Got A Tip?

Star Seeker

True Crime

Tinder Swindler 2.0? Woman Scammed Out Of $450,000 By Man She Connected With On Hinge!

Tinder Swindler 2.0? Woman Scammed Out Of $450,000 By Man She Connected With On Hinge!

Oh no! There’s ANOTHER scammer loose on dating apps!

An executive was just scammed out of an astounding $450,000 after falling victim to a new scheme known as “pig butchering.” Speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer on Wednesday, Shreya Datta revealed she met a French wine trader named “Ancel Mali,” who used an image of a German fitness influencer, on Hinge. He claimed he’d been living in West Philly for several years, where she was located and earning six figures at a multinational tech company. Better yet, he wanted to focus all his attention on her, which she was excited about at the time.

After talking harmlessly on the app beginning in January, they moved their conversation to WhatsApp. Ancel always came up with an excuse not to meet in person (such as claiming he had a business trip in San Francisco), but they did video chat twice. Unfortunately, he claimed he was shy and didn’t let the camera linger on his face, showing off his dog instead. Red flag!

Related: Armie Hammer’s Exes Compare Him To Netflix’s Tinder Swindler!

Looking back, Datta says she was “in a trance” and didn’t think too much about the strange aspects of their connection. Feeling like she had “a hole in my soul for not having a man in my life,” she noted:

“I was in a trance. It’s like my psychology was hacked.”

Describing herself as a “romantic” who had some bad luck with love and was recently divorced, Shreya said she was lured in by Ancel’s devotion to her after months of swiping on dating platforms. But eventually, their conversations turned toward money, and that’s when it got problematic. Ancel began discussing his dreams of achieving “wealth freedom” through cryptocurrencies. In a message read by the outlet, he wrote her:

“So that I don’t have to work all my life, and I can have more time to accompany my lover to travel around the world, leaving footprints of our love in every corner of the world.”

Taking his advice, Shreya decided to download a crypto trading app through a link he sent her (it looked nearly identical to SoFi’s crypto trading app). The 37-year-old first put in $1,000 of her savings via the exchange platform Coinbase. It quickly increased to $1,250, which she was able to withdraw. She then invested $6,000 which grew to $9,000. At this point, her hoax Hinge date told her to put even more money in if she wanted to see better profit — and he urged her to sell her stocks and take out personal loans to do so! He also loaned her $150,000.

Shreya ran into some hiccups trying to tap into her 401k when it sparked questions at work. Ancel snapped:

“Why can’t you control your own money?”

She eventually liquidated her retirement fund and invested $450,000 into the fake app at the end of March. The app claimed her money more than doubled, but when she tried to withdraw it, she received a message saying she’d have to pay a 10 percent personal income tax. Traditionally with this time of scheme, this acts as the con man’s one last effort of getting a lump sum of money from the victim before they realize they’ve been scammed and can’t access any of their funds. Worried she’d been tricked, Shreya called her brother, a lawyer in London, and he hired a personal investigator who discovered the account was fraudulent. Coinbase also froze her account after the scam, writing in an email that the company was “concerned” she had sent money to a “fraudulent investment platform.”

She filed reports with the FBI but has yet to receive any of her money back. Thankfully, her family has bailed her out of the debt for the time being. Still, when she spoke with Philadelphia Inquirer‘s journalist last month, she was making arrangements to move to a cheaper apartment and sell her car, all while battling shame and self-loathing as a result of the scandal. Discussing the situation, the businesswoman expressed:

“Sometimes I’m like, ‘It’s just money.’ Some days I’m like, ‘I should just cry.’”

Oof. So sad.

Related: Woman Arrested In Kim Kardashian Lookalike’s Suspicious Death!

If you’ve never heard of “pig butchering” before, it’s actually an increasing problem! Just like what happened to this poor woman, victims are essentially “fattened up” with fake romantic relationships before being butchered by fraud. FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center has revealed cryptocurrency scams are the fastest-growing type of investment fraud with $2.57 billion in losses reported last year. That’s THREE times more than in 2021! Also, per the IC3 report, more than 800 people in Pennsylvania, where Shreya is from, reported being victimized by cryptocurrency scams last year. Jeez.

There is a small silver lining for some victims. Last month, the Department of Justice announced it recovered $112 million worth of virtual currency linked to “pig butchering,” but obviously, that’s hardly scraping the surface of all that’s been lost.

A report by Vice News and the South China Morning Post last year found that operations are allegedly run by criminal syndicates in Cambodia. The thousands of workers who are employed in the scam are reportedly enslaved and abused, often having been lured there with the promise of a legitimate job. They are reportedly given scripts tailed to each victim. Whoa. You can read more about Shreya’s story, including more text messages from Ancel, HERE.

Let this be a very important reminder to stay vigilant when on dating apps and social media! There is so much nefarious stuff going down on the internet. Stay safe out there, y’all!

[Image via Netflix]

Related Posts

May 12, 2023 08:16am PDT