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MetaTrader Found Itself in the Middle of John Oliver’s Dig into “Pig Butchering» Scam

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MetaTrader Found Itself in the Middle of John Oliver’s Dig into “Pig Butchering" Scam

  financemagnates.com 01 March 2024 12:49, UTC

MetaTrader Found Itself in the Middle of John Oliver’s Dig into “Pig Butchering" Scam

Trading today has moved online, opened up vastly to retail participants, is closely tied in with social media platforms such as, notably, Reddit and X (formerly Twitter), and now incorporates–through bitcoin and the rest of the crypto landscape–an entirely new digital asset class.

And this is all, broadly, a good thing which has–when viewed in the most positive light–created a democratized trading and investment environment. However, what one cannot avoid if spending much time in this frantically profit-motivated online arena, is what feels like an explosion in the volume and frequency of attempted fraudulent activity, taking in a variety of ever-evolving scamming techniques.

⚠️Warning⚠️ My security team has been taking down one AI generated deepfake video featuring me, @MicroStrategy, and #Bitcoin trading & giveaway scams on @YouTube every 15 minutes. Be careful out there, and remember there is no such thing as a free lunch. pic.twitter.com/KpklvOxtlH

— Michael Saylor⚡️ (@saylor) January 5, 2024

On Twitter, or X, rampant bots and scams have expanded into a constant bombardment, littering the replies beneath posts from prominent analysts and influencers, while over on YouTube, advertising slots have contained deep fake videos aimed at defrauding crypto holders. A small fraction of scam posts are actually hitting the target, and on the other end there are real victims taking sometimes shattering financial losses.

John Oliver Mentions MetaTrader in Segment on Scams

For a signal that financial scamming is now becoming a mainstream concern, look no further than last Sunday’s segment by comedian John Oliver on Last Week Tonight. This is an opinionated show usually focused on making political points, and not aimed at audiences interested in finance or trading, and it tends to stay focused on subjects that–while often divisive–are part of the national conversation. And as of last Sunday, it appears that financial and trading-related scamming is now squarely on the agenda.

Here’s our story about pig butchering scams. Please share it with anyone who you think might be vulnerable to one, which is basically everybody…https://t.co/NNfYgklOfZ

— John Oliver (@iamjohnoliver) February 29, 2024

While raising laughs from the audience, Oliver’s performance was, on the whole, educational, and seemingly aimed at raising awareness of online hazards. This meant including several real-life stories related to the growing problem of pig butchering, which refers to a kind of scam in which victims are first misled into a phony online relationship, before–having been placed in a trusting state–being tricked, sometimes over an extended period, into handing over what can turn into large sums of money.

And in his description of this process, Oliver directly drew attention to one dominant retail trading platform in particular: MetaTrader. While this wasn’t to suggest that MetaTrader itself is fraudulent (and to be clear, it isn’t), it made it clear to viewers that the hugely popular trading product has been utilized by criminals to draw in new victims.

In fact, MetaTrader was withdrawn from Apple’s App Store in October 2022 due to increasing concerns over pig butchering schemes, and around security in general, before subsequently being reinstated in March 2023, after the developer responsible for the product, MetaQuotes Software, took measures to ensure compliance with Apple’s standards.

Returning to John Oliver though, rather than solely placing blame on specific products, his segment on This Week Tonight appeared angled primarily towards alerting people to the kinds of online crime that make use of trading platforms. What’s more, Oliver also detailed–again, with illustrative true stories–how some of the first contact perpetrators of pig butchering scams (that is, the people actually engaging online with targets) are in some cases victims of human trafficking, and are themselves being exploited by criminal gangs.

And while Oliver did state, “in this country, I’d argue platforms like these [financial tech platforms] should be doing way more to prevent people from making fake accounts and targeting people, because it’s happening on their watch”, this was within an expansive piece covering many details, and it’s unlikely that the takeaway for audiences would have been to avoid MetaTrader and similar platforms, or to keep away from trading in general.

«If your friend told you to download an app, and you saw it in the app store with good reviews, you might assume everything on it was legitimate. In before, you saw MetaTrader’s logo which looks like three men in suits jerking each other off under a table – an appropriate metaphor for cryptocurrency if I have ever seen one,” Oliver said.

In fact, Oliver appeared, towards the end of the segment, to imply that individual responsibility, combined with mutually looking out for one another, are the keys to maintaining online safety, stating,

“The truth is, perhaps the most effective way to stop this from happening, is to make it less lucrative by having fewer people fall for it. And that’s where awareness of this scam is key. This is one of those rare cases where raising awareness is, in itself, genuinely useful.”

It’s a pragmatic view, and one which is likely to find nods of agreement not only from Oliver’s usual fanbase, but also among the kinds of deeply cynical trading discussions in which participants are sharply aware of both the hazards and rewards of their environment.

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