New Jersey Regulators Issue Cease And Desist Orders Against 3 Crypto Sites Over Scams

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Key takeaways:

  • Before persuading people to engage in their shady cryptocurrency investment schemes, these cybercriminals approach love-struck users of dating apps like Tinder.
  • For 2022, no statistics have yet been made available.

Three website owners have been told to stop luring victims into their shady bitcoin investment schemes by the New Jersey Bureau of Securities.

According to a press release from Matthew Platkin, the attorney general of New Jersey, Meta Capitals Limited, Cresttrademining Limited, and Forex Market Trade were the three companies targeted by the cease and desist orders.

All three businesses presented themselves as cryptocurrency trading platforms, where they would persuade customers to mimic the transactions of their “expert traders” to profit greatly. These businesses attract victims using the “pig slaughter” fraud to approach potential lovers on dating apps like Tinder.

A scam known as “pig butchering” involves cybercriminals contacting victims over social media, starting a romantic relationship with them, and then using that trust to trick them into investing in a phony bitcoin investment plan. Platkin stated that they are making a lot of effort to safeguard New Jersey people who are being drawn into the investment scam:

“These scammers build up a sense of comradery between them and their victim—all to squeeze every cent they possibly can out of these people with promises of huge returns on investments. We are working around the clock to protect the victims of these types of scams and to show these scammers our laws still apply in cyber space,”

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that approximately 4,300 victims lost $429 million to pig butcher scams in 2021, which prompted the crackdown. For 2022, no statistics have yet been made available.

The director of the Bureau of Securities, Amy Kopleton, claimed that the reason the pig butcher hoax works so effectively for con artists is that their intended victims are already in a precarious situation:

“Even the savviest of investors can have a hard time recognizing fraud when it’s being perpetrated by someone for whom they have a romantic interest.”

The cease and desist orders were issued to the corporations after it was determined that they had offered and sold unregistered securities in violation of New Jersey securities laws. Additionally, it was discovered that Meta Capitals Limited and Cresttrademining Limited were acting as unlicensed broker-dealers.

According to an investigation published on January 29, about half of the 168 forex companies that the United Kingdom Bureau of Investigative Journalism assessed to be participating in fraudulent activities had ties to frauds resembling pig slaughtering.

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