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Cyber Bites

DOJ Recovers $112m from Romance / Investment Scams

The Department of Justice announced it has seized virtual currency worth an estimated $112 million linked to Romance and Investment scams. They seized six virtual currency accounts that were being used to launder the ill-gotten gains.

The attackers would cultivate long-term relationships with victims they met online, typically on dating sites or social media. They would eventually entice the victim to make investments in fraudulent cryptocurrency trading platforms. The scammers created websites designed to look like legitimate trading platforms.

Once a victim made an initial “investment,” the platform was rigged to show substantial gains. Victims may even be encouraged to withdraw some of these initial “gains” to further build trust in the scheme. Once larger investments were made, the victims found they were unable to withdraw their funds.

“These particularly vicious frauds – where scammers carefully cultivate relationships with their victims over time – have devastated families and cost individuals their life savings.”

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr.

Justice Department Criminal Division

Romance / Investment Scam Safeguards

  • Never send money, trade, or invest per the advice of someone you have solely met online.

  • Do not disclose current financial status to unknown and untrusted individuals.

  • Do not provide banking information, Social Security Number, copies of your identification or passport, or any other sensitive information to anyone online or to a site you do not know is legitimate.

  • If an online investment or trading site is promoting unbelievable profits, it is most likely that—unbelievable.

  • Be cautious of individuals who claim to have exclusive investment opportunities and urge you to act fast.

Sources: Department of Justice, FBI

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