Did you know that Love Scams also occur within the trading niche? During Covid-19, Love Scams have become increasingly widespread in South-East Asia especially – to the point that scammers have even setup elaborate payment gateway solutions to accept various convenient modes of payment including payment via QR code, and the countries popular local top-up e-wallets. These scams exploit people’s emotions and trust for personal gain. These scams have started with crypto investment schemes, then forex trading schemes, and more recently, binary trading scams.
If you are new to love scams and “pig butchering scams”, scammers create false identities, establish connections, try to project they are rich and successful and manipulate victims to extract money or sensitive information. This is how they “fatten the pig”, or the trading account, and suddenly “butcher” them. Within the trading niche, scammers exploit individuals’ desires to make money through investments or trading-related activities, on the premise on being “more than a friend” who wants the victim to have more financial freedom.
This introduction explores the workings of love scams, shedding light on their tactics and how individuals can protect themselves from falling victim to these fraudulent practices.
Here’s how a love scam in the trading niche might work:
- Establishing a connection: Scammers may approach potential victims through online trading forums, investment groups, or social media platforms related to trading. Alternatively, these scammers are also known to contact via Internet Messaging systems like Whatsapp, Line, KakaoTalk and Telegram – where they would pretend to have messaged the wrong person, and then keep the conversation going. They will often do some research to find out the victim’s sexual orientation before striking, with profile pictures and timeline uploads of a “persona” of the opposite (or same gender – in the case of a LGBT victim) that the victim might take interest in.
- Building trust: Similar to traditional love scams, scammers work on building trust and establishing a personal connection with their victims. They may engage in lengthy conversations, sharing trading tips, success stories, or promising investment opportunities.
- Offering exclusive opportunities: Scammers lure victims by offering exclusive trading opportunities, promising high returns or insider trading tips. They may claim to have access to special trading software, secret strategies, or connections with influential people in the financial industry.
- Fake brokers websites made to look like the real McCoy: This could be on a domain that is a mis-spelling of the correct one, and if the victim asks questions, they would gaslight the victim with statements like “do you really think so badly of me? I care for you! I’m disappointed!” “I’ve been using this for 5 years!” (despite the domain age being just 3 months! haha!) “this special domain gives you trading bonus through my special arrangement for you”.
- Manipulating trades and funds: Instead of making legitimate trades or investments, the scammer may manipulate the victim’s trading account to create the illusion of profits or positive returns. They may fabricate screenshots or provide false trading statements to deceive the victim.
- Paying out initial withdrawals to build trust: The scammer will encourage the victim to initiate a first withdrawal of the profits to build trust. Maybe even more than once, this is after they have studied the trader’s psyche that they are likely to reinvest anyway.
- Requesting additional funds: As the scam progresses, the scammer may request additional funds to continue trading or to cover alleged losses. They may use emotional manipulation, promising even higher returns if the victim invests more money or claiming that additional funds are necessary to unlock profitable opportunities.
- Sudden blocks in withdrawal: There might be sudden “compliance checks” or they would falsely accuse the victim of committing some trade fraud that would invalidate the withdrawal, or miscalculation of bonus trading requirement that requires additional “withdrawal fee” or “settlement fee” to tally a “system error balance sheet” before funds can be paid out.
- Disappearing or cutting off contact: Once the scammer has obtained a significant amount of money from the victim or if the victim becomes suspicious and starts asking questions, the scammer may disappear or cut off contact. They may block the victim’s communication attempts and move on to target new victims.
To protect yourself from trading-related love scams, it is important to exercise caution and skepticism when interacting with individuals who promise extraordinary returns or exclusive trading opportunities. Always conduct thorough research, verify the legitimacy of individuals and trading platforms, and never invest money or provide account access to someone you have met online and cannot fully trust.
If they insist you deposit in a dodgy sounding trading platform, keep them honest by insisting you’ll rather deposit with a proven broker, and then pay them a commission on the trades they help you win via their “insider trading signals”.
Additionally, be wary of requests for additional funds and be sure to educate yourself about investment scams and fraudulent trading practices. Don’t hesitate to report to the authorities! Don’t get scammed and help to protect others too!
Invest Your Trading Money Yourself!
Always refuse sending money to these “love interests” for the purpose of funding your trading account.
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If you have been a victim or know someone who’s been victimized in this way, kindly comment below!