A 66-year-old retiree from Thailand was deceived by a cryptocurrency scam on Facebook, resulting in a loss of over $568,000.
This scam, often termed "pig butchering," manipulated the retiree's confidence using a fake news anchor identity online.
Within a span of two months, the retiree faced a financial setback of approximately 20 million THB ($568,500).
The "Pig butchering scam" is an intricate con that blends elements of romance, investment, and digital currency. Fraudsters set up counterfeit profiles on dating platforms, earn the trust of their targets, and then persuade them to venture into cryptocurrency trading. They display fabricated trading achievements, guarantee returns, and coax victims into investing more. However, when victims attempt to cash out, the fraudsters concoct charges and vanish, making the investments irretrievable. The scam's name reflects the strategy of gaining trust, akin to fattening a pig, and then robbing assets, similar to slaughtering it.
Unfolding the Incident:
The fraudster crafted a bogus Facebook account, impersonating a news anchor to gain trust. Gradually, the scammer engaged in conversations, briefly bonding with the retiree, and then proposed the concept of cryptocurrency investments. Over an eight-week period, the retiree made 33 transfers totaling around 20 million THB (roughly $568,500) from various bank accounts. Suspicion arose when the retiree faced difficulties withdrawing a mere 10,000 THB (around $284) from his expected profits.
Subsequently, the retiree reported the matter to Thailand's Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau on August 28th. In a show of solidarity, the genuine news anchor, whose identity was misused, also stepped forward to seek justice.
Online scams, including those on Facebook and involving cryptocurrencies, have surged in recent times. Such scams target a wide range of victims, from novices to seasoned professionals in the field.
In a related incident, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency DEA was recently defrauded of over $55,000 in cryptocurrency from the assets they had seized during another crypto-related crime investigation.The DEA declined to comment. The FBI, which filed the warrant and is leading the investigation into the theft, also declined to comment.