One woman from Tennessee thought she met someone special, bonding over a shared culture, and he has her invest $390K in cryptocurrency. The only problem is, it wasn’t real. She wasn’t really getting the incredible returns it showed on the bogus app. It was all a lie.
A Tennessee woman loses her mother and wants to start a new life for herself in California. She and her father decided to sell her mother’s house and split the proceeds, but her new love interest has other things in mind for her inheritance money.
A Big Move After Tennessee Woman’s Mother Dies
CBS News reported that 24-year-old Nicole Hutchison wanted to start fresh with a move to California after her mother died. She and her father agreed to split the proceeds from selling her mother’s house. She was inheriting roughly $280,000 from the house sale, and this money was going to fund her new life in CA until she fell for a man with a hidden agenda. (Source: CBS News)
Nicole Meets Hao on Hinge Dating Website
It all started when Nicole meets a man on a dating website called Hinge.
The New York Times reported Nicole Hutchison was visiting a friend in California when she matched with a man named Hao that claimed to be working nearby in the clothing business.
They shared something in common: He shared he was from the same town in China where Nicole was adopted before she was brought to the U.S.
They continued to text over Whatsapp after she returned home to Tennessee. Hao started calling Nicole his sister, and she said he was her “long lost brother.” She got the impression he was shy after trying to video chat when he only partially showed his face and hung up the video call abruptly. (Source: The New York Times)
He shared with her that his interests were “swimming, fitness, trying different kinds of food, traveling to different countries, cooking” and “cryptocurrency.” Nicole didn’t know anything about investing or cryptocurrency. Hao assured her that he was an expert in it, and suggested she invest in it also.
When he found out about the money she inherited from her mother’s house, he continue to encourage her to invest in cryptocurrency.
He said in a text:
“I want to teach you to invest in cryptocurrency when you are free, bring some changes to your life and bring an extra income to your life.” -Hao, Man from Dating website, Hinge (Source: The New York Times)
She tells him:
“I’m like, ‘I’ve never invested in my life.’ I don’t know anything about cryptocurrency either. So I was very skeptical.” -Nicole Hutchison, scam victim (Source: CBS News)
He reassures her, “If you want to invest in cryptocurrency, I can teach you. This is my field. I can be your teacher.”
Nicole Opened an Account on Crypto.com
Hao continued to push Nicole to invest in cryptocurrency and to get started by creating an account on Crypto.com.
She gave in and opened an account.
He then sent her a link to transfer her money from Crtypo.com to a new link, which he claimed was a cryptocurrency exchange platform. This is the point where the scam began when her money moved from the real cryptocurrency exchange into the scammer’s crypto account.
He showed her the bogus crypto investing platform and all of the money she was “earning” from investing in cryptocurrency. She believed she was earning so much money, so she convinced her father, Melvin, to also invest his money.
“He just kept saying things of, like, ‘Look at this money that can help support your family.’ Obviously that’s what I wanted to do.” -Nicole Hutchison, scam victim (Source: CBS News)
It appeared that she was earning money so easily, that all of her savings went into the fake crypto site. Then, when she had put in all of her money, she took out a loan to continue investing more.
“You hear all these stories about people becoming millionaires,” she said. “It just felt like, oh, well, cryptocurrency’s the new trend, and I need to get in.” -Nicole Hutchison, scam victim (Source: The New York Times)
CBS News reported, “By December, their accounts showed a combined balance of $1.2 million, and Hutchinson decided it was time to cash out. That’s when the site told her before she could withdraw her money, she would have to pay a hefty ‘tax bill’ of roughly $380,000.”
Soon after learning about the large tax bill to withdraw her money, Nicole realized that it was all a scam. The tax bill was only a lie to get more money from the victim.
Her investments weren’t real. She and her father’s investment money was given to the scammers, and she came to the truth of the matter that she had been scammed.
In this scam known as “pig butchering,” Nicole and Melvin Hutchison lost a total of $390,000.
“I messed up my life. I messed up my dad’s life…I think he really played off that I was naive and not knowing anything about crypto, and taking that and running with it.” -Nicole Hutchison, scam victim (Source: CBS News)
Her father tried to comfort her. He said:
“All I could do was just hug her and tell her ‘It’s okay. It’s okay.’ And it was hard. It was hard. It was, we lost everything,” Melvin Hutchinson, father of scam victim (Source: CBS News)
A professional investigator looked at Nicole Hutchison’s evidence and believes that the scammers, in this case, are organized criminals operating from Asia.
As a result of the financial losses, Nicole moved into an RV with her father, Melvin, and has learned an important life lesson after losing it all.
Always be cautious about taking investment advice from strangers met on dating websites. They might be trying to scam you.
Help inform friends and family about this scam by sharing this information. It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest scams, so we can prevent them from happening to others.
Knappenberger, Brooke. “I thought I met a great guy on Hinge — then he scammed me and took my life’s savings, forcing me to live in a trailer.” The Sun. 1 March 2022.
Roose, Kevin. “Crypto Scammers’ New Target: Dating Apps.” The New York Times. 21 February 2022.
Werner, Anna. “Woman loses $390,000 in online crypto dating scam: ‘I messed up my life’.” CBS News. 22 February 2022.