Brooklyn District Attorney Seizes 21 Web Domains Linked to ‘Pig Butchering’ Scams

Last updated:

| 2 min read

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office has seized 21 web domains associated with fraudulent cryptocurrency investments and “pig butchering” scams. 

The operation targeted scams known as “pig butchering,” where scammers gain victims’ trust through dating apps or other platforms and manipulate them into making bogus investments, The Associated Press reported Thursday. 

“Pig butchering is a growing type of scam that defrauds residents of Brooklyn and the entire country out of billions of dollars every year,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement: 

“My office’s strategy is to disrupt these schemes by seizing and shutting down their online infrastructure, and to educate the public.”

Gonzalez urged the public to exercise caution and avoid falling for crypto investments that appear too good to be true. 

He also warned against downloading apps from unverified cryptocurrency websites, advising individuals to conduct thorough research and exercise due diligence before engaging in any investment activities.

Only A Fraction of Pig Butchering Victims Report to Losses

Last year, the New York Police Department received 50 complaints related to online crypto scams. 

However, Gonzalez stressed that this figure likely represents a fraction of the actual instances, as victims often feel ashamed or are unsure of how to report such crimes.

The district attorney revealed that victims who came forward from Brooklyn alone reported losses exceeding $4 million, describing the reports as “heartbreaking.” 

Many individuals have suffered substantial financial losses, with some depleting their life savings or resorting to mortgaging their homes.

One victim, a 51-year-old woman, reported a loss of $22,680 after joining online chat groups dedicated to discussing crypto investments.

Initially, she witnessed her account balance grow to $387,495 through several deposits. 

However, when she attempted to withdraw her initial investment, she was told to pay taxes. 

Subsequently, she was blocked from the chat group, and her money vanished.

During the investigation, it was discovered that the victim’s funds had been funneled through multiple cryptocurrency addresses, eventually reaching an account at a foreign crypto exchange. 

The money was then cashed out by an individual located outside U.S. jurisdiction, potentially in China. 

The authorities uncovered additional victims of the same scam from California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, who collectively lost $366,665.

Crypto Romance Scams Become Prevalent

Crypto romance scams have been plaguing US citizens, resulting in significant financial losses. 

Just recently, Shreya Datta, a 37-year-old tech professional from Philadelphia, fell victim to a cryptocurrency romance scam that left her financially ruined with losses mounting to $450,000.

As reported, Erin West, Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara, California, has revealed that receives an average of 5-6 emails daily from individuals who have fallen prey to pig butchering.

“We are receiving 5-6 emails a day from people who are victims of pig butchering. The most recent victim lost $5 million dollars and that’s not even the biggest amount one victim has lost to this scam.”

Compounding the issue, the stolen funds are funneled overseas to transnational criminal organizations in Myanmar and Cambodia, using trafficked individuals as virtual slaves to carry out the pig butchering scams.

Read the full article here