Executive Falls Victim to Bitcoin Scam Trying to Adopt Kitten
Anyone who owns a cat will tell you that they are sometimes taxing to look after. From their special food requirements to demanding all of your time and attention, our little furry friends bring joy into our lives but sometimes at a high cost.
Unfortunately for a Hong Kong executive, she ended up paying much more than she bargained for while trying to adopt a cat. The 58-year-old believed that she was adopting a cat from Thailand and was asked to send over cryptocurrency as part of the fees. Now, she is down $764,000.
A Story of Cats and Crypto
According to local media, the unnamed woman began communicating with the would-be scammer in April 2022. These communications took place via WhatsApp and the executive was told that while the kitten itself was free, she would have to pay for shipping and insurance costs.
She agreed, opening a crypto wallet and sending the agreed amount. After this, the woman was told that the cat had died during the shipping process. In a strange twist, the executive was contacted by a different person claiming to be a representative of a foreign bank. The person also said that she was entitled to $150,000 in compensation through the insurance she took out for the cat.
To claim this alleged money, however, the woman was told that she would have to pay an administrative fee. This immediately harkens back to classic scam protocols where a victim is told that they have come into a massive amount of money but need to pay a small ‘fee’ to secure it. This ‘fee’was extracted from her over several months and by the time the executive realzied that something was up, it was too late.
At that point, she had sent $764,574 worth of 40 different bitcoin transactions to the scammer and eventually contacted the police for help. Currently, the police are invetsigating the case, though no arrests have yet been made. It was also noted by local news that these sorts of scams are not overly uncommon.
Criminals often try to trick others into handing over their crypto by lying about pet adoption, the sale of some goods or services, and so on. The issue is that because cryptocurrency transactions are decentralaized, they cannot be reversed and there is no central body that victims can turn to for technical help as they could a traditional bank.
The police are now warning the general public to avoid such scams by not sending cryptocurrency to people that they do not know, even when they are promised a pet adoption or anything else. This case also shows that many scammers have not necessarily changed their tactics but only their currency of choice. The promise of a big reward in exchange for a small fee is so prevalent that is has been spoofed and lampooned in the media for years. But now, sadly, cryptocurrency has been thrown into the mix.