Sat. May 18th, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • In pig butchering scams, fraudsters lure victims into relationships, gain their trust, convince them to invest in cryptocurrency on their trading platform, and disappear with their investments.
  • Signs such as the individual becoming overly friendly too soon, suggesting cryptocurrency investments, and refusing random video call requests can help identify a pig butchering scam.
  • If you’re targeted with this scam, block the scammer, report their profile, change your account passwords, and monitor your funds if you’ve shared financial information.

If you’ve randomly received a message from a stranger on a dating app or social media, and, after chatting for a few days, they are suggesting investing in crypto, then you’re likely being targeted by a pig butchering scam. Read on to learn how this scam works and how to steer clear of it.

How Does the Pig Butchering Scam Work?

In a pig butchering scam, a random person who appears to be attractive and wealthy contacts you and seeks to form a relationship. They may reach out to you through direct messages on a social media platform or a dating app, or contact you via calls or text messages on your phone.

Then, the scammer stays in touch for weeks or months, working to gain your trust. Once they’ve established a trusting relationship, they suggest investing in cryptocurrency, claiming it’s how they’ve made their millions. They may deceive you with false claims of having insider knowledge of projects they insist will quickly increase in value.

Taking a cautious approach, they suggest beginning with a small investment to monitor its progress. However, they demand that you invest exclusively through their recommended platform—a platform the scammers own. Once you’ve invested, they manipulate trades and increase your account balance within a few days, showing fast gains.

To further gain your confidence, they may advise you to withdraw your funds and wait for suggestions to reinvest profits in another project. After a short delay, the scammer contacts you again and may encourage you to invest more than the initial amount you withdrew. After being enticed by your earlier gains, you might reinvest all your funds.

To avoid raising suspicion, scammers consistently increase your account balance, making it appear as if your investment is multiplying each day. They may pressure you to invest more by claiming that the project’s price will sharply increase in the coming days. Once they notice that you’ve invested all you can, they suddenly stop contacting you.

Afterwards, they may demand a hefty tax payment before allowing you to withdraw your funds—which you’ll never receive anyway. They might also claim you cannot withdraw money due to a technical issue. Then, one day, when you try to log in, you’ll find that the website or app has disappeared—along with your entire life’s savings.

This is how you could be drawn in and exploited in a pig butchering scam. This raises the question: how can you distinguish between someone you’ve matched with on a dating app that genuinely wants to get to know you and build a sincere relationship, and someone setting a trap to exploit you? You can check that by looking for a few signs.

How to Spot a Pig Butchering Scam

The first major warning sign is how quickly scammers try to establish a bond. Unlike genuine matches, who usually take their time to get to know you, meet in person, and gauge compatibility before becoming overly friendly, scammers may be overly personal from the outset. If something feels wrong, it probably is.

The scammers behind the dating profiles often use pictures of models. They may even hire these models for occasional video calls with their targets, as Jim Browning shows in one of his YouTube videos. If you spontaneously ask for a video call, they might refuse or suggest scheduling the call for a specific time, allowing them to prepare beforehand.

The scammer might also talk about investments too often, bragging about making money from cryptocurrency investments. They might say your job isn’t good enough and push you to invest in crypto for fast, big profits. If a stranger gives you investment advice about cryptocurrency on a dating platform, be careful—it’s probably a scam!

Once you’ve recognized the signs that scammers are deceiving you, what should your next steps be?

What to Do When You Spot a Pig Butchering Scam

When you’re sure you’re being tricked, capture screenshots of your entire conversation with the scammers, save the link to their profile, and take a screenshot of their profile page. With this evidence in hand, immediately block the scammer to halt further contact. Also, unmatch or block them on other platforms where they may have contacted you.

After that, report their account to the platform you’re using, including evidence to support your claim so that the platform support can ban their account.

You can also report the scam to the appropriate official institution that handles internet fraud in your country, such as the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center in the US. This small effort may aid authorities in tracking down the criminals behind these scams, thereby protecting other individuals like yourself from becoming victims.

Tricked by the Pig Butchering Scam? Here’s What to Do Next

If you’ve been targeted by this scam and have already invested in cryptocurrency on a fraudulent platform, you can’t recover those funds. However, there are steps you can take to prevent further losses. If you’ve transferred crypto from your wallet or exposed the keyphrase, relocate your remaining funds to another wallet to secure them.

If you’ve used your bank account or credit card to transfer funds to the trading platform, you should contact your bank or credit card company. They’ll be able to issue you new cards, help you transfer your money to a new account, and anything else you may need to do to secure your account. If you’ve disclosed any personal information that scammers could exploit, such as your SSN, report the data breach to relevant authorities to prevent legal issues if scammers misuse it. You can also contact the credit bureaus to have your credit frozen to prevent scammers from using any stolen information to open up new lines of credit in your name.

Stay alert for unusual activity in your email or bank accounts, and take prompt action if you notice anything suspicious. Also, enable two-factor authentication on your email and any other accounts you used to communicate with the scammer and change your passwords to ensure their security.

Having a clear understanding of how the pig butchering scam operates, you should spread awareness among your contacts to save them from this fraud. Stay vigilant, take the recommended actions if you encounter such a scam, and protect your remaining funds if you’ve already been a victim.

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By John P.

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