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Crypto Heartbreak: The $450,000 Romance Scam That Left a Indian Tech Pro in Debt

Monday, February 26, 2024 • Tamil Comments
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A conman targeted Philadelphia-based tech professional Shreya Datta, 37, in a cryptocurrency romance scam, resulting in her loss of $450,000 in savings and retirement money. The scam is one in which true love and emotion are used to target others to move into making a fake cryptocurrency investment—they call it "pig butchering."

Datta's experience on the dating website Hinge Hinge began with a meeting with "Ancel," a French wine trader based in Philadelphia. Soon, their chats moved over to WhatsApp; "Ancel" bombarded her with so much attention and love that he also delivered a bouquet at her place during Valentine's week. He sold her a dream of early retirement and achieving financial freedom through cryptocurrency trading.

Datta invested her savings and retirement money in cryptocurrency on an American exchange, as well as on a fake trading application that "Ancel" advised her on. Firstly, the application allowed her to withdraw her profit, and that is what gave her confidence to invest more. But when she tried to get her profits back, the application demanded her "personal "tax," and the truth hit her.

The scam traumatized Datta, who had symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, including insomnia and loss of appetite. She contacted the FBI and the Secret Service, but she has little hope her money will be returned. The public scrutiny and stigma attached to the ordeal have also not helped either, with many asking how it happened to her.

Datta's case graphically demonstrates how crypto is growing massively menacing as far as romance cons are concerned, with the hapless side not only facing financial but emotional wreckage. The FBI reported that more than 40,000 individuals revealed in 2022 that they had lost $3.5 billion or more to all sorts of cryptocurrency scams. But it's likely that such figures understate the actual victims.

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