In this episode TRM's Ari Redbord sat down with Santa Clara Prosecutor Erin West of the REACT Task Force at ACAMS in Las Vegas. Erin, the conference's keynote speaker, discussed her journey and why she has a laser focus on rooting out "pig butchering."
In pig butchering, also-known-as "romance scams," scammers encounter victims on dating sites, social media websites, or even through random texts masquerading as a wrong number. Scammers initiate relationships with victims and slowly gain their trust, eventually introducing the idea of making a business investment using cryptocurrency. Victims are persuaded to invest money and once the money is sent to the fake investment app, the scammer vanishes with all the victim’s money. The term “pig butchering” comes from the idea of “fattening” up the victim as much as possible before stealing the money. These cases often involve victims who have lost their life savings, leaving the victims devastated and desperate for help.
The most recent FBI internet crime report states it received more than 30,000 complaints of cryptocurrency investment fraud, with total losses rising from $907 million in 2021 to $2.57 billion in 2022, an increase of 183 percent.
In this episode, Erin discusses the scourge of pig butchering and how she is leveraging blockchain intelligence to counter the threat including through the Tracer Fellowship program, a partnership with TRM Labs and her Crypto Coalition, through which TRM is offering a 12-month fellowship program which will award a select number of active law enforcement investigators free active to TRM's platform.
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