- Tether has frozen $225 million worth of USDT tokens linked to a human trafficking syndicate.
- The frozen funds were traced to a criminal network that engaged in both “pig butchering” scams and human trafficking.
- Tether, OKX, and law enforcement agencies used blockchain analysis tools from Chainalysis to identify the involved.
- This is not the first time Tether has frozen USDT tokens linked to crime.
Tether is the parent company behind the popular stablecoin, USDT.
The company, which is also the world’s largest stablecoin issuer has faced endless criticism over issues with centralization.
However, Tether’s centralized layout has finally paid off according to recent news. Tether, it turns out, has just frozen about $225 million worth of USDT tokens.
These funds were traced to the accounts of a criminal network that was involved in human trafficking and online romance scams. Here are the details:
Tether Puts A Pin On Scam, Pig Butchering, And Abduction Ring
The words, “Pig butchering” sound like an odd thing to say.
However, this term is used to describe a kind of online scam, where the scammer pretends to be romantically interested in a victim, only to manipulate them into sending money, crypto, or joining a fake investment scheme.
When the scammer gets all that they need from the victim, they simply cut off all contact with them, leaving them heartbroken and financially ruined.
According to a recent press release by Tether, these frozen funds were linked to a worldwide ring that engaged in both pig butchering and human trafficking.
This crime ring reportedly lured unsuspecting victims, mostly women from Southeast Asia, into sending them money or crypto, on promises to meet them in person.
However, instead of fulfilling their promises or even leaving things at the “pig butchering” level, these scammers kidnapped the victims and sold them into slavery or prostitution.
How did Tether and OKX uncover the Ruse?
Several big players in the crypto industry, along with law enforcement agencies had to come together to stop these crimes.
According to the report, Tether and OKX using blockchain analysis tools from Chainalysis, were one of the biggest chess pieces in this operation.
Using these tools that Chainalysis provided, they were able to trace the flow of funds to and from specific wallets, to identify the ones involved with the criminal syndicate.
Once pinpointed, these wallets were then frozen with the money in them, preventing the scammers from accessing or transferring them.
The total amount frozen, it turns out, was about $225 million.
Tether had also previously frozen USDT tokens linked to other crypto crimes, such as ransomware attacks, phishing scams, and money laundering.
According to this blog post, Tether also recently froze more than 30 addresses containing approximately $870,000 that were linked to crimes in Ukraine and Israel.
Other Institutions Join The Fight
The crypto industry has fought back against bad actors this year, more than ever.
Aside from OKX and Tether, Lloyds Bank, a major British bank, also issued a warning to its customers.
According to Lloyds Bank, scammers were more interested these days, in targeting younger people.
SlowMist, a blockchain security firm also highlighted a new kind of scam in a blog post on Medium.
SlowMist noted that these scammers now pose as journalists, and ask people to download malicious software or click on phishing links.
In all, the fight against scammers and hackers in 2023 has been all but encouraging, leaving hope for increased security in the next bull run.
Disclaimer: Voice of Crypto aims to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, but it will not be responsible for any missing facts or inaccurate information. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile financial assets, so research and make your own financial decisions.