US moves to recover $2.3 million from “pig butchers” on Binance


The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) is recovering $2.3 million worth of cryptocurrency linked to a “pig butchering” fraud scheme that victimized at least 37 people across the United States.

Pig butchering is a social engineering scam where fraudsters contact people (the “Pigs”) on social media and messaging platforms to build trust. 

They eventually trick the person depositing cryptocurrency into fake investment sites, where the victim is deceived into believing they are making profitable investments on bogus platforms that present fake investment returns.

However, instead of deposits being invested, they go straight into the scammer’s pocket (the ‘butchering’), and victims are merely given a virtual balance, extending the deception for as long as possible.

Pig butchering scams usually start as romance scams, in which the malicious actor builds a trusting relationship with the victim before introducing them to a cryptocurrency investment scheme.

$2.3 million in crypto recovered

While investigating a 2023 pig butchering scheme targeting a Massachusetts resident who lost $400,000, law enforcement investigators traced the fund transmissions to two Binance wallets holding approximately $2,300,000 in crypto.

Further investigations revealed that the additional funds were linked to 36 people from across the country who had also fallen victim to various fraud schemes by the same threat actor.

In January 2024, following the mentioned investigations, the authorities used a civil forfeiture action to recover the following amounts from the two Binance accounts:

  • 299,457 USD Coin (USDC)
  • 1,455,305 Tether (USDT)
  • 102,278 Tron (TRX)
  • 3,032 Solana (SOL)
  • 67 Binance Coin (BNB)
  • 13,703 Cardano (ADA)
  • 0.5 Ether (ETH)

On average, each victim lost over $62,000, which shows how damaging and profitable these scams may be and why cybercriminals are willing to invest a lot of time preparing for each target.

Last year, the FBI warned about pig butchering cryptocurrency investment schemes becoming more frequent, costing victims in the U.S. over $2 billion annually.

To prevent this from happening to you, always confirm the authenticity of investment platforms independently, and never trust someone you only interact with online.

If you have already invested funds in what appears to be a scam platform, do not pay any additional amounts disguised as “withdrawal fees” or services that claim the capability to recover the lost funds, as this will only lead to further losses.

If you believe scammers might have targeted you, contact the authorities at “[email protected]” and provide all relevant details.

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