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Mass. man loses thousands in online dating scam known as ‘pig butchering’ | #datingscams | #lovescams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating


A new romance scam that’s on the rise has some victims tricked into losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unlike a lot of other scams, which are quick, this one unfolds over months and often starts on a dating website.One Boston victim hopes his story will help others avoid his same fate. For weeks, Scott from South Boston – who asked NewsCenter 5 not to divulge his last name – thought he was simply building a relationship with someone he met online.”I met him on a dating site,” Scott said. “We talked a lot.”The two chatted about work, food, a friend’s injury, and even spoke on camera once. Everything, he says, seemed normal.”He spent at least a month, daily, talking to me and cultivating my friendship,” Scott said. Initially, the only talk about money was how much Scott’s new online friend had made trading cryptocurrency. After all, Scott thought he knew how to protect himself from scams.”I’m not giving you money,” Scott said he told his friend. “So that’s when started saying ‘No, you don’t give it to me. You establish your own account, and I’ll guide you.’”Scott says the investment website his “friend” sent looked incredibly realistic. So Scott started small, investing $500. He says he made earnings right away and was even able to pull some of that initial investment back out, which convinced him to invest more. A lot more.”Over time, $300,000,” he said.It’s part of a scam that’s come to be known as “pig butchering” – where scammers pose as someone online looking for a relationship, but what they’re actually doing is growing their takings before moving in for the kill. The texts, the chatting, the elaborate investment website is all part of the fraud. “They’re very good at faking all of this,” Scott said. “The driver’s license he showed me was him.”Despite an account that purports to show a million-dollar balance, Scott has been cut off from the money. Every time he tries to withdraw, he’s given a different reason why he can’t, along with a demand for more money.”I go to withdraw, and they turned around and said, ‘Now you have to pay taxes on all your profit before we give you anything,’” Scott said. “And I was like, ‘I don’t pay you. I pay the IRS.’””The biggest red flag would be somebody asking you to invest that you really don’t have any kind of personal relationship or haven’t met in person,” said Matthew Giacobbi, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston Division.Giacobbi says cryptocurrency-centric scams are skyrocketing, jumping from $907 million in fraud nationwide in 2021 to more than $2.5 billion just a year later in 2022. The numbers are even worse in the four New England states under the FBI’s Boston Division, where crypto scams have quadrupled – rising from $15 million in losses in 2021 to $60 million last year.”We want to get the word out there,” said Giacobbi, who added that all the headlines about crypto being a source of “easy money” for some people help make the scams seem even more real.”I certainly think the attraction to crypto” doesn’t help, Giacobbi said. “And we all know folks who have maybe made some money in crypto is part of as well.””As much as I wanted it to be real and was hoping it would be real, things don’t add up in the end,” Scott said.The fact that the scam revolves around crypto also makes it much harder for law enforcement to trace, but the FBI says victims should absolutely file a report anyway. Before investing, consider these questions: Have you checked the web address to make sure the investment site is legitimate? Don’t just click on a link sent to you. Do you know what exactly you’re investing in? And have you met the person whose investment advice you’re following? If you haven’t actually met them in person, don’t follow their advice.

A new romance scam that’s on the rise has some victims tricked into losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unlike a lot of other scams, which are quick, this one unfolds over months and often starts on a dating website.

One Boston victim hopes his story will help others avoid his same fate.

For weeks, Scott from South Boston – who asked NewsCenter 5 not to divulge his last name – thought he was simply building a relationship with someone he met online.

“I met him on a dating site,” Scott said. “We talked a lot.”

The two chatted about work, food, a friend’s injury, and even spoke on camera once. Everything, he says, seemed normal.

“He spent at least a month, daily, talking to me and cultivating my friendship,” Scott said.

Initially, the only talk about money was how much Scott’s new online friend had made trading cryptocurrency. After all, Scott thought he knew how to protect himself from scams.

“I’m not giving you money,” Scott said he told his friend. “So that’s when [the scammer] started saying ‘No, you don’t give it to me. You establish your own account, and I’ll guide you.’”

Scott says the investment website his “friend” sent looked incredibly realistic. So Scott started small, investing $500. He says he made earnings right away and was even able to pull some of that initial investment back out, which convinced him to invest more. A lot more.

“Over time, $300,000,” he said.

It’s part of a scam that’s come to be known as “pig butchering” – where scammers pose as someone online looking for a relationship, but what they’re actually doing is growing their takings before moving in for the kill. The texts, the chatting, the elaborate investment website is all part of the fraud.

“They’re very good at faking all of this,” Scott said. “The driver’s license he showed me was him.”

Despite an account that purports to show a million-dollar balance, Scott has been cut off from the money. Every time he tries to withdraw, he’s given a different reason why he can’t, along with a demand for more money.

“I go to withdraw, and they turned around and said, ‘Now you have to pay taxes on all your profit before we give you anything,’” Scott said. “And I was like, ‘I don’t pay you. I pay the IRS.’”

“The biggest red flag would be somebody asking you to invest that you really don’t have any kind of personal relationship [with] or haven’t met in person,” said Matthew Giacobbi, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston Division.

Giacobbi says cryptocurrency-centric scams are skyrocketing, jumping from $907 million in fraud nationwide in 2021 to more than $2.5 billion just a year later in 2022. The numbers are even worse in the four New England states under the FBI’s Boston Division, where crypto scams have quadrupled – rising from $15 million in losses in 2021 to $60 million last year.

“We want to get the word out there,” said Giacobbi, who added that all the headlines about crypto being a source of “easy money” for some people help make the scams seem even more real.

“I certainly think the attraction to crypto” doesn’t help, Giacobbi said. “And we all know folks who have maybe made some money in crypto is part of [the allure] as well.”

“As much as I wanted it to be real and was hoping it would be real, things don’t add up in the end,” Scott said.

The fact that the scam revolves around crypto also makes it much harder for law enforcement to trace, but the FBI says victims should absolutely file a report anyway.

Before investing, consider these questions: Have you checked the web address to make sure the investment site is legitimate? Don’t just click on a link sent to you. Do you know what exactly you’re investing in? And have you met the person whose investment advice you’re following? If you haven’t actually met them in person, don’t follow their advice.

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