway, the women were told they needed to go to the bank to withdraw money for the relative’s medical bills. The women handed the phones to the tellers, thinking their employer was discussing a withdrawal.

    Only one of the women was ‘successful’ and thought nothing of it when the teller handed her the money. That woman was instructed to deposit the money at a Bitcoin ATM.

    To make matters worse, the supposed employer obtained the women’s bank information, promising he would pay them through direct deposit. The scammer did try to steal from one of the victim’s accounts, but was unsuccessful.

    At the time of this writing, no arrest has been made.

    While a scam like this is unlikely to happen to the average jobseeker, it does highlight a couple of red flags when looking for a job online. If your employer only communicates through text messages, instant messaging, or phone call, and won’t meet you personally, there’s an excellent chance they’re a scammer. Also, if the position requires you to make any kind of payment involving cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, there’s an even grater chance the job is a scam.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 30, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cryptocurrency, , ,   

    Why this crypto-romance scam is more successful than others 

    By Greg Collier

    Romance scams predate the internet. But back in those days, the scammer had to at least be there in person to scam their victim. Since then, online and long-distance relationships have become more socially acceptable. That has made the romance scammer’s job easier. Now, the scammers don’t even have to leave their homes to scam someone who could literally be living somewhere on the other side of Earth.

    However, more and more people have become more educated on the typical romance scam. That’s when the scammer will target a victim, cultivate an online romantic relationship with their victim, before asking the victim for large amounts of money. Unfortunately, that hasn’t deterred scammers in the least. When one scam stops being profitable, scammers will move on to another scam. And as far as the romance scam goes, the scammers have really stepped it up with their latest version.

    We’ve discussed it before. It’s known as the ‘pig butchering’ scam. It’s called that because the scammers make the victim think they’re being ‘fattened up’ financially, before the scammers lead them to the proverbial slaughter. After successfully establishing trust with their target, scammers proceed to encourage the victim to invest in cryptocurrency. They direct the victim towards a fraudulent cryptocurrency exchange operated by the scammer group. This deceptive exchange creates the illusion that the victim’s investment is experiencing rapid and significant growth. Unfortunately, when the victim attempts to withdraw their alleged profits, they are informed that an additional payment must be made before they can access their windfall. It doesn’t matter how much the victim pays, they’ll never see any return.

    This recently happened to a man in the Boston area. The man was even fully aware of the typical romance scam. When the man’s online partner started bringing up cryptocurrency, the man even said, “I’m not giving you any money.” But as scammers always do, they had an answer for the man. They told him, “No, you don’t give it to me. You establish your own account, and I’ll guide you.”

    And that’s what makes the pig butchering scam so successful for scammers. Victims think they’re accessing a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange when, in reality, it’s part of the scam. Unfortunately, the Boston man lost $300,000 in the scam.

    The cryptocurrency market is volatile enough that people don’t need scammers to help them lose their money. Only invest in cryptocurrency if you’ve studied the subject yourself. If someone you’ve never met face-to-face starts suggesting you invest in it with their guidance, there’s a very good chance they’re not who they say they are.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 12, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cryptocurrency, , ,   

    Romance scammers threaten more than your heart 

    Romance scammers threaten more than your heart

    By Greg Collier

    One of the more lucrative romance scams is what’s known as the ‘pig butchering’ scam. It got this unfortunate name because the scammers will virtually ‘fatten’ their victims before leading them to financial slaughter.

    Typically, in a pig butchering scam, it starts off like any other romance scam. Once the scammer has gained their victim’s confidence, the scammer will advise the victim to invest in cryptocurrency. The victim is directed to a phony cryptocurrency exchange run by the scammers. The phony exchange will make it appear as if the victim’s investment is multiplying by leaps and bounds. However, once the victim tries to reap their supposed profits, they’re told they need to make an additional payment before their windfall can be released.

    This cycle can continue repeatedly if a victim does not realize they’re being scammed. Historically, when a victim realizes they’re being scammed, the scammers just disappear with the victim’s money. But in some cases, the scammers will continue to try to extort money from the victim.

    For example, a man in Iowa fell victim to the scam to the tune of $232,000. The man received an errant text message from an unknown woman. The woman said the text was meant from someone else, but the pair struck up a friendship anyway. The friendship then turned into more of a romantic relationship. After three months of this online relationship, the woman said she made a substantial amount of money through cryptocurrency, and would help the man do the same.

    Unfortunately, the man emptied his retirement account, took out a bank loan, and borrowed money from his mother, so he could make the initial $232,000 investment. He was told his investment grew almost instantly into $1.1 million, but when he tried to access that money, he was told he’d need to pay another $100,000 disguised as a tax payment.

    When the man refused to pay the money, his ‘girlfriend’ started threatening him with revealing their relationship to the man’s family. She also threatened the man’s family with violence and said she had hired agents to kill the man to harvest his organs for the black market.

