State warns of ‘pig butchering’ crypto scam after investor loses $40,000 | #phishing | #scams

The Alabama Securities Commission warned of so-called “pig butchering” cryptocurrency scams after an investor in the state lost $40,000, prompting the agency to demand a crypto trading platform used in the scam to stop operating in Alabama.

The fraud is named for the way scammers feed their victims with promises of riches before cutting them off and taking all their money.

“The pig butchering scam is just as dreadful as it sounds,” the commission said in a statement. “Only in this scam, an unsuspecting person’s hard-earned cash is on the chopping block. Con artists will build a relationship with the victims, by peppering them with extremely polished lies, in order to execute the scam that leaves victims with nothing.”

The thieves, who use profile pictures of attractive people to lure their victims, send phishing messages through social media platforms and communication apps, according to the ASC.

Once the victim responds to the messages, the scammer begins to build a relationship with the target. After a while, the fraudster casually mentions that they are wealthy through cryptocurrency investments and they eventually get the victim to invest.

But the victim is given falsified return statements on their account, and when the victim asks for their money to be withdrawn from the platform, the scammer says the funds can’t be given back unless the victim pays a tax or fee.

Once the payment is made to release the money, the scammer vanishes along with the victim’s funds.

An Alabama investor wrote to the commission saying they lost more than $40,000 in a “pig butchering” scam through the crypto trading platform WAP.PBPB.VIP.

On Thursday, the ASC issued a cease and desist order against the platform and TAO TAO, which owns the platform, for “offering unregistered securities and acting as an unregistered investment adviser.”

“Before investing your hard-earned money, contact the Alabama Securities Commission and ensure the securities being offered are registered and that anyone providing you with financial advice for a fee is registered,” said ASC Director Joseph P. Borg in a statement. “Purchasing unregistered investments significantly increases your likelihood of becoming the victim of investment fraud.”

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