DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) – Miami-Dade police are investigating a series of online crimes that target crypto wallets and life savings.
Investigators said these crimes, known as “pig butchering” or “pig slaughtering”, are on the rise.
MDPD Sgt. Bridget Doyle, of the department’s cybercrime investigations unit, said these criminals target many demographic groups
“They don’t care who the victim is, they don’t care how the victim looks, they don’t care what the financial situation of the victim is,” she said. “They don’t care about anything that has to do with them. They do a job like anyone else.
Doyle described the elaborate scam, which takes place over a long period of time.
“They want to fatten their target victim until they’ve gotten enough information from them or sweetened the deal enough where they feel they’re going to squeeze the most money out of a person. Then they take that pig to the slaughterhouse,” she said.
Investigators said the victims received an anonymous text or phone call and the stranger on the other end struggled to gain their trust.
“Once they’ve earned their trust, they casually shift the conversation to, typically, cryptocurrency investments,” Doyle said. “They’ll provide you with a cryptocurrency platform that a family member started or a friend used, and they see high return or high ROI.”
But police said the website was a ruse and victims were depositing their life savings there.
“For a victim, the lifetime savings could be $6,000. For another person, their savings might be $500. On the other hand, it could be $4 million, and we’ve seen a range from low to high,” Doyle said.
Over time, the victim looks successful when verifying the cryptocurrency account.
“On the back end of the website, they end up taking the investment that you provided, and they say you earn that money, but you earn nothing,” Doyle said. “It shows that you earn that money, but your money has already been taken.”
Investigators have said that scammers will try to negotiate with those who wish to withdraw their money from their crypto wallets.
“You want to withdraw that money, that your get-rich-quick has worked, and now you’re at $5 million, and when you try to withdraw that money, you now have to pay a 10% tax, and they’ll try to negotiate with you,” Doyle said.
Police said the victim would try to take out loans, borrow money from friends, while negotiating to get his money back.
“By then — it’s usually like a three-month rotation — the website is already down,” Doyle said.
And the person on the other end is gone, with all the physical money invested.
Doyle says it’s easy to avoid this “pig slaughter” scam.
“I suggest that when you see a link, if someone sends you a link to a website for an investment platform, you do a separate Google search or a separate internet search with your favorite search engine. , to know the legitimacy behind this real website,” she said.
Doyle also has an additional tip,
“If you don’t know them in real life, there’s no reason you can build rapport or trust with that stranger,” she said.
In 2021, the FBI’s Criminal Complaints Center received over 4,300 complaints related to these crypto romance scams, totaling over $425 million in losses.
Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.