Told by Cindy Tsai.
Cindy Tsai is the victim of a pig butchering scam. She invested more than $2.5 million in a fraudulent Ethereum exchange. When the site demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes and fees, she realized she was scammed.
Here is her story…
Scammer builds a relationship with his victim
Jimmy came into my life when I was the most vulnerable in my entire life. My marriage of 16 years was failing, and I was battling terminal cancer.
His first Whatsapp message was very innocent.
“Hi, are you Linda from the pet store?” I told him no. He apologized and then asked if I was Chinese and said that he was also Chinese.
Jimmy was from Dalia but now lived in LA. He moved there just before COVID, but because of COVID, he couldn’t go home. Jimmy was a lonely man in need of comfort. A lot of immigrants feel a bit of loneliness, so I could empathize, I understood what he was feeling.
When I proceeded with the divorce, he switched to a much more romantic tone. I remember receiving emojis with hearts. It’s quite flattering for a middle-aged woman to meet a young man who finds you attractive.
We talked quite often on the phone.
Scammer Executes the Investment Scam
Jimmy often brought up his dabbling in crypto and sounded like he knew what he was talking about. He tried to get me on board, and I refused him on numerous occasions. Crypto wasn’t something I knew about, and I have always been very risk-averse with my investments.
Then we had a video call. He told me he would show me what to trade, and how to trade, but wouldn’t touch a dime himself. I became more interested.
And when he said “don’t you want to leave more money to your children?”, that was a definite hook on my part, especially because I was dealing with terminal cancer.
He told me to go to a website and open an account. I initially invested less than $20,000 and made a couple of thousand dollars.
When I invested more than 2 million, I was led to believe I had made 3 million dollars in profit. But when I tried to withdraw my money, I found myself unable to withdraw anything.
Then Jimmy said there was a 10% tax when I wanted to withdraw money from my account.
I tried again and again, and Jimmy assured me it was all legitimate.
When I tried to withdraw, there was a message saying that I was number 193 of applications withdrawing money. If I would pay $1000, I would move up a spot.
Then I told Jimmy I was done.
I wasn’t in love with Jimmy, he was more of a good friend, but it still felt like heartbreak. He felt like a real person.
But I have given the scammers enough of my time, and enough of my money.
I refuse to give them who I actually am.
‘Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’ – Matthew 25:34
Cindy Tsai now uses her story to educate other people on these scams to prevent people from becoming a victim.