I was scammed out of £80k in ‘pig butchering’ con – I feel idiotic for falling for it, I’m humiliated | The Sun
IT TOOK mere weeks for a single woman to have her life flipped upside down after she fell for a cruel dating scam, coined “pig butchering”.
The woman, from Sydney, last month matched with a profile on dating app, Tinder, and after exchanging some seemingly promising conversation, transferred their chat to WhatsApp, Nine reported.
It was there the man, who she had by this stage exchanged hundreds of messages with, convinced her to join him in trading cryptocurrency – a hobby he had on the side of his construction work.
Before the 44-year-old knew it, she was down a crippling $157,000 (around £80k) – the entirety of her life savings – and experiencing “humiliation, heaped upon humiliation”.
“I realise how idiotic I am now. I’m still trying to reconcile that I’ve actually done this to myself,” she told the publication.
The “pig butchering” scam, which is inspired by the idea of “fattening up” a victim before slaughter, originated in China and more recently has infiltrated Western countries.
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The woman said the profile seemed to belong to a real person because it had a “verified” tick from Tinder, and when the chat moved to WhatsApp, the number appeared to be Australian.
She ultimately trusted the profile enough to create an account on the legitimate crypto exchange site, CoinSpot, where she converted her money into digital currency, Tether.
She was then convinced to trade her currency on the platform MEXC, which is also a legitimate company but the site she was linked to, as she later discovered, was fake.
She told the publication it featured all the regular features she would expect, like having a customer service department, a rewards chart, and supposed “deals and profits” in her account.
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Her initial hesitancies were eased when the person showed how she could enter a small amount of cash then withdraw it immediately afterwards.
“After that, I just transferred everything – I was adding $10,000, $20,000 (£5,000, £10,000). I kept putting more in,” she told the publication.
Even her supposed date was contributing money to “boost” her profits, she thought, but her suspicions arose when they instructed her to withdraw everything because the “good trading period was over”.
To withdraw her money, she was told she needed to pay a $40,000 (£20,000) security deposit to unlock the cash but when she did, she was told she needed to pay double the amount again.
By that point, she had run out of money so “cleaned out” her redraw account and ended up asking a friend to borrow her $40,000 (£20,000) in what ended up being her biggest regret.
When she asked the person she was dating about the money, they acted equally as confused and eventually completely dropped off the face of the planet.
“We were both scrambling, as they had given us a deadline of three days … I was frantically trying to get a personal loan. I was unsuccessful, thank God.”
After realising she had been scammed, it didn’t take long before she found the photo being used by the scammer through an easy Google search.
Police had been unable to help because a trace of the person’s digital footprint revealed they were outside of Australia meaning local authorities were powerless to investigate.
The woman, who said she had been a stickler for the rules her whole life, was now in the process of applying for an increased loan on her mortgage to pay her friend back.
Having lost her savings, she said she was grateful to have not lost “everything”.
“I still have my property and I still have my super. But, with $157,000 (£80,000) gone, I won’t come back from this for years,” she said.
“It’s been bad on all fronts. I feel like I lost him, I lost my money, and I lost myself a bit.”
Tinder told news.com.au it was “saddened” to hear of the woman’s misfortunes.
“We’re saddened to hear of anyone who has fallen victim to a romance scam when seeking a real connection. We have a zero tolerance policy for this type of behaviour and are constantly investing in ways to keep users safe while they’re using Tinder – including a robust suite of safety features and in-app safety education, fraud detection technology, and working directly with law enforcement when needed,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“We strongly encourage users to report any suspicious behaviour to us directly so we are able to identify, stop, and remove these criminals. We can confirm that this profile was reported to us and has been banned from Tinder.
“We also encourage our users to read our Dating Safety Guide to learn more about the safety features on Tinder, including Photo Verification. We’ve recently strengthened our Photo Verification process by asking users to take a selfie video, a better way for them to prove who they are.
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“Now, if users want to get Photo Verified they will have to complete a series of video prompts. While no photo verification process is perfect, this helps Tinder keep those blue checkmarks more real. Photo Verified users can also ask their match to do the same before chatting, giving them more control over how they interact with others.”
This article was originally published on News.com.au and has been republished here with permisison.
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