US DOJ Seizes "Pig Butchering" Crypto Domain Names

The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia has taken possession of seven domain names that were utilized in the commission of cryptocurrency crimes known as "pig butchering."

According to a statement released by the Department of Justice on Monday, the crimes date as far back as August 2022, when con artists stole money from five victims in the United States by using domains that were spoofed to look like those of the Singapore Monetary Exchange.

Scammers often use dating apps and social media websites, as well as sending random messages to potential victims while pretending to be from a wrong number, as part of a scheme known as "pig butchering." Once trust has been gained, a victim (pig) is redirected to fraudulent cryptocurrency investment platforms, where they are convinced to invest before having their money stolen. These platforms are designed to look legitimate. This scheme operates along similar lines as traditional con artists, who try to convince their victims to invest small amounts of money into cryptocurrency over a period of time before stealing those assets. This is referred to as "fattening the pig before butchering it." This scheme works along similar lines.

"The con artists were able to persuade their victims that they were participating in a legal chance to invest in bitcoin. After the victims had transferred their investments into the deposit addresses that the con artists had provided through the seven seized domain names, the con artists immediately transferred the victims' funds through a variety of private wallets and swapping services in order to conceal the origin of the funds, according to the statement. It is estimated that the victims lost more than ten million dollars as a direct result of the scam.

In spite of the fact that law enforcement agencies had not yet made any arrests at the time this article was written, the Department of Justice (DOJ) asked other victims to provide information regarding their experiences with con artists.

The Department of Justice Is Concerned About Changing Scam Strategies
As a result of crypto companies beefing up the security of their platforms, "pig butchering" cryptocurrency scams have become more widespread, resulting in significant financial losses for their victims. Because of the personal conversations that take place between the con artist and their victim, these cons have a high rate of success. In September, authorities in the state of Delaware who deal with law enforcement froze the accounts of 23 people who were involved in crypto romance scams.

Only in the year 2021 did pig butchering scams result in the loss of "tens of billions" of dollars' worth of cryptocurrency, according to a report published by a blockchain security company called CipherBlade. Recently, the Department of Justice in the state of New Hampshire (DOJ) issued guidelines on how to protect oneself from falling prey to online romance scams. Residents were strongly encouraged by the press statement to restrict the amount of personal information they share publicly on social media websites and to refrain from clicking on any links that are forwarded to them online by people they do not know or have not met in person.

Ojike Stella

1727 Blog posts