US Feds Slaughter Pig Butchering Cryptocurrency Scam By Seizing Shady Domains

This week, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the seizure of seven domain names that cybercriminals used to carry out a cryptocurrency scam. The scam in question is known as a “pig butchering” scheme, as the scammers metaphorically led their victims to the slaughter. In these sorts of schemes, the scammers meet their victims online, then slowly build up trust over time by developing phony relationships. Once the scammers determine that their victims are sufficiently trusting of them, the scammers begin to introduce the idea of taking some sort of action. In this case, the scammers persuaded their victims to make business investments in cryptocurrency.

Similar to phishing campaigns, the scammers purchased domain names that could be mistaken for the domain name of a legitimate website. The seven spoofed domains used by the scammers resembled the domain of the Singapore International Monetary Exchange. The scammers then set up fraudulent cryptocurrency investment platforms located at these domains.

department of justice pig butchering cryptocurency scam news
Once their victims showed sufficient interest in investing in cryptocurrency, the scammers directed the victims to these fraudulent websites. Since the victims had come to trust the scammers, the victims were likely less scrutinizing of the domain names and websites than they might have been had they simply received messages out of the blue directing them to these websites. The scammers abused this trust to convince the victims that they had the chance to partake in a legitimate cryptocurrency investment opportunity.

Following the scammers’ lead, the victims transferred cryptocurrency to wallet addresses listed on the fraudulent websites, at which point the scammers went dark. The scammers immediately transferred the funds through a series of private wallets and swapping services in an attempt to obscure the trail of cryptocurrency leading from the initial deposit addresses to their final destination. According to the DOJ, at least five victims fell for this scheme, and the scammers made off with over $10 million in total. However, the press release asks that anyone else who may have been a victim of this scheme contact the Secret Service at CryptoFraud@SecretService.gov.