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Pig Butchering and Romance Scams


What is a Pig Butchering Scam

The world of cybersecurity is always changing and coming in 2024 we want to let our members know of a newly emerging scam tactic being reported from all over the country.


Pig butchering scams, alluding to a farmer fattening up a prize pig before slaughter, involve scammers cultivating relationships with people through dating platforms, texts, and social media. Also called fake or online romance scams, these schemes involve developing trust and rapport with the victim enough to convince them to start investing money in cryptocurrency platforms. Once they get all the money they can from a victim, they’ll disappear.

These types of scams usually follow a particular pattern:

1. It starts off with the scammer making contact with you. This can happen in a number of ways: dating profiles, social media, or even sending a ‘wrong number’ text.

2. After conversing and developing enough of a relationship, the scammer will then try and convince you to start investing in cryptocurrency. They’ve gained your trust and will often claim they have special knowledge that will help get you a big return!

3. You will typically be asked to invest on a website or app that looks legitimate. You’ll be shown how to trade and may even get some early returns on your investment. Using this phony ‘return’ on your money, the scammers will the persuade you to keep investing more and more money into the app or website.

4. When trying to withdraw your money, you’ll find that there is a mysterious issue with your account, or even exorbitant fees and taxes you need to pay before you can get your cash back. At this point the scammers may attempt to get even more money out of you, convincing you that you need to keep investing to make back what you lost.

5. At the point you’ve figured out you’re being scammed, it’s too late. The scammer will go silent, or even taunt you through text, before disappearing. The investment ‘platform’ you were using will disappear too.

Identifying a Pig Butchering Scam

As you can see above, the pig butchering scam can be a lengthy process as the scammers attempt to gain your trust. It is important to keep an eye out for a few key details that will alert you to this type of scam before you start investing.

Suspicious Investments

The goal of a scammer in a pig-butchering scheme is to get you to ‘invest’. These investments usually involve cryptocurrency as a way to entice you. We’ve all seen in the news the big returns that investing in cryptocurrency can give yo but remember that any return in a financial investment like crypto is never guaranteed. Exaggerated claims and emotional manipulations are key signs you may be being scammed.

These investments will also involve ‘special’ products. Whether it’s a limited time offer or insider knowledge the messenger will convince you they have, this is just another way to lure you into investing. The opportunity may be intentionally vague and confusing, or even be a ‘limited time offer’ to try and pressure you to add funds.

Lastly, the trading platforms that scammers will ask you to use will be the biggest red flag that you are being scammed. Is it a reputable site with the appropriate security measures in place? Do they have clear language about how the platform works and how to get your money? Do your research before depositing money or even entering in your personal information to make an account. A simple Google search of the website or the financial product with the word “scam” can show you results of other instances this type of fraud was used.

Unknown Contacts

The other big sign to watch out for is unknown contacts reaching out, seemingly out of the blue.

Most of us have received “wrong number” texts before. Typically, you get a text from a wrong number, and write back letting them know they’ve reached the wrong person. Before you know it, this random person wants to start chatting with you, and ask for your name and other information about yourself so they can start building trust! It’s a safe bet that most, if not all, of these types of texts are scam attempts.

It is also common to be contacted through social media as well. It is best practice to not accept message requests from people you don’t know, and never share your personal information.

Scammers may also create fake profiles on dating sites! This is an easy way for them to start talking to potential victims.

Remember, if someone you don’t know suddenly starts talking about investments or tells you about a great opportunity you should invest in, they are most likely a scammer. Especially if you have never been able to FaceTime, video chat, or see this person outside of the pictures they might send you, they are likely not who they say they are.


What to Do if you suspect you’re being scammed

The first step is to stop communicating with the scammer. Do not send an explanation, goodbye, or any message that might alert them to you knowing they are a scammer.

Change any passwords for any accounts that you shared the information for. After your accounts are secure, block and report the scammer's profile. Also contact your bank to report that you believe you have been scammed. They may be able to freeze accounts that the scammer may have access to or even reverse charges.

There are a number of places you can report the crime as well. These include:

·        The Federal Trade Commission

·        The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center

·        Report Scammed Bitcoin(RSB)

If you have fallen victim to this scam, it can be possible to retrieve your funds! While difficult, reporting the crime and providing all the information you can help your chances.

Stay vigilant and remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!



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