How this romance scammer stole 300K worth of Bitcoin from a lady

A cybercriminal stole the life savings of a 33-year-old woman after scamming her through a dating app. According to the report, the attacker used the Hinge app to contact the victim, convincing her to use her money in a fake cryptocurrency investment.

The individual claimed to be an architect of Chinese descent who resided in Maryland. Both began interacting in Hinge, without proposing an in-person meeting due to COVID-19 restrictions; after a few months, the scammer started talking about issues related to virtual assets.

After assuring her victim that these investments were highly profitable and a profit like that would allow them to do many things together, the scammer convinced her to give him more than $300,000 USD Bitcoin, sent to a cryptocurrency address allegedly linked to the Hong Kong-based exchange OSL.

Actually, the woman was sending the assets to a cryptocurrency wallet controlled by the scammer, who disappeared shortly after receiving the money. 

These kinds of reports become more common as the popularity of cryptocurrencies and investment opportunities grows. A report by security firm Chainalysis notes that cryptocurrency-related crimes increased by 80% during 2021, which has even led the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to create a special unit dedicated to investigating and combating crimes related to virtual assets.

In this specific case, cryptocurrency fraud was combined with a romance scam, a type of attack in which victims are contacted by online strangers with false romantic intentions. According to U.S. authorities, some 1,800 people were victims of romance scams over the past few months, incidents that resulted in losses of up to $133 million USD.

In this regard, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) points out that, regardless of the tactics used by romantic scammers, their goal will always be to ask for money transfers from victims, so it is best to try to avoid interactions with strangers who request money through social networks, dating apps or any other means.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.