The cryptocurrency market continues to shake existing financial institutions, and industry insiders and regular people believe it will become mainstream over the next generation. On the other side, introducing cryptocurrency encourages dishonest parties to expand their illicit activities to steal other people’s money.
It is common knowledge that wherever there is cash, there are also frauds, and Cryptocurrency is no exception. It may be tough to comprehend how cryptocurrency thieves devise their schemes, which range from fraudulent social media crypto freebies and cybercrimes to Ponzi schemes and Bitcoin investment frauds.
An old cryptocurrency scam has been rebranded, causing traders and investors to lose millions of dollars worth of capital. Who is to blame? The event is referred to as “pig slaughtering.”
What precisely Is Pig Butchering?
Bitcoin continues to disrupt traditional channels, with experts and the general public anticipating broad use over the next generation. Yet, introducing cryptocurrency encourages terrible actors to expand their unlawful activities to continue taking people’s money.
Thieves exploit pig slaughter to earn victims’ trust before pressing them to transfer more of their bitcoin holdings into fraudulent digital wallets or websites the fraudster maintains.
“pig butchering” refers to a farmer fattening a pig before slaughtering it. Scammers, in this case, fatten their prey before going for the kill.
The FBI issued a warning early last year about a new bitcoin scam. According to the report, pig butchery is “organized by a ring of bitcoin scammers who mine dating apps and other social media for targets.”
How Does Pig Butchering Function?
Earlier last year, the FBI cautioned the public about a novel scheme involving bitcoin. The report revealed that some bitcoin scammers, who exploit dating apps and social media sites, were involved in the “organized pig butchery.”
Hunting the Pig
Scammers using the guise of pig butchering are known to target individuals on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble and instant messaging platforms. The initial step in the scam is catfishing, whereby the perpetrator adopts a false identity, often posing as an attractive and wealthy individual.
The scammer will employ various tactics to win over the target, flaunting their supposed wealth, including cryptocurrency and a luxurious lifestyle. This includes constantly showing off their supposed assets and success, hoping to lure in potential victims.
Raising the Pig
Pig Butchering, a novel bitcoin scam, operates differently from other fraudulent schemes that demand significant sums of money upfront. Instead, the perpetrators of Pig Butchering exercise patience and cunning, gradually persuading their victims to transfer their cryptocurrency holdings to bogus websites owned by the scammers.
The success of Pig Butchering depends heavily on the ability of the scammer to gain the victim’s complete trust. This stage of the scheme can take weeks or even months to complete. Scammers employ various tactics to build rapport with their targets, posing as friends or romantic partners to engender loyalty and trust.
Once the victim is thoroughly entranced, the scammer will reveal they have earned substantial profits from cryptocurrency trading or mining. They will then encourage the victim to join them in their investment venture or offer to teach them the secrets of successful trading. This way, the scammer can extract significant sums from their unsuspecting victim.
Killing the Pig
A new type of scam involving bitcoin has been reported, where the fraudsters lure their victims into investing by fattening them up with small returns. Once they have gained their trust, the scammer will be ready to slaughter them.
The scammers may direct their victims to a fake bitcoin platform and ask them to deposit funds into a fraudulent account. Some victims are convinced to invest more considerable sums with the promise of higher returns, and if they fall short of the minimum investment, the fraudster may offer to lend them money.
If the victim tries to withdraw their funds, the bogus site will block their account and demand additional payments for verification, service fees, or taxes before releasing their money. This tactic is used to extort more money from the victim.
Con artists can be relentless, and their greed knows no bounds. Those who follow the path of the “Tinder Swindler,” luring in victims with romance, may go so far as to harass their targets after duping them. They might threaten to release sensitive information or media that the victim may have shared and demand that they repay the “already-butchered pigs” they claimed to have lent.
Once these fraudsters have amassed enough profits, they may simply block their victim, leaving them unable to access their account on the phony cryptocurrency website or platform. This can cause significant emotional distress in addition to the financial losses the victim suffers.
How to Recognize Butchering Scams
Random Texts or Emails
A commonly employed tactic by scammers is to lure victims by offering them a chance to participate in discussions. These discussions often start with harmless small talk. Still, as the conversation progresses, the scammers try to gain the victim’s trust and eventually move on to more serious topics such as investments or financial opportunities. Unfortunately, this strategy could trick innocent users into falling for the scam more successfully.
Refusing Calls/Video Chats
Pig butchers, like other fraudsters, will use various excuses to avoid phone and video calls, such as claiming a death in the family or language barriers.
Scammer Demands Investment Winnings
Scammers often lure victims by promising significant gains and encouraging them to invest large sums of money. They exploit the victim’s greed and desensitize them to the risks involved, making them more willing to invest higher amounts than initially intended.
How To Protect Yourself From This Scam
According to the FBI’s April 2022 report, investors must take five crucial actions to avoid pig butchering hoaxes. US agency:
- Don’t trade, invest, or send money to strangers online.
- Never discuss your finances with strangers.
- It’s true if a trading or investment website promises tremendous profits.
- Avoid anybody who promises unique investing opportunities and urges you to act soon.
Chen Arad, COO of Solidus Laboratories, has emphasized the importance of not humiliating victims of the pig butchery scam. He warns that these criminals are excellent manipulators and that people must be cautious when dealing with high-risk investments like cryptocurrency. Those who have fallen victim to the scam can report it to the World Anti-Scam Organization and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.