NJ Residents Beware of “Pig Butchering” Scams
The New Jersey Bureau of Securities has ordered three website operators to stop offering fraudulent cryptocurrency investments in violation of the state's Securities Law, according to Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. The operators, Meta Capitals Limited, Cresttrademining Limited, and Forex Market Trade, were found to have engaged in fraud by misrepresenting fees, omitting material facts to potential investors, and posting fake testimonials.
Pig butchering scams, a type of cryptocurrency and romance scam, have become increasingly popular in the US, with an estimated $429 million in losses reported in 2021. In this scam, fraudsters use social media to gain the trust of their victims and lure them into phony investment schemes. In these cases, victims were defrauded of over $100,000 in total.
“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,” said Amy Kopleton, Chief of the Bureau of Securities. “This makes social media sites appealing to scammers as they know it is easier to scam someone who thinks they are in a relationship. To try to prevent New Jersey residents from becoming victims, the Bureau is raising public awareness of these schemes and educating investors on how to avoid scams.”
To avoid falling victim to these scams, the Bureau urges residents to be cautious of unsolicited messages, investments promising high returns with no risk, platforms, and domain names impersonating legitimate financial institutions, and rushed investment decisions. The Bureau also recommends verifying the identity of anyone offering an investment and researching the investment before investing.
“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,” said Attorney General Platkin. “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 cyberspace.”
The Bureau is dedicated to protecting investors from investment fraud and regulating the securities industry in New Jersey. Investors can check any financial professional's registration status and disciplinary history by contacting the Bureau or visiting their website. Supervising Investigator Rachel Glasgow and Investigator Meryl Griff Hubscher handled the Bureau's investigation.