The Pig Butchering scam is a tricky form of online fraud where scammers befriend victims to gain their trust and then trick them into investing in cryptocurrency platforms that the scammers control. Sadly, the scammers eventually disappear, leaving their victims empty-handed.
We’ve discovered numerous crypto scams, many of which ultimately connect to these pig butchering schemes. The inherent nature of cryptocurrency facilitates scammers’ escape, thanks to blockchain’s full anonymity.
If you fall victim to a scam, identifying the culprits is nearly impossible. Moreover, recovering lost funds is highly uncertain because cryptocurrencies lack regulation and bank backing.
Warning signs of a pig butchering scam:
- Unexpected messages from strangers, especially those pushing to move the conversation elsewhere.
- Refusal to engage in video calls or providing various excuses to avoid them.
- Claims of having exclusive investment knowledge.
- Suspicious website URLs that don’t match official cryptocurrency exchange sites.
- Investment opportunities that sound too good to be true.
The best defense against these scams is caution. If you’re receiving messages from unknown people promising massive returns on unfamiliar crypto platforms, sever ties and cease communication immediately, as it’s likely a pig butchering scam.
How does it work?
Pig butchering scams are patient con schemes. They wait for the perfect opportunity, to earn trust in online relationships. When trust is established, they cash in. This process can span from weeks to months, with targets often losing thousands, even millions.
Building a trust
The first stage of the Pig Butchering scam involves establishing contact with the victim. This initial outreach often occurs through social media platforms, dating apps, or even random text messages.
Scammers, under the guise of friendly individuals seeking companionship or a new connection, reach out to their potential victims.
They employ a range of tactics to appear genuine, including using flattering language and engaging in seemingly casual conversations.
For example, John, a middle-aged individual, received an unsolicited message on a dating app from a woman named Emily. She struck up a friendly conversation, expressing interest in his hobbies and life.
Over weeks of chatting, Emily gradually built a sense of trust with John, making him believe they had a deep connection.
The Investment Pitch
As trust begins to develop, the scammer transitions into the second phase: introducing the victim to the world of cryptocurrency investment.
At this point, the scammer often presents themselves as having insider knowledge or exclusive connections within the cryptocurrency industry. They assure the victim that remarkable profits are well within reach.
For instance, Emily, after gaining John’s trust, shared stories about a friend who had supposedly made a fortune through cryptocurrency trading.
She convinced John that he too could achieve such success. Emily recommended a cryptocurrency trading platform with a sleek website and enticing promises.
She suggested John start with a modest investment of $5,000, assuring him that this was just the beginning of his financial journey.
The Disappearing Act
Once the victim is firmly convinced of the legitimacy of the investment opportunity and their trust in the scammer is at its peak, the scam enters its final and most critical phase.
The scammer executes a well-planned vanishing act, disappearing without a trace and taking all the funds the victim has invested.
In John’s case, he succumbed to Emily’s persuasion and invested a total of $10,000 in the cryptocurrency trading platform she recommended.
He believed he was making substantial profits as the numbers on the platform’s dashboard continued to rise. However, when John tried to withdraw his earnings, he encountered a series of excuses and technical issues.
Soon after, Emily stopped responding to his messages, and the trading platform’s website disappeared. John was left devastated, having lost not only his initial investment but also the promise of a bright financial future.
Protective steps against pig butchering scams
Recognizing key indicators of a pig butchering scam is essential, but safeguarding yourself from their risks holds even greater importance.
Preventing your hard-earned money from ending up in the hands of online scammers is our top priority. To ensure this doesn’t happen, we’re committed to equipping you with the necessary tools and strategies.
Enable two-factor authentication for your crypto wallets
Enabling 2FA for your crypto wallet ensures that only you can access it. Since your crypto wallet is a form of financial management, treating its security similarly to your bank accounts is crucial.
With two-factor authentication, an extra layer of verification is needed to access your account. This adds a significant hurdle for cybercriminals and scammers attempting unauthorized access.
Even if they manage to know the login details, they’ll likely fail the additional verification step. This could involve a biometric scan or an SMS verification code sent solely to the account’s legitimate owner – you.
We highly advise activating this feature if your crypto wallet supports it—usually, most applications requiring login now incorporate such security measures.
This not only safeguards against scammers but also deters unauthorized access from individuals seeking to exploit your cryptocurrencies.
Imagine misplacing your phone in a park with the screen unlocked. No worries—biometric scans like fingerprints pose an obstacle for those who try to access your crypto wallet.
This security approach is valuable not only for crypto wallets but for all your accounts on various platforms. We strongly recommend enabling 2FA across the board to ensure exclusive access to your accounts.
