More than 150 Indian nationals are believed to be trapped in Myanmar after being enticed to move abroad for high-paying roles as "digital sales and marketing executives."
Pig butchering scams have become devastatingly common in crypto — victims are befriended online, and then encouraged to invest their life savings in fake investment schemes.
Now, the Indian government has shed light on those involved in orchestrating these scams — and in many cases, they're victims themselves.
More than 150 Indian nationals are believed to be trapped in Myanmar after being enticed to move abroad for high-paying roles as "digital sales and marketing executives." Many of them are young, and highly skilled in IT.
But after traveling abroad, their movements are limited — as well as access to their phones. Officials claim they're then forced to engage in scamming and crypto fraud.
Fake Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts are often created on their behalf — usually with the name and photo of a Chinese girl — and they are told to start befriending wealthy individuals in the U.S. and Europe.
All of this suggests that some of those engaging in pig butchering scams are doing so against their will — and themselves are victims of human trafficking.
Indian government officials say some of those caught up in these illegal operations have only managed to secure their release after paying a ransom of up to $7,000.
A staggering 32 Indian nationals have already been rescued from Myanmar — but there are fears that dozens more may need help.
Some of those who are now safely back home say the camps were guarded by armed groups. Several Indians were also there voluntarily — and being paid handsomely in order to recruit others through fake job ads that masquerade as legitimate trading platforms.
Cy's story was revealed in devastating detail by Forbes, which obtained 271,000 words of WhatsApp messages between him and his attacker.
The 52-year-old was contacted out of the blue by a woman called Jessica who claimed they were old colleagues — and as the conversation turned friendly, he felt comfortable enough to talk about his financial difficulties and ill father.
It took just two months for Cy to be duped out of a seven-figure sum — and to make matters worse, a quarter of it was borrowed.
That report chimes in with what Indian officials are saying, as it noted there's evidence that the scammers themselves are victims of human trafficking who have been lured to unfamiliar countries with the promise of a better job. Their passports are then seized — and they're threatened with violence unless they start targeting innocent consumers.
Although he has contacted his local police force in California, Cy says they lack the resources to investigate cryptocurrency crimes.
He has tried to message Jessica repeatedly — even offering her help if she is a victim of human trafficking — but her WhatsApp has now gone quiet.