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Polskie Stowarzyszenie Bitcoin

“Romantic scam related to cryptocurrencies: an increasing threat”


Romance Scam Connected to Cryptocurrencies – an Increasingly Popular Threat

Shreya Datta, a resident of Philadelphia, has become the latest victim of a romance scam that led to a loss of nearly $450,000. The crime, known as “pig butchering,” involved the use of a so-called romance scam related to cryptocurrencies, which is gaining popularity among organized crime groups.

New Methods of Romance Scams

In recent years, a new method of romance scams has emerged, where scammers pretend to show romantic interest to persuade victims to invest in fictional cryptocurrencies. In the case of Shreya Datta, the scammer, who posed as “Ancel” on the dating app Hinge, pretended to be a French wine trader and manipulated her into investing in a non-existent cryptocurrency trading app. As a result, Datta depleted her savings, took out loans, and depleted her retirement fund.

Challenges in Identifying Scammers

When Shreya attempted to withdraw her funds, she was asked to pay a personal tax, which raised her suspicions. Further investigation conducted by the Datta family revealed that the photos of “Ancel” belonged to a German fitness influencer, thus exposing the scam.

The Growing Phenomenon of Romance Scams

According to the FBI’s Internet Complaint Center, in 2023, over 40,000 cases of romance scams related to cryptocurrencies were reported, resulting in losses exceeding $3.5 billion. Law enforcement agencies and dating platforms are grappling with an increasing number of such crimes, with victims often reluctant to report out of shame.

The Scale of the Threat

Statistical data points to a disturbing rise in romance scams, with the Federal Trade Commission sounding the alarm that hundreds of thousands of people fall victim to these crimes annually, resulting in billions of dollars in losses. Particularly, seniors are vulnerable to such scams, which often lead to significantly higher financial losses in this age group.