We’ve got the scoop on a new scam that is affecting a significant number of people across the United States. Sadly, those involved have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in connection with a complex scam called “pig-butchering.” This shocking name comes from the premise that scammers are fattening up their victims with empty promises of friendship and riches before taking them to market by cutting them off and taking all their money.

This scam typically focuses on cryptocurrency investment fraud, but there are other methods of money-making the scammers could be involved with.

The con involves a series of meticulously planned out steps to deceive and exploit victims:

  1. Initiate contact: The scammers make seemingly innocent contact with their target, usually as simple as “hi” and when the victim responds with — “you have the wrong number,” the scammer keeps the conversation going, making the victim think they have a new friend.
  2. Gain trust: Scammers develop a relationship with the victim, which may be built off of the victim’s loneliness.
  3. Collect the money: The victim is persuaded to move funds into bogus financial services accounts that the scammer will eventually access, drain, and close out. These intricate and believable — but fake — accounts are a trademark of the pig-butchering scam.
    • Victims are asked to download or login to malicious financial apps or web platforms with what often looks like the real thing. Then, once the victim funds the phony account, they see their money ‘grow’. Sometimes the fraudsters will even allow the victim to draw out a small amount of funds, for reassurance.
  4. The scammer disappears: Once a substantial amount of money has been collected, that the scammer becomes unreachable… leaving their target with no way to recover the funds. The scammer has moved on, deleted the account, and possibly even created a new identity.

Understanding and sharing the complex details about the pig-butchering scam is key to fighting it. People are less likely to fall victim when they are aware of the red-flags that identify these terrible scams. We encourage you to pass on the information you’ve learned to your families and social circles.

If you are concerned that you have been a victim of fraud, call us right away at 1.800.542.3328.