4) Pig Butchering
I’ve covered this horrendous scam on Morning Live earlier this year and it is truly one of the most appalling and exploitative out there. The (slightly disgusting) name is translated from the Chinese word shāzhūpán, because this practice originated with gangs in China and involves “fattening up” victims before taking them for everything they’ve got. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gj3k4q
It originates with a direct message, usually on social media or a dating app. Initially the interaction will seem innocent enough, the possible beginning of friendship or romance. Over the days and weeks which follow, your new friend will love bomb you with endless interactions, compliments and may even share deeply personal details and encourage you to do the same.
This is all window dressing designed to gain your trust. Once your guard is fully down, some weeks or even months later, your new pal will casually drop into conversation that they’ve been investing their savings in a certain new cryptocurrency platform and they’re doing very well.
Some time later, they will casually suggest you do the same, without applying any pressure. Should you eventually decide yourself to sign up and invest, you may even initially see it working for you, as the promised profits drop into your account on the new platform.
You and your friend then share your joy at the success and they encourage you to invest more and more money, as they claim they have. Eventually you might find yourself excited by seemingly huge weekly profits on a substantial investment.
One day, you log in and find your friend’s profile no longer exists. The months of chats are all deleted. When you attempt to check on your cryptocurrency investment, the website doesn’t exist either. The entire platform was built by scammers as a vehicle to steal money, and the months of dialogue with your new friend just a set up to get you to deposit yours.
How to beat it
It’s easy to see why some victims have lost vast amounts to this scam when it’s so hard to see it coming.
The advice here is to be very careful where you invest your savings. Only take financial advice from sources which are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and never from someone who, ultimately, is no more than a stranger online.