US Takes Down Domains Used in 'Pig Butchering' Cryptocurrency Scheme

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The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced the seizing of seven domain names connected to a "pig butchering" cryptocurrency scam.

The US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia made the announcement in a press release on Monday, where it explained the domains were all spoofed to look as if they came from the Singapore International Monetary Exchange (SIMEX).

According to court records, the scammers had reportedly convinced five victims in the United States that they were investing in a legitimate cryptocurrency opportunity before stealing a total of over $10m from them collectively.

"In pig butchering schemes, scammers encounter victims on dating apps, social media websites, or even random texts masquerading as a wrong number. Scammers initiate relationships with victims and slowly gain their trust, eventually introducing the idea of making a business investment using cryptocurrency," wrote the US attorney's office.

"After the victims transferred investments into the deposit addresses that the scammers provided through the seven seized domain names, the victims' funds were immediately transferred through numerous private wallets and swapping services in an effort to conceal the source of the funds."

The DoJ is calling potential victims to come forward using an email address shared in the press release. Responses are voluntary, but the Department has said that reports should include "any purported investment websites visited, telephone numbers, email accounts, and social media profiles used by scammers, and any cryptocurrency addresses, transaction hashes, and dates of transactions."

Pig butchering scams are not new, but threat actors have ramped up their use of these techniques to steal money from individuals over the past few years.

According to the FBI's Internet Crime Report published last year, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received more than 4325 complaints over the last year, with losses of over $429m from confidence fraud/romance scam victims who also reported the use of pig butchering techniques.

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