An Australian woman has been stripped of her savings after being caught in an online romance/cryptocurrency scam that started on dating app Tinder.
This cruel scam, known as ‘pig butchery’, involves victims being ‘fattened’ by a fake relationship before being ‘butchered’ by fraudulent investment advice.
Sarah (not her real name), a bank worker in Sydney, thought she met a wonderful man, John, on Tinder, and she quickly fell in love.
Two weeks later, she realized it was a hoax and that she was the victim – but not before losing $157,000, her entire savings and $40,000 that She had borrowed from a friend.
“It’s been humiliation after humiliation,” Sarah, 42, said. 9News. “I realize how stupid I am now. I’m still trying to understand that I actually did this to myself.
An Australian woman has been stripped of her savings after being caught in an online romance/cryptocurrency scam that started on dating app Tinder. “John” used a photo he found on the Internet of a man with a husky dog and passed it off as himself.
Financial crime linked to pig slaughter began in China, but has since spread around the world and is becoming increasingly prevalent in Australia.
Cybercrime expert Simon Smith confirmed there have been numerous local victims, with some losing up to $850,000.
“They are very elaborate and relentless, the scammers continue until they have taken every last penny from their victim, and then some,” he said.
In August, Sarah was matched with a man calling himself John on Tinder, where he had a “verified” profile.
He said he lived 16 kilometers from her in western Sydney and posted photos of himself with a husky dog.
She liked that he seemed to be an animal lover and thought he was “sexy”.
“And we got along so well, it was amazing. I have to say it was amazing, and I guess that’s why they pull it off.
After just a day of chatting on Tinder, John moved their conversation to messaging service WhatsApp, where he appeared to have an Australian phone number.
He told Sarah he had closed his Tinder profile to focus on her, which she found “flattering”.
John was very quick to mention that he was trading cryptocurrencies as a complement to his construction work and said it could help him make money that way as well.
He asked her to create an account with an Australian cryptocurrency exchange called CoinSpot and then introduced him to the MEXC cryptocurrency platform.
Although MEXC was real, he had sent her to a fake MEXC website – which was set up so well that Sarah thought she would see trades closing and profits accumulating in her account.
John showed her how she could put in a small amount of money first and withdraw it immediately if she wanted.
“After that, I just transferred everything – I would add $10,000, $20,000. I kept putting more on,” Sarah said.
The fraudulent site even had a “customer service” department, with whom she spoke and who encouraged the scam by giving her a deposit address.
The man she thought she loved made it appear as if he was putting additional funds into his account to help increase his profits.
But things started to go downhill very quickly when he told her to withdraw her money when “the good trading period was over”.
Sarah was told she had to pay a $40,000 “security deposit” to withdraw the money.
She paid it, but was then told she had to pay double that amount again – money she didn’t have.
John claimed he paid part of the money and she borrowed $40,000 from a friend to make up the difference, which is her biggest regret.
When the money still wasn’t transferred, she asked John what was going on, but he simply told her to contact customer service.
She tried to get a personal loan after the criminals asked her for more money, but it didn’t happen. “I didn’t make it, thank God,” she said.
Sarah confided in her best friend about what was happening and she and her husband made her understand that she had been the victim of a financial crime.
They then discovered that John’s WhatsApp number had been disconnected and she discovered that the man with the husky photo had just been taken from the internet.
“I literally searched for ‘guy with a husky’ and that was the very first photo that came up,” she said.
Australians have already lost almost $24 million to romance scams this year, 74 per cent of which was lost to women. Photo of a woman looking at the Tinder app on her phone
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s ScamWatch site said almost $24 million has already been lost this year to romance scams, with 74 per cent lost to women.
Sarah is unhappy with the Australian authorities’ response to what happened to her.
“It’s clear they have no idea what to do,” she said. “If someone broke into my house and stole everything, that would be a different story.
“I’m the type of person who has never done anything wrong in my life. I’m a rule follower and I did this one thing and it ruined everything.
Pig Slaughter in Australia and How to Avoid It
Australians lost more than $322 million in investment scams last year
Dating and romance scams accounted for $35 million in losses
Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to this cruel hoax:
– Do not invest in currencies, cryptocurrencies or speculative investments with people you have only met in the online environment.
– Be especially wary of cryptocurrencies, which have historically been associated with scams and criminal activity
– When in doubt, get a second opinion from a professional, in person
– Talk to friends and family to get an outside perspective. Confiding in someone could help prevent or minimize losses
– If something doesn’t seem right, it could be a scam. For example, you are asked to pay via crypto or with gift cards.
– When it comes to relationships, understand that you don’t really know anyone until you meet them physically