Valentine’s Day Under Attack


With 441 million active users at risk from financial predators and law enforcement grappling with the latest epidemic, a new company is ready to transform the landscape.

The Emergence of Crypto Predators in the Season of Love

Around Valentine’s Day, love fills not only the air but also the expansive reaches of the Internet. With 441 million active users vulnerable to relentless targeting by financial predators and with law enforcement struggling to contain the latest epidemic, a new company is poised to revolutionize the playing field.

Within the expansive realm of digital romance, despite its promise, lurks significant peril. As the realm of online affection expands and genuine connections remain elusive for millions worldwide, a darker undercurrent emerges.

A new breed of predators, often originating from outside the USA, aims to reshape this digital realm, abundant with hopeful hearts, into a fertile hunting ground for executing unprecedented scams. This may represent one of the largest looting operations, targeting unsuspecting individuals seeking connection in a post-COVID era.

As we shift focus from the digital dangers to the economic ramifications, it becomes evident that the fervor surrounding Valentine’s Day presents its own set of opportunities for exploitation, blending the vulnerabilities of the heart with those of the wallet.

On Valentine’s Day, the market anticipates billions of dollars worth of gifts to be purchased and exchanged. In the United States alone, total spending on Valentine’s Day this year is projected to reach US$26 billion.

However, the losses incurred through online dating scams, including instances like the pig butchering scam, amount to a staggering US$53 billion annually. A burgeoning market like this is always infested with people looking to exploit it, and the one built around romance and love is no exception.

Scammers have adapted to the evolving technologies surrounding them in an era dominated by AI, which many have yet to fully embrace. They adeptly discern potential victims based on their overall social behavior before launching their attacks.

Among their latest arsenal additions is Blockchain technology and its financial counterpart, cryptocurrencies, which they erroneously believe to be untraceable.

Here’s where Lionsgate Network steps in. With their specialized blockchain intelligence and cybersecurity team, they have the capability to trace the footsteps of stolen crypto and identify the individuals behind the wallets using state-of-the-art technology. This technology can also be utilized to intercept the crypto wallet holding their client funds.

Statistically speaking, the numbers around romance scams happening worldwide are mind-boggling. A report published by the Federal Trade Commission states that in 2022, close to 70,000 people were hit by romance scams, with reported losses reaching as high as US$2.6 billion in the US alone and 53 billion worldwide. Most of the cases are not reported due to shame and self-inflicted guilt.

An Organized Approach to Deception

What’s even more concerning is the level of sophistication employed by these romance scammers, which is evident in their approach and methodology.

According to Lionsgate’s study, these romance scammers usually come from a wealthy background and use affection as a manipulative tool. They propose an exceptional investment opportunity within the first week of the relationship. This tactic is part of their strategy in relationships that typically span three months.

The scammers target an average ‘harvest’ of US$300K and may go up to US$1 million if things work out in their favor. Predominantly of Asian descent, these financial predators are usually between 25-35 years old, and in three out of four cases, it’s women who target men.

While their scamming agendas and operational areas may vary, romance scammers primarily target platforms like Tinder and, with some also exploiting professional and social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

Moreover, these scammers not only entice their potential victims with the promise of high returns in crypto trading but also leverage cryptocurrency as a means to exploit individuals for their funds. This presents a unique challenge, as unlike fiat currency, crypto presents a formidable challenge in terms of tracing and blocking transactions, making it harder to recover lost funds.

survey shows that nearly one-fifth of these scammers tell their targeted victims that they can teach them how to invest, and, often, they pose themselves as successful crypto investors who know how things happen in this world.

Cryptocurrencies also emerged as the top payment method for romance scams in 2022, accounting for 34% of the total reported loss.

Bitcoin was the top cryptocurrency used by as many as 70% of those who were scammed, with Tether and Ether being the distant second and third.

So, what is it that makes people trust these scammers?

The real craftiness of crypto romance scammers lies in their ability to cultivate trust, according to Bezalel Eithan Raviv, the CEO of Lionsgate Network, one of the leading  blockchain intelligence agency out there:

Crypto romance scammers begin by establishing trust with potential victims through offering free tips, exploiting their desire for risk-free opportunities. After gaining trust, they capitalize on their perceived wealth and influence in investment circles, using romance to lure victims, sometimes even engaging in quick video calls to solidify trust. Subsequently, they lead unsuspecting crypto holders and investment enthusiasts into tutorials that ultimately serve as exercises in sending funds to crypto scammers.

Raviv’s expertise stems from his company’s focus on professional blockchain analysis and crypto recovery services for various clients, spanning private individuals, corporations, and governmental bodies. He has observed firsthand the deep anguish and financial loss endured by clients who fall victim to romantic scams.

“We aid our clients in achieving closure, both emotionally and financially.”

While teaching how and where to invest, romance scammers deploy a variety of baits. They make others sympathetic towards them by claiming that someone close to them has been hurt, sick, or is in jail. Often, they use proposed talks around marriage as a distraction while they maneuver to extort funds.

Additionally, these scammers may also make claims about sending some valuable packages, insisting that the potential victim sends some money to clear customs.

Tackling Crypto Romance Scams

There are straightforward but effective ways to identify a crypto romance scammer, according to Raviv:
“Anyone genuinely committed to a romantic relationship with you would never solicit financial assistance, whether in cryptocurrency or fiat, nor pressure you into trading with them. Such requests should raise significant concerns if encountered on a dating website or social media platform.”

It’s also true that being in a romantic relationship often makes people vulnerable, as they suffer from impaired judgment and are ready to believe everything that their partner asks for. In such cases, it is crucial one consults with others, family members, or friends who can be trusted beyond doubt.

Doing some research on the internet is also a good idea in nipping such risks in the bud. Being alert is all the more necessary because crypto romance scams are far more harm-inflicting than the run-of-mill investment scams we often hear around us.

Lionsgate Network has a team of experts specialized in helping crypto romance scam victims recover their stolen funds. A band of tech-savvy financial analysts helps reach the bottom of these scams by monitoring a host of digital spaces, including social media platforms, emails, crypto wallets, and more. Lionsgate can combat romance scams like Catfishing, pig butchering, fake military, blackmail, and money muling with confidentiality, integrity, and transparency.

Remaining Vigilant

Romance scammers take advantage of the fact that they get to invade their victims’ online personal space. Romance scammers who ask for private pictures often go for sextortion, instances of which have increased eightfold between 2019 and 2023.

While it sounds romantic to say that love is blind, one must not become oblivious to the world around them and how fraudsters are always active in duping innocents and those who care about others.

As Cupid shoots his arrows, remember some arrows might just be phishing hooks in disguise. Stay sharp, keep your wits about you, and even if you lose your head, remember that there’s always hope for recovery.

If you’ve been affected by a crypto scam, you are entitled to a case evaluation.

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