Feds seize domains linked to crypto investment scam preying on New York’s Russian diaspora
2024-6-7 22:31:25 Author: therecord.media(查看原文) 阅读量:5 收藏

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office has seized 70 domains connected to a pig butchering scam that bilked members of the Russian diaspora out of millions through bogus cryptocurrency investments.

The office’s Virtual Currency Unit began receiving complaints in October 2023 from the borough’s Russian-speaking community, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. Investigators discovered a “shared narrative” that lured in victims, beginning with Facebook advertisements for cryptocurrency investments. Many of these advertisements included a deepfake video of Elon Musk encouraging people to invest.

The victims were eventually connected with a Russian-speaking “investment advisor” who helped them to set up accounts on fraudulent cryptocurrency trading platforms.

“After ‘investing’ for several weeks or months, the victims attempted to make a withdrawal but were locked out of their account or told they had to pay additional fees and taxes,” the DA’s office said. This pattern, of coercing victims into investing before abruptly ending interactions, is a hallmark of pig butchering scams

“It is believed that the sites originated from Russia and the scammers were speaking in Russian as a way to ingratiate themselves to the victims and build trust,” they said. “Because Russia is outside U.S. jurisdiction, recovering any stolen funds is extremely difficult and therefore, the DA’s Office strategy has been to disrupt the scam by taking control of the fake websites.”

More than 20 Brooklyn residents lost more than $1 million combined. Brooklyn has one of the largest Russian populations in the U.S., with an estimated 120,000 Russian speakers. Victims across the country, from Maryland to California, lost an additional $4 million — “believed to be just a fraction of the total financial damage caused in this scam,” Gonzalez added.

After seizing the domains, the DA’s office received calls from people who were still making investments on the platform but became aware of the scam due to the seizure notice. 

In May, Brian Lambert — assistant director of investigations at the Secret Service — called crypto-linked investment fraud “a clear and present threat to the financial infrastructure of the United States.”

Americans reported $3.96 billion in losses last year to the FBI connected to cryptocurrency investment fraud. 

On Thursday, New York Attorney General Letitia James released an alert to residents about another type of digital fraud — romance scams — warning: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”   

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文章来源: https://therecord.media/feds-seize-crypto-scam-domains-brooklyn