Florida’s CFO warns of ‘pig butchering’ cryptocurrency scam

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis says this is a new form of a romance scam

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) (Rick Bowmer, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis on Wednesday warned of a cryptocurrency scam known as “pig butchering” or ”pig slaughtering.”

As part of the scam, according to Patronis, people are enticed to put more and more money into a fake cryptocurrency investment scheme only to “fatten them up” before a scammer disappears with vast sums of their cryptocurrency.

Patronis said this scam is reportedly most often carried out on dating sites and on social media as a new form of a romance scam.

“In Florida, we embrace emerging technology and innovation, but consumers must always stay on guard for scams especially as new financial products like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies become increasingly popular. Reports say cryptocurrency scams have bilked millions out of unsuspecting crypto investors; many of which were scammed through online dating apps over the course of several months,” Patronis said. “Just like with any major financial decision, consumers should do research and never transfer funds to someone you think is suspicious, untrustworthy, and whose identity you haven’t verified. You may as well kiss your money goodbye.”

If you feel you have been the victim of a scam, you’re urged to report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com.

“Always remember, if an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it is,” Patronis said.

Here are three tips from the Federal Trade Commission to avoid cryptocurrency scams:

  • Only scammers demand payment in cryptocurrency. No legitimate business is going to demand that you send cryptocurrency in advance — not to buy something, and not to protect your money.
  • Only scammers will guarantee profits or big returns. Don’t trust people who promise you can quickly and easily make money in the crypto markets.
  • Never mix online dating and investment advice. If you meet someone on a dating site or app, and they want to show you how to invest in crypto or ask you to send them crypto, that’s a scam.

For more advice on how to avoid cryptocurrency scams, click here.