What starts as an innocuous greeting, something as simple as “Hi, how is it going?”, can lead to the loss of thousands or even millions of dollars. Have you been the recipient of these texts recently? If so, it’s not a long-lost friend; it’s a new cryptocurrency long-con scam called Pig-Butchering.
What is Pig-Butchering?
It begins with an unsuspecting text or message via social media that is sent out by scammers to millions of people. These scammers use a technique called social engineering to prey on people through psychological manipulation. A relationship is established over a period of time ranging from a few weeks to months or even years.
With a relationship established, the scammer will begin to suggest the victim (referred to as “the pig” by scammers) to “invest” in cryptocurrency. They will lure their victims by saying they had made significant profits with their own investments. Falsified financial statements further convince the victim to invest. Over periods of time, the victims are coaxed to deposit more and more money, “fattening the pig” before the butcher. Once the financial amount deposited is sufficient, the scammers will cease contact with their victim by ghosting them, disappearing with the money.
Awareness is Key
With a consistent rise in online and romance scams, it’s important to stay diligent to protect your personal and confidential information. Basic awareness is key to guarding against scammers. If someone is trying to give you investing advice that you met through social media or a dating app, hoist the red flag to full mast.
Holiday seasons and winter months also see an uptick in scams. Predators will use feelings of depression and loneliness to coax you away from your money. Be aware of individuals preying on your emotions, many of these scammers have been trained by psychologists overseas on the best manipulation tactics.
For more insight on cryptocurrency pig butchering, visit Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
If you are or believe you are a victim of internet fraud, file a report with FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.