    While these threats may seem convincing, the majority of these scammers are overseas and have no way of carrying out these threats.

    In order to safeguard yourself against this kind of fraudulent activity, it is crucial to steer clear of individuals who promise to assist you in earning money through cryptocurrency, especially if you haven’t had any face-to-face interactions with them. It’s important to note that cryptocurrency markets exhibit high levels of volatility, thereby increasing the likelihood of legitimate investments transforming into losses within a short span of time. Additionally, it is worth noting that scammers and cybercriminals often favor cryptocurrency as a means of payment.

  • Geebo 9:13 am on May 12, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cryptocurrency, , ,   

    $2.3 million lost to romance scam 

    $2.3 million lost to romance scam

    By Greg Collier

    The romance scam is when criminals create fake online profiles to gain the trust of their victims, usually with the intention of deceiving them out of money or personal information. The scammer will often build a relationship with the victim over time, using flattery, emotional manipulation, and even fake photos and identities to gain their trust. Once the scammer has established a relationship with the victim, they will typically request money or personal information, such as bank account or credit card details. Romance scams can be particularly devastating because victims may feel embarrassed or ashamed, and may not report the crime to authorities.

    There’s even a more specific version of the romance scam that is known as the ‘pig butchering’ scam in certain circles. It’s called that because the victims are seen as the pigs that the scammers ‘raise’ before leading them to the financial slaughterhouse. In that scam, after the scammer has gained the victim’s confidence, they’ll advise the victim to invest in cryptocurrency.

    The victim is directed to a cryptocurrency exchange operated by the scammers. The victim is asked to pay the exchange for their investment, and is later informed that their investment has generated a significant return. However, when the victim attempts to withdraw their money, the exchange informs them that they need to pay additional fees to access their returns. This cycle may persist until the victim runs out of funds or becomes aware that they are being deceived.

    We often say it doesn’t matter what your education level or socioeconomic status is. Everyone has a scam with their name on it. There are so many scams affecting people today and so many new ones being created that anybody can fall for one scam or another.

    That’s what happened to a wealthy woman from Southern California. She met a man through a dating platform that only caters to the rich. Users of the platform have to verify their identity by submitting their driver’s license along with their tax return. As secure as that sounds, that didn’t stop from romance scammers from accessing the platform.

    The scammer posed as a successful businessman from New York. It didn’t take the scammer long to convince his victim to invest in cryptocurrency. She was directed to a fake cryptocurrency platform where she thought she was getting substantial returns on her investment. Except her investments were being pocketed by her supposed new beau. Before it was all over, she had invested $2.3 million.

    The victim realized there were red flags after she realized she had been scammed. The man she thought was her boyfriend would never video chat with her and would only chat through a messaging app. A reverse image search uncovered that the picture the scammer sent her was stolen from an actual New York businessman.

    To protect yourself from this type of scam, it’s important to avoid individuals who offer to help you earn money through cryptocurrency, particularly if you have not met them in person. Cryptocurrency markets can be extremely volatile, which means even legitimate investments can quickly turn into losses. Furthermore, scammers and cybercriminals often prefer cryptocurrency as a payment method.

    It’s worth noting that despite having a distinct name, this scam is ultimately a variation of a romance scam. If you develop an online relationship with someone who starts requesting money, it’s highly probable that they are a scammer. If the person has shared photos with you, consider conducting a reverse image search to see if these photos have been used elsewhere on the internet. Romance scammers frequently use other people’s photos to construct fake identities.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 30, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cryptocurrency, , , ,   

    Crypto-Romance scam runs rampant among retirees 

    Crypto-Romance scam runs rampant among retirees

    By Greg Collier

    When we think of Florida, we often think of retirees, since Florida is one of the most popular states to retire to. And since Florida has so many retirees, scammers see the Sunshine State as an easy target. Recently, Florida has seen an uptick in romance scams that involve the victim thinking they’re investing their savings into cryptocurrency. It’s called the pig butchering scam, and it has cost its Florida victims hundreds of thousands of dollars each. It’s called that because the victims are seen as pigs who the scammers ‘raise’ until it’s time to lead the victim to financial slaughter.

    The scam typically begins when the victim establishes a relationship with a potential romantic partner through a dating platform or social media. The scammer will keep the victim interested and eventually offer to help them make money by investing in cryptocurrency. The victim is then directed to a cryptocurrency exchange that is controlled by the scammers. They are instructed to invest their money into the exchange, which the scammer will claim has generated substantial returns. However, when the victim attempts to withdraw their funds, they are informed that they need to pay additional fees in order to receive their returns. This pattern of demands for more money continues until the victim either runs out of funds or realizes that they are being scammed.

