A 24-year-old woman in Tennessee, which is a state situated in the USA, lost a massive sum of $300,000 after falling into a crypto scam on a dating app.
Niki Hutchinson, who is a social media producer, had inherited this handsome amount from the sale of her childhood home after her mother’s death. But now she has lost it all after she fell for a crypto romance scam last year.
How The Scam Happened
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Niki was visiting a friend in California last year when she matched on Hinge, a dating app, with a man whose name was Haoas per dailymail. Hao had reportedly told her that he was living nearby and that he worked in the clothing business.
Niki and Hao kept on exchanging messages on WhatsApp for more than a month even after she had returned to her home in Tennessee.
However, amidst all this, little did Niki know that she was going to become the victim of a new type of fraud – crypto romance scams.
When Niki told Hao that she had just inherited nearly $300,000, he suggested her to invest it in cryptocurrency.
‘I want to teach you to invest in cryptocurrency when you are free, bring some changes to your life and bring an extra income to your life,’ Hao had once texted Niki, according to a screenshot of the exchange obtained by the NewYorkTimes.
Ultimately, Niki agreed to Hao’s suggestion and sent a small amount of crypto to a wallet address that he had provided to her, which he said was affiliated with an account on a crypto exchange called ICAC. Then, after her money from her had successfully appeared on ICAC’s website, she went ahead to send more.
Niki was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of making money through Hao’s advice and hence, eventually, she took out a loan to keep on investing after making the call to dump her entire savings on the crypto trading platform.
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The Red Flags
It was in December 2021 when Niki began to see red flags after being unable to withdraw money from her account. Then a customer service agent for ICAC informed her that her account would remain frozen unless she paid her taxes, which was in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Coincidentally, Niki’s habit of texting Hao on a regular basis had ceased by that time. Even in their earlier video chat, the man had only partly shown his face and hung up quickly.
And as Niki’s suspicion grew, she realized how long she had been led on for.
she told NewYorkTimes “I was like, oh, God, what have I done?”
Now, Niki Hutchinson is trying to play catch up while living with her father. She is also reportedly corresponding with authorities in Florida to pursue her scammer of her.
However, she isn’t the only one to have experienced fraud last year.
Nearly 56,000 romance scams, adding up to a whopping $547 million in losses, were reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2021according to agency data.
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