According to a public service announcement released today by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Americans are increasingly being targeted in “pig slaughter” cryptocurrency investment schemes.
This escalation in attacks has resulted in more than $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency being lost to cybercriminals, as reported by victims in the United States last year.
In cryptocurrency scams, fraudsters will approach victims via dating platforms, messaging apps or social media platforms to build trust and present them with an investment scheme that will eventually allow them to empty wallets targets.
These scams have become increasingly sophisticated and use psychological manipulation to trick more and more victims into parting with their money.
“Criminals walk victims through the investment process, show them fake profits and encourage victims to invest more,” the law enforcement agency said. said.
“When victims try to withdraw their money, they are told that they have to pay fees or taxes. Victims cannot get their money back, even if they pay the fees or taxes imposed.”
Today’s warning comes after the FBI revealed in its annual report Internet Crime Report that Americans lost over $3 billion to investment fraud in 2022.
“In 2022, investment scam losses were the most (common or dollar) scheme reported to IC3. Investment fraud complaints increased from $1.45 billion in 2021 to $3.31 billion in 2022, or 127%,” the FBI said.
“In these complaints, cryptocurrency investment fraud increased from $907 million in 2021 to $2.57 billion in 2022, an increase of 183 percent.”
This is not the first warning about “pig cutting” programs issued by the agency. In October, the FBI warned of an increase in scams stealing ever-increasing amounts of cryptocurrency from unsuspecting investors.
Previous FBI alerts have also warned against scammers using fraudulent investment apps And fake rewards in so-called “play-to-earn” games to steal millions in cryptocurrency from investors.
The FBI also shared tips today on how potential targets can defend themselves against cryptocurrency investment scams:
- If an unknown person contacts you, do not disclose any financial or personally identifiable information (PII) and do not send any money.
- Don’t invest on the advice of someone you only meet online.
- Confirm the validity of any investment opportunity or cryptocurrency investing website or app.
- If you have already invested funds and believe you have been the victim of a scheme, do not pay any additional fees or taxes to withdraw your money.
- Don’t pay for services that claim to be able to recover lost funds.