    Recently, a retiree from Port St. Lucie, Florida came forward to local media after losing $250,000 to this scam. He though ht had entered into an online relationship with a woman. The scammer cultivated the relationship before asking the man if he wanted to make money through cryptocurrency. After losing the $250,000, the scammer cut off all communication with the man, now he’s in danger of losing his home.

    The best way to protect yourself from this scam is to avoid anyone offering to help you make money through cryptocurrency, especially if you’ve never met them in person. Cryptocurrency markets are so volatile that even legitimate investments can disappear quickly. Plus, cryptocurrency is a preferred method of payment for scammers and other cybercriminals.

    Even though this scam has a fancy name, at its heart it’s still a romance scam. If you develop an online relationship and your online partner starts asking for money, they’re more than likely a scammer. If the person has provided you with photos, try using reverse image search to see if the photos have been used elsewhere on the internet. Romance scammers often use photos of other people to create fake identities.

    Romance scammers often ask their victims for money or personal information, such as bank account details, credit card numbers, or social security numbers. Be suspicious of anyone who makes these requests, especially if you have not met them in person.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 20, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cryptocurrency, , , ,   

    When romance and crypto scams meet 

    When romance and crypto scams meet

    By Greg Collier

    Money can complicate any relationship. However, it’s not complicated if a person you never met in person asks you for money. That person is more than likely a romance scammer. Typically, romance scammers will cultivate an online relationship with their victim for months before asking the victim for money. Scammers will claim they have plenty of their own money, but it’s tied up for some reason or another. There is also a variation to this scam where the scammer doesn’t ask for money. Instead, they offer to help their victim.

    This scam has the unfortunate name of the ‘pig butchering’ scam. The scam is named this way because the victims are seen as the pigs that the scammers ‘raise’ before leading them to the financial slaughterhouse.

    It starts when the victim meets a potential romantic partner on a dating platform or social media. The scammer will string the victim along until the scammer tells their victim they can help the victim make money by investing in cryptocurrency. The victim is then directed to a cryptocurrency exchange run by the scammers. The victim will pay the exchange for their investment before being told their investment has had a substantial return. When the victim tries to get their money out, they’re told by the exchange they need to pay more money to get their returns. This will continue until the victim runs out of money or realizes they’re being scammed.

    This happened recently to a woman from San Antonio, Texas, who met one of these scammers on the dating platform Bumble. The scammer claimed to have grown up in Switzerland before coming to the US. The scammer quickly moved the conversation off of Bumble and on to WhatsApp. There, the scammer said he could show her how to invest in cryptocurrency with the New York Stock Exchange. She paid $6500 to what she thought was the NYSE. She was told that her money was garnering returns. The scammer must have thought that $6500 wasn’t enough because the victim said the scammer started becoming aggressive and threatening. The victim then found out that the exchange had no affiliation with the NYSE.

    While $6500 may be a fortune to many people, the victim is actually lucky. There have been instances where at least one victim has lost almost $2 million to the pig butchering scam.

    The pig butchering scam isn’t limited to dating apps. If someone messages you with promises of record windfall by investing in cryptocurrency, they’re more than likely a scammer. No financial investment is ever guaranteed to make the investor a profit.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cryptocurrency, FTX, , ,   

    Crypto scam victims continue to be victimized 

    Crypto scam victims continue to be victimized

    By Greg Collier

    If you follow the news, you’ve no doubt heard about the FTX scandal. FTX was a cryptocurrency exchange company that sold its own cryptocurrency called FTT. FTX is accused of allegedly falsely inflating the value of FTT. When this was discovered, not only did the value of FTT Crash, but many investors tried to cash out while they could, leading to a run on FTX’s liquidity. This is one of the largest cryptocurrency crashes of all time, possibly affecting one million investors.

    Now, you may think that FTX investors were all wealthy and can afford to take the loss. However, keep in mind that FTX advertised itself as the crypto exchange for everyone. Many investors into FTX were probably first-time crypto investors, who may have put a little too much of their money into FTX. And these are the victims who continue to be preyed upon.

    The State of Oregon has issued a warning to those who may have lost money in the FTX crash. Scammers are said to be running a phony website that appears to be run by the US State Department. The website claims it can help investors who lost money in the crash get their money back.

    This is a ploy we’ve seen used by scammers before, who prey on scam victims. What the scammers are looking for are a victim’s personal information and probably some of the victim’s money under the guise of being a recovery service. These scammers are preying on desperate people who’ve already lost money and are dangling the promise of recovery in front of them to take more from them.

    The reason this story should be important to the average consumer is that this scam isn’t limited to cryptocurrency. It can be done following just about any scam. In the past, we’ve seen it used against victims who have had their car stolen. We’ve also seen it used against victims of the grandparent scam.

    There are no scam recovery servicers. Once money is lost to a scam, 99% of the time it’s gone for good. That doesn’t mean a service can get it back for that other 1% of the time. Anyone promising they can get a scam victim’s money back is just trying to further scam that victim.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc