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All You Need to Know About Pig-Butchering Scams Category: Scams: Phishing

All You Need to Know About Pig-Butchering Scams Category: Scams: Phishing

In this scam, it’s not a literal pig that’s getting fattened up before slaughter, but a hapless victim who doesn’t know they’re being prepped for a massive loss.


Let’s take a look at these prevalent scams and how you can avoid falling victim.


What is a pig-butchering scam?


In a pig-butchering scam, a fraudster creates a fake online persona, usually accompanied by an attractive photo and a luxurious lifestyle seen in more photos to flesh out their story. Then, they’ll initiate contact with a target on a social media platform, pretending to have reached out by mistake. Somehow, they’ll segue it into a chat about the target’s life, family, work and more.


Next, the scammer drops hints about a fabulous investment opportunity. They’ll try persuading the victim to invest in it as well, building on their growing relationship until the victim buys in. The scammer will offer to help them with the investing process. They may explain exactly how to wire money to a crypto wallet and, ultimately, to a bogus brokerage. Sometimes, they’ll suggest the victim starts with a small investment that will soon show a (fabricated) gain.


Once false trust has been built, the scammer will persuade the victim to invest big. The victim, who is sure it is a legit and sure-fire opportunity, is giddy to do so. They may even think about mortgaging their house or liquidating retirement savings to get in on this investment. The scammer will continue to pressure the victim, watching as they pour their savings into the alleged investment.


When the victim has sunk a significant amount of money into the investment, the scammer disappears, leaving the victim with a useless “investment” and no way to recover their funds. 


Red flags


Watch out for these red flags that can alert you to a possible pig-butchering scam:


  • A “mistake” interaction that morphs into a real relationship.

  • You’re urged to act quickly to take advantage of an opportunity.

  • You’re asked to invest by crypto wallet or an investment app. 

  • An investment opportunity has vague details.

  • You find it difficult or impossible to cash in on your “investments”.


Stay safe


Don’t get butchered! Follow these tips to stay safe.


First, thoroughly research every investment opportunity before dropping any money in it. Next, only use a registered and secure investment platform or app. Stay away from investments that guarantee quick, high returns and press you to act quickly. Be wary of any strangers who’ve contacted you “by mistake” and insist on pursuing the relationship. As always, do not share your sensitive info with an unverified contact.


If you believe you’ve been targeted by a pig-butchering scam, alert the FTC and avoid additional contact with the scammer.


Stay safe!
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