US Justice Department Seizes Cryptocurrency Worth $112 Million – The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has seized cryptocurrency worth more than $112 million “linked to cryptocurrency investment scams.” Noting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Phoenix Division is investigating this case, the announcement details: “Seizure warrants for six virtual currency accounts were authorized by judges in the District of Arizona, the Central District of California, and the District of Idaho.”
“According to court documents, the virtual currency accounts were allegedly used to launder proceeds of various cryptocurrency confidence scams,” the DOJ said. The announcement describes “pig butchering” schemes where scammers often target victims through “social networking and online communications platforms, dating websites, and phone calls and text messages that are meant to appear to have been misdialed.”
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Scammers establish trust with their targets and then present the concept of cryptocurrency trading, convincing them to invest in fraudulent crypto schemes that ultimately channel the funds into accounts under the scammers’ control. The victims might observe initial profits and may even withdraw some of their earnings, which helps to gain their confidence. But, when they try to withdraw a substantial amount, they are unable to do so.
The scammers may demand additional funds for taxes or fees, offering access to the account as bait. This cycle persists until the victim exhausts their savings. According to the Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), investment fraud resulted in the most significant losses among all scams, amounting to $3.31 billion. The IC3 reported that fraudulent cryptocurrency investments surged by 183% from $907 million in 2021 to $2.57 billion in 2022.
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