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A Carefully Orchestrated $450,000 Cryptocurrency Romance Scam: When Love Goes Awry

A Philadelphia woman fell victim to a meticulously planned $450,000 cryptocurrency romance scam. Love scams, also known as “romance fraud,” are unfortunately no longer novel occurrences. Yet, it seems that many individuals still become unwitting sacrifices for various reasons. Recently, a divorced woman in Philadelphia found herself ensnared in one such fraudulent scheme, resulting in a staggering loss of nearly $450,000.

Shreya Datta, a tech professional, became one of the latest victims of the cryptocurrency romance scam. According to her account, she encountered a man named “Ancel” on the Hinge dating app. Initially, nothing seemed amiss, as Ancel’s talents and apparent success as a French wine merchant left a deep impression on her.

As their conversations grew more intimate, the potential criminal orchestrated exchanges via WhatsApp. Even while exchanging selfies and personal information, the pretense of love continued.

Video calls further cemented Datta’s trust in Ancel. However, any attempts to meet in person were perpetually thwarted by Ancel’s seemingly credible excuses.

During this process, the 37-year-old tech professional was lured into investing in a cryptocurrency trading app by Ancel. The app even boasted two-factor authentication, lending an air of legitimacy.

Datta succumbed to the promise of financial gains from the app and decided to convert her savings into cryptocurrency via Coinbase. Her initial transactions on the app yielded profits, and she withdrew some earnings.

Buoyed by the taste of success from her initial trades, Datta poured more funds into the app, hoping to further boost her income. She even applied for a $450,000 loan to finance her trading endeavors. Now, things took a darker turn.

As Datta’s earnings multiplied within the app, she attempted to withdraw funds. However, she was blocked from doing so, as it required her to submit “personal taxes.”

Finally recognizing the danger signals, Datta sought her brother’s help to investigate the elusive Ancel. Through reverse image searches, they discovered the true identity of the fitness enthusiast she believed she was conversing with—neither Ancel nor a French wine merchant.

Their hunt led them to a German fitness influencer whose portrait had been used in the cryptocurrency romance scam. Meanwhile, the person conversing with Datta in the videos was merely manipulated through deepfake artificial intelligence (AI) tools with specialized scripts.

A Cautionary Tale

Unfortunately, events took a dire turn, potentially impacting Datta’s future relationships. Worse still, she now carries significant debt and has suffered emotional and psychological trauma. We sincerely hope she can recover from all the hardships she endured.

For readers, this serves as a fair warning about meticulously orchestrated romance scams involving cryptocurrencies, especially in the era of advancing AI. Exercise caution during transactions, especially when your finances are involved.

With the advent of sophisticated AI tools, refrain from falling in love with someone based solely on online conversations. If things don’t add up, consider it a signal and pay closer attention to additional warning signs. Additionally, consult FinCEN or state regulatory bodies to verify the legitimacy of any cryptocurrency trading or investment apps you plan to use. Better yet, seek guidance from a certified financial advisor before investing hard-earned money.

Sentiment: Negative

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