Date Posted: 
Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), Securities Division has received a complaint from a Washington resident regarding a purported cryptocurrency website, The investor was introduced to an individual named “Zhenhai Yu” (“Yu”) through social media. Yu told the investor to invest in Tether (“USDT”) stablecoins claiming they would shortly triple in value.

Yu initially sent the investor a link to the website,[1]. Yu explained that LBank is a cryptocurrency exchange that would hold the investor’s USDT. After agreeing to invest, Yu sent the investor a separate link to M.LBNK123.COM, claiming the website was associated with the LBank website. The website opens to a purported Lbank login page. Yu told the investor to start an account on M.LBNK123.COM and wire funds to a third party overseas that would purchase the USDT and deposit them into the investor’s supposed LBank account.

Shortly after investing, the USDT in the investor’s Lbank account purportedly tripled in value. Yu told the investor that in order to receive a higher return, the investor needed to invest more money. The investor invested a few more times, for a total of $65,000, and wired the funds to other third parties within the United States.

The investor attempted to close and withdraw the funds from their LBank account but was unable to do so. LBank “customer service” claimed that that the investor could not withdraw their funds because the investor had entered into a contract and agreed to borrow $300,000. The investor was told that they would not be able to withdraw funds from their account until they invest $300,000. Yu told the investor that if they did not pay, they would also lose their investment and money. The investor lost their entire $65,000 investment. These allegations have not been verified by DFI.

This appears to be related to a scam that is on the rise called, “Pig Butchering.” (  This scheme involves fraudsters contacting victims online, gaining their trust, and advising them to invest on fake websites or applications. After investing, these fake websites or applications may give the impression their investments are making large returns. The fraudsters may misspell URLs to make it appear they are associated with a financial institution or cryptocurrency exchange.

This also appears to be what is commonly called an “Advance Fee Fraud.”

How to Protect Yourself from Fraud

DFI urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation offering investment or financial services. Investment professionals need to be licensed with DFI to offer investments to Washington residents. In addition, most investment products sold need to be registered with DFI.

To check the licensing status and to find out if there are any complaints against an investment professional or investment product, please visit FINRA Brokercheck or contact the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Securities Division at (360) 902-8760.

If you live outside of Washington State, contact your state securities regulator.

How to File a Complaint

If a consumer believes a person or company has violated state law or acted improperly regarding an investment product or service, they may file a complaint with the Securities Division.

If you believe you are a victim of an Internet Crime, report it to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Additional Resources

Social Media and Investment Fraud – Investor Alert

Information regarding investing strategies, investment products, and how to protect yourself from fraud

Warning Signs of Investment Fraud

[1] DFI has not investigated or verified the legitimacy of the website.