Love Scam in Crypto World: Your Partner might Steal Your Coin!

Crypto

CryptoSoulmates are turning into victims of crypto scams and draining a significant chunk of their savings!

The popular Netflix show, “Tinder Swindler,” didn’t feature any crypto scams. But its charismatic lead, Simon Leviev, could do perfectly well as a crypto dating scammer. All it takes is some trust-building, promises of lucrative crypto gains, and gullibility that many of us are prone to. Indeed, scamming daters out of their crypto has become something of a cottage industry. Romance scammers conned victims out of US$139 million worth of cryptocurrency last year, according to a February 2022 report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted almost every single aspect of life. Since the physical contact between humans had to be reduced to a minimum, love dates and romantic activities became increasingly popular on dating applications. And while some people found their soulmates online, others turned into victims of cryptocurrency scammers who drained a significant chunk of their savings.

One such example is the 33-year-old Tho Vu, who fell in love with a mysterious lover named Ze Zhao. After messaging Hinge for several months, the couple started planning their wedding and honeymoon. Unfortunately for Ms. Vu, the man pretended to love her and reportedly drained US$300,000 worth of bitcoin from her.

In a separate case on WhatsApp, another scammer lured the 24-year-old social media producer Niki Hutchinson to invest US$300,000 in digital assets. Needless to say, she never saw that money again.

 

What are Romance Scams? 

Romance scams, the term for online scams that involve feigning romantic interest to gain a victim’s trust have increased in the pandemic. So have crypto prices. That has made crypto a useful entry point for criminals looking to part victims from their savings.

About 56,000 romance scams, totaling US$139 million in losses, were reported to the Federal Trade Commission last year, according to agency data. That is near twice as many reports as the agency received the previous year. In a bulletin, last fall, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Oregon office warned that crypto dating scams were emerging as a major category of cybercrime, with more than 1,800 reported cases in the first seven months of the year.

Experts believe this particular type of scam originated in China before spreading to the United States and Europe. Its Chinese name translates roughly as “pig butchering” a reference to the way victims are “fattened up” with flattery and romance before being scammed.

Crypto romance scammers don’t just target those who are actively looking to date through apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge. They may message you on Instagram, or even WhatsApp, and pretend it was by mistake. So, beware of crypto scams!