Shreya Datta, a tech executive, was scammed out of $450,000 by a romance fraudster who posed as a French wine trader named ‘Ancel Mali’ on the dating app Hinge.
The scam, known as ‘pig butchering,’ involves building a fake romantic relationship before convincing the victim to invest in fake cryptocurrencies.
The two never met in person but they spoke via video chat twice – though Ancel only showed her his dog on the call.
Shreya Datta – who earns a six-figure salary in a global tech firm – told the Inquirer she had felt as though she had ‘a hole in my soul for not having a man in my life’ – hence why she was tricked.
Ancel used an image of a German fitness influencer on his profile and eventually convinced Datta to invest in a fake investment app, loaning her $150,000 and urging her to sell her stocks and take out personal loans to increase her investment.
By the end of March, Datta had invested $450,000, which the app claimed had more than doubled.
However, when she attempted to withdraw the money, she was told she had to pay 10 percent personal income tax, leading her to suspect she had been scammed.
Datta’s brother, a lawyer in London, hired a private investigator who discovered the account was fraudulent.
Though she has filed reports to the FBI, she has yet to receive the money back – though her family have bailed her out of the debt.
Coinbase also froze her account after the scam, writing in an email it was ‘concerned’ she had sent money to a ‘fraudulent investment platform.’
Datta said: ‘Sometimes I’m like, ‘It’s just money. Some days I’m like, ‘I should just cry
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