The foreign exchange transaction app known as MetaTrader has been removed from the Apple App Store although it still is available at the Google Play store.  The app has been used in the scam known as “pig butchering.”  I first described pig butchering to you in the Scam of the day for January 5, 2022

The FBI has issued a warning about a new trend in romance scams in which the scammer tells his victim that he or she has inside knowledge about cryptocurrency investing and directs the victim to a phony website that purports to be a legitimate cryptocurrency trading site.  Not long after “investing” in the cryptocurrencies provided, the victim soon finds that there is no investment and that she or he has lost all of the invested money.  This scam originated in China in 2019 and is called sha zhu pan or pig butchering in English.  The name is derived from the practice of luring in victims, “fattening them up” by convincing them to continually “invest” more money and then stealing all of the money.

The scammers initially contact their victims on dating or social media apps and pretend to develop a close relationship.  After a while the scammer informs the targeted victim that he or she is making a lot of money investing in cryptocurrencies and suggests the victim download and use a cryptocurrency app used by the scammer.  Generally, the victims are lured into investing more and more money by what appears to be both dramatic increases in the value of their account and their ability to withdraw some of their profits.  However, once the victim has been persuaded to invest larger and larger sums of money, the scammers steal the money and the victim is left with nothing.

MetaTrader can be used for legitimate trading, but the creators of MetaTrader also allow people licensing the software to use a plug-in called Virtual Dealer which scammers use to manipulate prices, account balances, profits and losses


It is important to remember that you should never  invest in something that you do not completely understand.  This was a mistake that many of Bernie Madoff’s victims made. Cryptocurrency scams quite often involve complicated language and investment terms that is purposefully unclear in an effort to confuse potential investors from understanding the real facts. You also may want to check out the SEC’s investor education website at  Scammers can be very convincing and it may sound like there is a great opportunity for someone to make some money, but you must be careful that the person making money is not the scam artist taking yours.

Also, the apps used in the pig butchering scam may appear to be legitimate, but they are not found on official app platforms such as Google Play or the Apple App Store.  In this case while the compromised app has been removed from the Apple App Store, it still presently can be found on the Google Play store  Do your homework before investing in cryptocurrencies and only do business with well established cryptocurrency exchanges.  Never invest merely because of the recommendation of someone you may have met online.

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