DuPage state’s attorney’s office, Secret Service sting shuts down 350 fraudulent investment websites

A recent joint sting operation conducted by the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office and the United States Secret Service, along with DuPage County’s IT Department, resulted in shutting down more than 350 fake websites designed to con visitors through fraudulent investment scams.

Commonly known as “pig butchering,” the scam involved three individuals from another country who posed as a successful, friendly individual or romantic interest to deceive their victims into providing funds for fictitious emergencies, investments, employment opportunities or other schemes only to disappear once they had received money from their victims, according to a state’s attorney’s office news release.

The 90-day effort diverted approximately 17,800 visitors from the phony websites. Following the successful conclusion of the operation, the state’s attorney’s office and Secret Service once again joined forces to produce a public service announcement to help the public steer clear of such scams.

The public service announcement is available at

“Even for those who are familiar with potential scams on the Internet, it is still extremely easy to become a target of such scams,” Berlin said in the release.

To minimize their chance of becoming a victim, Berlin said people should never provide any personal information, particularly financial information, to anyone they have only corresponded with online or on the phone.

“I would also say to trust your instincts,” he said. “If something doesn’t feel right about a transaction, do not complete it.”

For more information on how to protect yourself from online scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission at

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