CINCINNATI — The IRS is warning Americans of a new type of romance scam.
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It’s called ‘pig butchering.’
“Cryptocurrency scammers have become more sophisticated with their schemes,” said Jim Lee, Criminal Investigation (CI) Chief. “It’s a shame to watch people hopelessly invest their savings in crypto and earn returns on their deposits – to never see the money again.”
This is when strangers use social media to lure romantic partners to invest in cryptocurrency trading platforms and then steal money, the IRS said.
Americans have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars with these scams, the highest being $2 million.
If anyone meets someone on a dating website or app and they push you to invest in crypto, it is likely a scam, according to the IRS.
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People should be aware of these red flags:
- A long-lost contact or stranger sends you a message on social media.
- You are urged to send money to an investment platform that is similar but does not match the platform’s official website address. This is called typo-squatting.
- You have an online romantic interest who asks you to send payment to them or an investment platform in cryptocurrency.
- You embark on an online romantic relationship, and your love interest guarantees profits or big returns if you invest with them.
- A romantic interest reaches out to you through an online messaging application like WhatsApp with account numbers so you can transfer funds.
This is part of International Fraud Awareness Week taking place now until November 18 by the IRS CI. They are warning taxpayers, “Don’t get butchered.”