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What Is The Pig Butchering Scam And Why It Should Concern Me?

Updated: Jun 18

Picture of a laptop with Scam Alert on it.
Pig Butchering Scam Alert

I'm certain you're familiar with the concept of phishing. This fraudulent practice involves scammers sending emails that appear to be from reputable companies in order to deceive you into divulging sensitive personal details such as your Social Security number, passwords, credit card information, and more. Phishing schemes are widespread in today's digital landscape and have been causing harm to individuals for a considerable period of time. However, there exists another type of scam known as Pig Butchering, which is not as widely recognized. The term "Pig Butchering" is derived from the process of fattening a pig before its slaughter, serving as a fitting analogy for how this scam operates. This deceptive tactic aims to swindle your hard-earned money. Remember, knowledge is key, so ensure you familiarize yourself with this perilous scam to avoid becoming a victim.

Regrettably, the individuals behind these atrocious acts are not always typical criminals operating from home. In certain cases, the perpetrators themselves are victims. Among them are individuals seeking employment in the technology sector, enticed by the prospect of a lucrative salary. Subsequently, following a rigorous interview procedure, they arrive at the supposed "new workplace" only to be abducted and coerced into carrying out these fraudulent activities under threat of torture or death. This is the process of pig butchering:

The criminal fabricates a false identity and online presence on various social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Text Messaging. Typically, they use a photo of an attractive individual (often stolen) and craft a profile that conveys a lifestyle of success, wealth, and glamour. The intention is to depict a desirable lifestyle and appear approachable.

Subsequently, they make initial contact with their potential victim by sending a message through one of these platforms. Sometimes, they may reference something from the victim's social media profile or claim to have contacted them by mistake. For example, they might say, "Hey Dave! How have you been? So sorry to hear about your mom." The victim responds, "I'm not Dave; you must have the wrong person." This exchange opens up a dialogue that marks the beginning of a lengthy process.

Recently, I have encountered instances where individuals, posing as "women" on LinkedIn and Facebook, have reached out to me via instant messages with comments like, "Hey, I see you have great expertise in your field, and I'm interested in learning more about your success." They begin with flattery, attempting to stroke the target's ego or exploit someone seeking companionship. However, being realistic, I understand that a 30-year-old successful model would not be contacting a man like me just to be friends and chat. Initially, I ignored such connection attempts due to their suspicious nature. Nevertheless, my curiosity led me to investigate their motives, ultimately prompting me to delve into the topic of Pig Butchering.

Their next move involves earning the trust of the target by engaging the potential victim in conversations about life, family, and work. The criminal will initiate seemingly harmless chats to gather information that can be used to manipulate the target. They will share details about their own life and ask numerous questions about the target's life in an attempt to establish a connection or relationship.

Following their initial approach, they aim to secure the literal "buy-in". If their goal is to persuade their target to invest in their "investment program" or cryptocurrency scheme, they will highlight their achievements and emphasize the ease of making money with the right training and guidance. They might even share visuals of their bank or brokerage accounts with the target, encouraging them to create an account on their online brokerage platform. Through various examples, they will strive to convince the target that the opportunity is both secure and highly lucrative. Unfortunately, certain apps on the Apple App Store are exploited by these fraudsters, leading the target to mistakenly believe that the apps are vetted when they are not. This assumption is far from safe!

Their subsequent move involves persuading the target to deposit actual funds into the fraudulent account. The perpetrator will impart various strategies and techniques for generating significant profits, claiming to have acquired them through years of experience. They will present themselves as a "helpful friend" and offer assistance in the investment process. Initially, the criminal will suggest a small investment that will unexpectedly yield substantial returns.

After establishing credibility, scammers manipulate their victims into believing that their scheme is secure and reliable, persuading them to part with their money. Initially, the victims may be cautious, but the criminals aim to gain their full trust to achieve a significant payoff.

Subsequently, they encourage further investments by showcasing the apparent safety and profitability of the venture, emphasizing the potential earnings. They pressure the victims to increase their investments, claiming that the only path to substantial wealth and success is by following their "risk-free" model, leading them to borrow money, dip into savings, or even mortgage their property.

Once the target has hit their maximum investment and has tapped everything, they have they will then have issues getting the money out of their account. The criminal may still play them and say something like "The government has seized the account because you have not paid taxes on this yet".  They will claim if you deposit a large sum of money, they will be able to get the money released. They may also say there was a catastrophic event that occurred and that all the money was lost. But they won't stop there, they will keep pushing to try to get their target to send them more and more money to get their initial investment back.

Once the target realizes they have been deceived, the perpetrator typically resorts to insulting and humiliating them before vanishing, closing down the website, launching a new one, and repeating the cycle with a different potential victim.

If you find yourself in this situation, what steps can you take? Reach out to your bank, local authorities, or the FBI immediately. Regrettably, many individuals feel too ashamed to acknowledge they have fallen victim to a scam and fail to report the incident. It is crucial not to fall into this trap. The sooner you report it, the greater the chance of recovering some or all of your funds through tracking.

Here is a recent CNN article talking further about this scam and how people even have lost their lives because of it...

Prevention is key. If a stranger contacts you online, it's best to ignore them. Avoid clicking on any links, refrain from chatting, do not connect with them, block them, and move on.

For additional details and security advice, please visit our website at

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