A Bloomberg investigative reporter has written a new book titled Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Rapid Rise and Incredible Decline. Bloomberg published an excerpt this week that begins with a reporter receiving a flirtatious text message from a woman named Vicky Ho regarding a scam called “Butchering Pigs.”
“Vicky’s random text hit almost exactly the wrong target. I’ve been researching crypto bubbles for over a year…”
A day later, Vicky revealed the price data for her true love language: Bitcoin. She started sending me charts. She predicted market fluctuations and she quickly told me that she had found a way to make 20% more profit. According to the screenshot she shared, that week alone she made $18,600 on one trade, $4,320 on another, and $3,600 on a third trade…she continued chatting for days without asking me to transfer money.I was supposed to be a landmark, but I had to work she To trick me…. Vicky sent me a link to download an app called ZBXS. The appearance was almost the same as other cryptocurrency exchange apps. At the top is a banner that reads “New Safe and Stable Trading Market”. Vicky then gave me some instructions. They bought a cryptocurrency using another cryptocurrency exchange app and transferred it to her ZBXS deposit address (her 42-character string of letters and numbers) on the blockchain. It was meant to…
In fact, people all over the world lost huge amounts of money due to this scam. A Boston project finance lawyer with terminal cancer handed over $2.5 million. A divorced mother of three in St. Louis was scammed out of $5 million. And all the victims I spoke with said they were told to use Tether, the same coin that Vicki recommended to me. At least $10 billion has been lost to crypto romance scams, said Rich Sanders, principal investigator at crypto tracking firm CipherBlade.
Most shocking is not the huge sums of money involved. I learned that the person posing as Vicky was most likely a human trafficking victim as well. Most of the “pig butchering” operations were orchestrated by Chinese gangs based in Cambodia and Myanmar. They will lure young people across Southeast Asia to emigrate with the promise of high-paying jobs in customer service and online gambling. And when the workers arrive, they will be caught and involved in a criminal case. Thousands of people have been tricked this way. Entire office towers are filled floor by floor with people sending spam messages 24 hours a day while being tortured and threatened with death.
With the help of an interpreter, I started video chatting with the fleeing people…
I heard that there were 6,000 prisoners of war like “Vicky Ho” in Chinatown alone.
Two of the workers interviewed “said they had seen workers killed.” Another employee said Tether was specifically used because “it’s safer. I’m afraid people will track us…because they can’t.”
What is the reporter’s conclusion? “It was difficult to understand how this slave complex could exist without cryptocurrencies.”