The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned that Americans are increasingly targeted in cryptocurrency investment schemes, specifically ‘pig butchering’ scams, which have resulted in over $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency lost to cyber criminals last year.
The fraudsters approach victims via dating platforms, messaging apps, or social media platforms to build trust and introduce them to an investment scheme that will eventually allow them to empty the targets’ crypto wallets.
These scams have become increasingly sophisticated and use psychological manipulation to lure victims into parting with their money.
The FBI revealed in its annual Internet Crime Report that Americans lost over $3 billion to investment fraud in 2022, with cryptocurrency investment fraud rising from $907 million in 2021 to $2.57 billion in 2022, an increase of 183%.
The FBI cautions that victims are unable to get their money back, even if they pay the imposed fees or taxes.
At the same time, FBI shared tips on how potential targets can defend themselves against cryptocurrency investment scams, including not releasing any financial or personal identifying information, not investing per the advice of someone you meet solely online, and confirming the validity of any investment opportunity or cryptocurrency investment website or app.
This is not the first warning regarding ‘pig butchering’ schemes issued by the agency.
In October, the FBI cautioned of a rise in scams stealing ever-increasing amounts of cryptocurrency from unsuspecting investors.
The FBI’s previous alerts also warned of scammers using fraudulent investment apps and fake rewards in so-called “play-to-earn” games to steal millions in cryptocurrency from investors.
With the rise in cryptocurrency investment scams, it is important for individuals to be vigilant and cautious, especially when dealing with unknown individuals online.