Statistics show that the number of reported pig butchering scams from 2022 to 2023 increased by roughly 100 percent. To avoid falling prey to these scams, you need to know what they are, how to identify them, and the steps to take if a scammer approaches you. A pig butchering scam is a prolonged fraud that merges romance scams, investment schemes, and cryptocurrency fraud. Criminals lure unsuspecting victims into putting their money into seemingly profitable and legitimate ventures, only to end up stealing the money and disappearing. This makes for a horrible experience that can exact a heavy financial and emotional toll on victims.
How Does Pig Butchering Scams Work?
Fraudsters use different tactics to manipulate victims and exploit their vulnerabilities. Learning how a pig butchering scam unfolds will go a long way in helping you to identify the fraud and protect yourself. Here’s how fraudsters typically go about it.
Step One: Oiling Up the Pig
Oftentimes, a pig butchering scam will begin with a stranger contacting you unexpectedly and trying to build rapport. The pig butcher may create a fake identity and present themselves as a seasoned investor or knowledgeable professional. Over a long period, the fraudster may text you regularly to strike up a conversation and build a connection. Usually, the messages will be about things unrelated to crypto such as personal life to enable them to build trust and credibility. Eventually, the scammer will shift the topic of conversation towards crypto. They may start by asking if you have a crypto or investment account.
Step Two: Sharpening the Blade
Before introducing a promising investment opportunity, the pig butcher will establish a sense of trust. Common tactics scammers use to build trust include impersonation. They use official-sounding titles and flattery and invest time to build a trust bond. To encourage you to invest, the fraudster may say they have an important connection to financial authorities. They may also send screenshots of the money they have allegedly earned. They talk about fancy vacations, fast cars, and even private planes. Also, they could even offer to trade alongside you. After you are onboard, the scammer will have you transfer assets using a fraudulent platform that wires them the money.
Step Three: Butchering the Kill
The scammer will now capitalize on the relationship they’ve established with you. Following the initial investment, they will urge you to make larger investments. To enhance legitimacy, they could display attractive returns, send phony financial statements, or allow you to make a small withdrawal. Once you have invested and the scammer has collected a substantial sum, the stock you invested in might nosedive or the platform you used may lock the funds you were using. Sometimes, the fraudster may feign empathy and try again to get you to invest in a new scheme. In case you become aware of the fraud, the financial criminal will disappear and may delete their online presence.
Signs of a Pig Butchering Crypto Scam
When it comes to avoiding pig butchering scams, prevention is key. While you can file a crypto scam lawsuit after you have been a victim, there is no guarantee you will recover your assets. This is why you should learn how to detect a pig butchering scam early on. Below are some signs to watch out for. Unsolicited contact: Seemingly harmless texts or Whatsapp messages from strangers may be designed to get you to lower your guard and lure you into a conversation. Avoidance of video chat: If someone you have been messaging repeatedly avoids video-calling with flimsy excuses, there is a good chance they are not the person on the profile photo. Unexpected investment opportunity: Be careful if an acquaintance you have met online shares an unexpected investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true. Also, exercise caution if the financial product is unknown or confusing. Request for personal financial information: Be cautious when a stranger you have met online starts making financial inquiries. Never share sensitive personal information such as your address, bank account details, or social security number with strangers. Promises of guaranteed riches: When it comes to investments, exaggerated claims, elevated emotions and talks about guaranteed riches are red flags you should never ignore. False sense of urgency: Scammers tend to create a sense of urgency to pressure you into quick decisions. To protect yourself, be sure to do your research and think things through before taking any action. Unknown trading platform: Beware of unknown asset trading platforms. Before moving any money, ensure you do your research and ask the right questions.
If you have been the victim of a pig butchering scam, contact law enforcement as soon as possible. Reporting the incident to the relevant authorities can assist you in recovering your funds. It will also help to prevent others from falling victim to the same scam. Normally, lawyers cannot help in pig butchering scams since the fraudster you interacted with is probably not located in your country. However, if you have been a victim of other crypto scams such as FTX or Bittrex, you may have a case. Contact our lawyers today for a free case evaluation.