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Crypto Scammers’ New Target: Dating Apps

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Representation of the attempt to catfish someone with crypto.

Romance scams — the term for online scams that involve feigning romantic interest to gain a victim’s trust — have increased in the pandemic. So have crypto prices. That has made crypto a useful entry point for criminals looking to part v


The man from the dating app Hinge checked all of Tho Vu's boxes.

He was a boyishly handsome architect from China, staying in Maryland on a long-term assignment. They had never met in person — he was still waiting to get his Covid-19 booster shot, he said — but they had texted back and forth for months and she'd developed a serious crush. He called her his "little sweetheart," and told her that he was planning to take her to China to meet his family when the pandemic was over.

So when the man, who went by the name Ze Zhao, told Ms. Vu, who works in customer service for a security company, that he could help her make money by trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, she was intrigued.

"I'd heard a lot about crypto in the news," she said. "I'm a curious person, and he actually was very knowledgeable about the whole trading process."

But the man wasn't trying to help Ms. Vu invest her money. He was entrapping her in an increasingly popular type of financial scam, she said, one that combines the age-old allure of romance with the newer temptation of overnight cryptocurrency riches.

From The New York Times
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