Date Posted: 
Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), Securities Division received a complaint from a Washington investor regarding a platform called HTXUS. The scammers directed the investor to use what he believed was another cryptocurrency exchange with a similar name to transfer cryptocurrency to the scammers. Instead, the investor was using HTXUS, a fictitious platform.

The investor was lured into the scam when they received a direct message on Instagram from someone named “Flora Richard,” whose Korean name was “Yoon Seo-Yeon.” The username for the Instagram profile was “lifewinecup88.” The woman claimed to be a fashion designer working in Los Angeles. The investor and the woman moved their conversation to WhatsApp. At one point, the investor had a video call with “Flora Richard,” but she did not look like the person in the Instagram profile.

The scammer talked the investor into doing cryptocurrency trading on the HTXUS platform to earn a profit. The investor opened an HTXUS account by accessing the platform through MetaMask’s built-in browser (MetaMask is an app that offers a self-custody cryptocurrency wallet). The URL for the HTXUS platform is “,” which is very similar to a well-known cryptocurrency market tracking website.

The investor purchased Ether (ETH) in their Coinbase account, then transferred about $25,000 in ETH into what they thought was their HTXUS account. The investor transferred ETH into the following wallet: 0x28fc5d45006a92b41d49415a390f3d73e7e49d17

The investor’s HTXUS account showed that their initial investment increased to over $100,000 in just over a month. When the investor tried to withdraw their earnings, an HTXUS representative told them that they had to pay a 25% tax on their profit within a week or they would be reported to “the tax authorities.” The investor tried to log into their HTXUS account to pay the tax by going to the website of the similarly-named exchange. However, they were unable to do so because they did not actually have an account there. The similarly-named exchange is based overseas and prohibits U.S. residents from opening accounts on their platform.

The investor then searched for the HTXUS app on the Apple App Store and found the app for the similarly-named exchange. According to the investor, when they tried to download that app, another page simulating the App Store somehow appeared listing the HTXUS app. The URL for that simulated page was “”

The investor tried downloading the HTXUS app on that page but was unable to do so. When they contacted HTXUS customer service, the HTXUS representative instructed them to pay the tax into the following wallet:  0x9bB497679529C3459C70F40aa392B94Cf95852a6. The investor did not pay the tax and has lost their entire investment.

DFI has not verified these allegations.

This appears to be what is commonly called a "Pig Butchering” scheme. It may also be an “Advance Fee Fraud,” which can take many forms.

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.

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 formal complaint with the Securities Division.

Additional Resources

Virtual Currency, Cryptocurrency, and Digital Assets Information for Consumers

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

Social Media and Investment Fraud