What is Pig Butchering Scam?

Scammers trick victims into becoming friends online and then convince them to put money into fake cryptocurrency websites.

In today’s digital age, scams are unfortunately prevalent. Recently, a new type of online scam came to light. It is called the Pig Butchering scam.

According to an investigation by CNN, there are tens of thousands of victims have fallen prey to this new form of financial fraud and conned out of their hard-earned life savings. 

Zerodha CEO Nitin Kamath also highlighted the substantial scale of these scams in India, which he estimated running into crores of rupees.

“These scams are global, and their scope is staggering,” Kamath tweeted. “It is scary how many people fall for fake job offer scams, scammy high-return investment schemes, and crypto investments, etc.”

One heart-breaking account highlighted in the CNN report tells the story of a victim who lost more than a million dollars to the Pig Butchering scam.

The victim received a message from an unknown number, who claimed to be an old colleague Jessica. Throughout their online interactions, Jessica built a seemingly genuine friendship with the victim, even offering guidance on investing in cryptocurrency to assist with the financial burdens of caring for his ailing father.

Initially, the promised returns were impressive, and the victim believed he was making significant profits. 

However, the nightmare unfolded when he suddenly found himself locked out of his investment account, only to discover that more than a million dollars had vanished. The victim attempted to contact Jessica, but she had also disappeared without a trace.

What is the Pig Butchering Scam?

The pig butchering scam is when scammers trick victims into becoming friends online, gaining their trust, and then convincing them to put money into fake cryptocurrency websites. But these websites are actually run by the tricksters, who will later take all the money and disappear. 

CNN’s investigation reveals that the Pig Butchering scam operates as a sophisticated confidence fraud, where scammers, often impersonating young women on the internet, manipulate victims into investing in fake platforms. 

The victims are enticed with promises of extraordinary returns, similar to a pig being fattened for slaughter until the scammers vanish with their money.

The result? A financial slaughter, leaving victims with empty pockets and a sense of betrayal.

Kamath explained that scammers gain the trust of users by using fake profiles. They use the pretense of love and friendship to gain the trust of users and then induce them to send money for jobs and high-return investments and steal the money. 

How To Protect Yourself From Pig Butchering Scams

By staying informed, doing your due diligence, and trusting your instincts, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these digital traps.

1. Too Good to Be True Returns

If an online friend or acquaintance is promising extravagant returns that sound too good to be true, it probably is. Real investments come with risks, and consistent astronomical gains are a major warning sign.

2. Speedy Relationship

Scammers often move quickly, speeding the relationship faster than normal. If someone you just met online is pushing for intimate details or financial involvement at an alarming pace, be cautious.

Genuine relationships take time to develop. If someone is pushing for rapid progression in your interactions, take a step back and assess the situation. Scammers thrive on impulsive decisions.

3. Cryptocurrency Push

The scam often involves introducing victims to cryptocurrency. If your newfound friend is pushing you to invest in a specific platform without proper explanations or references, step back.

Before investing anywhere, do your homework. Look for reviews, check online forums, and verify the legitimacy of the platform or new “online friend”. Reliable investments have a track record and positive feedback.

4. Limited Communication Channels

Scammers often limit communication to a single platform. If your interactions are confined to a particular app or website, and the person hesitates to connect through other means, be on high alert.

Be cautious of anyone who insists on a single communication channel. Genuine individuals are usually open to connecting through various platforms. If someone is restricting your interactions, question their motives.

If something feels off, talk to friends or family about it. Don’t hesitate to seek advice before making significant financial decisions.

If you believe you are a victim of fraud, especially in cases involving financial loss, it is important to contact your local police station. Reporting the incident to the appropriate authorities is a crucial step in combating fraud.

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Media Literacy Team
Media Literacy Team
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