Never share your wallet’s seed phrase
Sharing your seed phrase is akin to handing scammers full account access. The pig butchering scammer’s fake crypto exchange might request it under the guise of “verification,” a ploy to trick you into giving them access to your wallet.
Please note that: Legitimate crypto exchanges typically never ask for your seed phrase.
Your seed phrase comprises words you write down or remember to access your account when login details are forgotten. It acts as an emergency login method and is utilized when switching devices.
Each person’s seed phrase is unique, serving as a fail-safe. Never disclose your wallet’s seed phrase, especially to unfamiliar individuals.
As stated earlier, creating an exchange account never involves sharing your wallet’s seed phrase. At most, deposits are required, not linking accounts.
Should anyone demand your seed phrase, halt all communication immediately. Responding risks hacking and loss of your coins.
Watch out for phishing attempts
When signing up on these fake platforms endorsed by pig butchering scams, it is evident that you will have to share your email address. Unfortunately, crypto scammers can sell this data to other scammers.
They use it for phishing emails, and sometimes text messages if you’ve provided your phone number during registration.
These scammers capitalize on every opportunity, often selling the data on the dark web or to fellow scammers who profit from these email address lists.
Never click on emails appearing suddenly from unknown sources. If the content triggers panic, like account breaches or issues, it’s likely a phishing scam. These scammers exploit panic psychology, coercing users into specific actions, typically:
A. Forcing you to click a link or button within the email. These scam emails often claim to fix problems. An example is a phishing email alleging issues with your Amazon account, urging you to click a button for resolution or verification. This redirects you to a fake Amazon page where they capture your details, potentially allowing unauthorized access if you lack 2FA.
B. Urging you to open an email attachment. This occurs when scammers pose as coworkers or send attachments for immediate review. A common red flag is unfamiliar sender names within your company. These attachments often contain malware that compromises your computer and invades your privacy by stealing data.
C. Requesting money via transfer or crypto payment. In cases of sextortion or blackmail emails, scammers claim to possess sensitive files from your computer. While these emails can seem convincing, they’re mass-sent with the aim of duping recipients. Never send money to scammers, as these claims are false under any circumstances.
Do not fall for fake success stories
In some instances, individuals claim to have multiplied their portfolio by 100x in just weeks. Curiously, they often promote a fake coin or crypto exchange at the bottom of the post, suggesting these platforms aided their achievements.
It’s probable that their 100x gain didn’t result from trading, but rather from stealing crypto via the scam exchange. This can lead others to aspire to the same success, following in the poster’s footsteps.
Here’s the truth, frequently, the person behind the scam is the one making such posts.
If a post flaunts success and is followed by a promotion for a dubious platform, it’s not a genuine achievement tale. Legitimate success stories do not contain links to unknown sites and promote promises that you can also replicate their results.
True achievers don’t share their gains so easily, they don’t want you to have a piece of their pie. Avoid interacting with these fake stories or risk multiplying your funds negatively and losing it all.
Report the scam to prevent others from falling victim
Lastly, but certainly not least, reporting the scam is the most significant step.
You may be lucky to avoid the pig butchering scam, but the next person might not be as fortunate, and they could fall victim. This might entail substantial financial loss and a lengthy recovery process. These unfortunate outcomes are easily avoidable through the simple act of reporting the scam.
Protect others from falling into these traps. Though seemingly small, the action of reporting the scam holds immense value for others.
By doing so, you aid in informing authorities of fraudulent pig butchering scams, making sure they investigate it in order to prevent others from becoming victims.
Wondering where to report the scam? Use the links we’ve provided below.
- Google Safe Browsing: Report a Phishing (Link)
- Internet Crime Complaint Center: File a Complaint (Link)
- Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Complaint Form (Link)
- Securities and Exchange Commission: Report Suspected Fraud (Link)
- Federal Trade Commission: ReportFraud (Link)
Additionally, we’ve compiled a dedicated directory of where to report online scams, encompassing anti-online scam entities from various countries.
To increase the helpfulness of your report, provide the authorities with comprehensive details. You’ve conducted your research—pass it on to the right channels, and let them take action.
Now that you know everything there is to know about pig butchering scams, we trust that when faced with another dubious platform, you’ll avoid it and promptly report it to authorities.
This proactive approach prevents scams, ensuring fast takedowns of the fraudulent website before scammers can deceive individuals.
With this, the potential victim count will decrease, and scammers will think twice about launching another pig butchering scam. We wish you a protected online browsing session and a wonderful day ahead! Stay safe.