Home » San Diego man loses tens of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency scam

San Diego man loses tens of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency scam

San Diego man loses tens of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency scam

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — What started as a phone call ended with Yurich Wasowski’s life turned upside down.

“I am devastated,” Wasowski said, as he recalled the scam that changed his life. 

It was in the summer when Wasowski’s phone rang.

“I never pick up unlisted calls, but t at this time, I was busy doing something and I pick[ed] up the phone,” he said.

Wasowski heard a sweet voice on the other end. They ended up bonding over their shared Slavic culture.

As an immigrant, he felt a connection. They ended up speaking on the phone twice, and then she encouraged him to start texting using the app Telegram.

The woman claimed her name was Lena and mentioned to Wasowski she is doing crypto trading.

Wasowski already had investments in cryptocurrency, but he was interested in learning more. She gained his trust and told him that she could teach him.

He said he initially started investing $800 and then put in much more after he saw his profits. By the end, he invested around $100,000.

Lena sent a number of pictures and videos reinforcing their friendship.

“She sends me such lovely messages about her trust… to help me build solid retirement,” Wasowski said.

It turns out the digital currency platform she told him to put his money was not real.

This method called “pig butchering” is a growing scam that often involves online romance or friendship and cryptocurrency.

“The reality is so many of these scammers, they’re so good at hijacking our brains,” Eva Velasquez of the Identity Theft Resource Center told ABC 10News in 2022. “When you’re in that state, those things that are apparent to an outside observer really aren’t apparent to you as the person who’s directly involved in it.”

Once that money is transferred to the scammer, it’s hard to get back.

“I try to function, but I don’t know,” Wasowski said. “I pray to God… to take her to the justice because I never in my entire life met somebody so cruel.”

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, cryptocurrency investment fraudrose from $907 million in 2021 to $2.57 billion in 2022.

Wasowski hoped to retire. Now, he can’t.

“I must work until I die,” he told ABC 10News.

He advises everybody to “be cautious and to watch closely their wallet.”

Federal agencies want to remind people only scammers guarantee big returns and demand payments in crypto. They also said if an online “love interest” wants to help you invest in crypto, that is a scam too.

If you are a victim, you can file a report with the FBI at www.ic3.gov.

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