As cryptocurrency expands and is slowly becoming an acceptable form of payment and investment, a new crypto scam has been discovered.
Known as “pig butchering,” this new scam refers to “fattening up” the target before extorting them. This scam started in China and is now spreading across borders and languages, evolving into a global scheme.
Pig Butchering Scam
Pig butchering is a cybercrime, including relationship and investment fraud. The scammer builds a relationship with its victim for months, usually a romantic relationship, before enticing them to invest in a fake company and stealing their money.
According to Global Anti-Scam Organization, an advocacy group, scammers on dating apps and social media groom targets for weeks to get them interested in investing in Forex, gold, cryptocurrency, and other commodities.
The scammers do not directly ask for money from the victim. Instead, they drive victims to a fake investment website or app that they can control themselves, according to Gizmodo.
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Next, scammers persuade and even harass victims into depositing more money into their own accounts inside the fake company using a variety of ploys, including customer service. In the end, the target won’t be able to withdraw their money.
The Global Anti-Scam Organization even uploaded a video on YouTube. The scammers usually originate from the telecom, and online fraud cottage industry in Southeast Asia and are often run by Chinese syndicates.
The reports of the scam started surging inside China in 2019, and it immediately became a runaway success for the scam industry, which called it pig butchering.
Victim Comes Forward
According to Forbes, a couple of months ago, one of the victims of the scam talked about their experience in Reddit in order to warn other people.
The 22-year-old said that the scam is a slow one because the scammers gain your trust, let you withdraw some money to feel confident, and slowly take from the victim until they got nothing left.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the number of romance-scam complaints increased tremendously in 2021 compared to 2020.
Based on consumer reports to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the number of romance frauds reported to the agency increased 70% from 2020 to 56,000 in 2021.
According to FTC data, the victims of the scam reported losing around $547 million in such frauds, a 78% increase from the previous year.
The report also quoted a data researcher with the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Emma Fletcher, as saying that COVID-19 may be providing an excuse for scammers to say that they are unable to meet in person, which may have begun the expansion of romantic scams.
However, there are a couple of ways that you can prevent yourself from being a victim of the scam.
First, you need to exercise caution while making friends in the industry. Also, do not believe in gimmicks like steady earnings without loss, low investment, and huge returns or more.
Second, resist the temptations of gambling and high-return investments and do not transfer money to the account or those you do not know.
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Written by Sophie Webster
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