Cruel scammers conned dad out of £1.2million life savings on Hinge dating app

A man has shared the heartbreaking story of how he lost all his life savings in crypto after being targeted by a fraudster on the dating app, Hinge.

Steve Belcher invested $1.6 million (£1.2m) from his retirement account into what he thought was a promising platform, but it turned out to be a scammer after his savings.

The software engineer was scammed through a "pig butchering" scheme, a sick reference to how a potential target is "fattened up" before a con.

Professional con artists – often linked to Chinese mafia – spend months building trust with their victim before pushing them to invest in bogus get-rich-quick schemes, The Sun reports.

The 52-year-old dad decided to try the dating app, saying: "I was new to the area and was looking forward to meeting new people and dating apps are one way people do that today.

"This profile showed it was a person interested in cryptocurrency, a business person, there were a lot of things we had in common.

"The reason I originally chose to contact this person was that it seemed we had a lot of the same interests, like cryptocurrency and investments.

"We connected and started a relationship online, we were talking about a range of different topics, normal things, like what do you do, where you're from."

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Despite his best efforts, Steve says there was an "excuse" for Suzuki not meeting him in person, such as business trips or other obligations.

The software engineer had been investing in crypto since 2017 and had made $70,000 (£51,000) at that point.

He says that during a conversation one day, Suzuki suggested a platform she had invested in, which had, Steve says, "everything a legitimate platform would have.

"I missed on some of the other trends like Apple or Google but with the crypto trend I was in a position to invest more."

He continued: "This individual sent me a link to this platform and told me she had made investments. I downloaded the app, there were no signs or warnings that this wasn't a legitimate app.

"I started taking out money from my retirement account to transfer into this platform. It's a pretty elaborate scheme, socially engineered, heavily scripted."

The devastated former software engineer speaks of the "panic, the depression," of losing so much and is now raising awareness so people don't fall victim to scams and "suffer" the same way he did.

He said: "Bear in mind this scam is very well structured and will convince you to invest. Just be careful in any kind of social media platform."

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