An emerging and rather sophisticated form of investment scam is known as “Pig Butchering”, in which flirtatious strangers convince unsuspecting users to invest in cryptocurrency trading platforms that ultimately will capture the funds when the victim tries to withdraw, which is reported to have stolen millions of dollars of the victim’s cryptocurrency.
The term “pig butchering” refers to a process of using fake profiles on social media platforms and dating sites to lure people into investing in scams that aren’t worth it.
“The scam is named after the way scammers feed their victims with promises of romance and riches before cutting them off and taking all their money,” warns the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). reported in April 2022.
According to a recent report by security news and investigation website KrebsonSecurity, the most common form of pig butchering scam involves cryptocurrency platforms that promise unprecedented returns in a short time.
These scams often start with what appears to be a silly SMS and are also common on dating sites and apps, the report said. As soon as the victim responds, they ask them to continue the conversation through the WhatsApp messaging platform.
“The people forced to do these scams have a guide and a script where if your victim is divorced say this, or a single mom say this,” Erin said. West, deputy district attorney for Santa Clara County in Northern California, was quoted as saying.
West said there are “horrifying stories” of the victims who have fallen victim to this scam, from young women just starting their careers, to the elderly and even working people. in the financial services industry.
In the report, Courtney Nolan, a divorced mother of three daughters, is said to be one of the victims who lost more than $5 million in one such scam. Nolan said it all started with a direct Twitter message from a “crypto enthusiast” who promised to guide her on how to make reliable profits using the currency trading platform. big electronics XTB.com.
The scammer asked Nolan to create an account on xtb-market[.]Com, a clone of the original website created to resemble the official XTB platform. The site promoted various investment packages, including a “starter package” that required a $5,250 upfront payment in return for a return of more than 15%.
According to reports, she initially made small investments and generated huge profits. Nolan said she was even able to withdraw amounts from $10,000 to $30,000 in many cases.
However, after investing more than 4.5 million USD, she found her account frozen. Nolan then received a tax return that said she owed nearly $500,000 in taxes before she could reactivate her account or access her funds. After paying the “tax bill”, her mentor and the entire website disappeared.
In general, a pig butchering scam has four elements. These include social media or dating apps, WhatsApp, no video (scammers will come up with all sorts of excuses not to make video calls), and investment chit chat, reports of KrebsonSecurity said.
As previously reported, sex fraud cases have increased dramatically over the past few years. In May 2021, a South Korean woman drugged a man she met on a smartphone chat app and stole $87,000 in cryptocurrency from his phone.