On 10 November 2022, Alvin Bragg, Manhattan District Attorney, announced that his office had frozen more than $1.3 million in cryptocurrency during a fraud investigation over the past 10 months.
The authority said: “We are returning that money to the victims of these schemes — while raising awareness to prevent future fraud.”
According to the announcement, The collected amount is now held in the DA’s account and is worth $200,000. In the past 10 months, all the investigators, prosecutors, blockchain analysis experts, and specialized cryptocurrency analysts located and froze more than 1.3 million stolen cryptocurrencies.
Scammers and cyber thieves conduct their illegal activities overseas, which is very difficult to reach for investigators, prosecutors, blockchain analysis experts, and specialized cryptocurrency analysts.
3 Targeted Victims
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office reported in the press release that there were 3 targeted victims from November 2021 to April 2022.
A victim lost $300,00 in November 2021 to the scammer. Scammers use a fake website that looks like a cryptocurrency trading platform, but the DA’s office can seize only $200,000 because all funds went to Turkey.
Another victim was found in the same month, a Manhattan-based business owner who lost more than $700,000 in a Nigeria-based fake investment scheme, and the DA office collected more than $200,000 from that.
The scammer also fooled the third victim; the scammer told her that he was a Federal Trade Commission investigator and tricked her into transferring cash into Bitcoin ATM. The victim deposited around $700,00 cash in the Bitcoin ATM.
“Other victims of this scam were also instructed to download and install remote computer access software that allowed the scammers access to their online bank accounts,” said the release.
DA office froze more than $900,000 from stolen cryptocurrency and cash in the investigation.
Types of scams that scammer use
It was found that romance scams, imposters, bitcoin ATMs, fake account balance screenshots, and remote desktop downloads have become increasingly popular. Pig Butchering is the most trending fraud or scam used by scammers.
In a Pig Butchering scam, scammers convince the victim to add money to the crypto account, which will grow fast in the minimum time. Pig Butchering start from social media platforms like Linkedin, Tinder, and many more.
Once the victim adds a large amount of money, the scammer will disappear with the funds.
Bragg said in his statement, “I urge everyone to share these common scams with their loved ones, particularly the older people in their lives, and report any such scams to our Cybercrime and Identity Theft Hotline at 212-335-9600.“