The Pig Butchering Scam: A New Form of Crypto Fraud =

The so-called ‘pig butchering scam’ is on the rise worldwide, and victims are now also reported in the Netherlands.

The pig butchering scam combines two types of fraud that we have known for a long time, namely investment fraud and dating fraud. However, the combination of these is new . This new form of crypto fraud will therefore not only give you a broken heart, but also a plundered account.

In this blog you can read everything you need to know about this new form of scam and especially what you should pay attention to so that you do not become a victim!

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  • View quickly
  • What is the Pig Butchering Scam?
  • What should you pay attention to?
    • The lure technique
    • The scam method
  • Large-scale organization
  • Who is behind the Pig Butchering Scam?
  • Conclusion

In the video below you can see an experience story of a YouTuber who fell victim to the pig butchering scam:

 

 

What is the Pig Butchering Scam?

Pig butchering scam, or also Sha Zhu Pan in Chinese, is a method of fraud originating in Asia that entices dating app users to participate in various types of fraudulent investments , such as financial investments and investments, gambling games, and other types of fake investments. Recently, crypto fraud has also been added.

This form of fraud owes its name to the sophisticated way in which the scammers fatten their victims – ‘the pigs’ – so to speak . Unlike traditional dating scams that often target divorced, middle-aged people, this online fraud mainly targets younger people with an interest in technology and crypto.

The scammers follow a pre-rehearsed plan . They create an account on a dating app and often pretend to be rich, handsome and interested. In this way they try to gain trust. This phase is also compared to the fattening of pigs. When a certain level of emotional base is reached, the scammers will try to entice their victim into investing. The last phase of this fraud revolves around collection, in which an attempt is made to extract as much money as possible from the victim, i.e. slaughtering the pig.

Source: Global Anti Scam Organization Org

What should you pay attention to?

number of elements can be distilled from victims’ stories that are often used in pig butchering scams.

It all starts on a dating app, such as Tinder. After a match , the scammer builds up a (romantic) relationship with the victim within a few weeks. A lure technique is first used, after which the victim is persuaded to invest in crypto.
 

The lure technique

In order to gain the trust of the victim, a close bond is built up in a short time . This includes the following patterns:

  • You are greeted every day with ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’.
  • The scammer shares pictures of his/her food. This ‘home cooked’ food looks like it came straight out of a restaurant.
  • The scammer is the owner of a thriving business.
  • There is casual talk of spending tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars as if it were nothing (this makes you feel small).
  • Usually in the 2nd/3rd week of the contact an investment or trading platform is put forward.
  • The scammer has studied finance and has an uncle/aunt/brother/professor who taught him/her how to invest.
  • You are asked at some point what your material goals and dreams are, and then told that you are not dreaming big enough.
  • The scammer pretends that he/she has a lot of experience in trading, and knows exactly when is a good time to get in or out.
  • Also jokes are made about how ‘small’ your investment is, it is supposedly too small to create an investment plan for you.
  • When an event leads to big losses, he/she suggests that you borrow money while trading (margin trading) to make up for it quickly.
  • When you are supposedly forced by the platform to pay high amounts, the scammer very nicely offers to ‘help’ you, for example by paying half for you. However, you never see their money because they pay directly into your ‘account’.
  • The scammer also quickly makes you feel guilty when it comes to money.
  • Finally, it is noticeable that the scammer always has an excuse not to meet in person. Think of corona, bad experiences with exes, etc. In real life they can’t meet you because they are not where you think they are.
  • However, there are often calls or even video calls. It is important that the scammer’s number is forwarded to a local number. So you just see a Dutch 06 number, while calls are being made from abroad. An even trickier trick is used for video calling; many scammers use deep fake technology for this. s are then compiled using artificial intelligence, making it possible to swap the face of the scammer with that of someone else and it looks like you are making a video call with the scammer, but this is not his true face.

If there are some of these elements, of course there is not much to worry about. But especially if you encounter several of these elements together, you better be alert.

: 4 Girls 1 Boy/Shutterstock

 

The scam method

The next stage is convincing the victim to invest money in crypto . Once a lot of money has been transferred, the scammer runs off with the money , and you find out that it was not about love, but about a scam. This includes the following elements:

  • A characteristic is that the scammer is very active, very helpful and quick to respond, especially when it comes to investing. He/she is literally there for you 24/7.
  • When you make your first investment, you still have access to your account and you can easily add and debit money.
  • The scammer often offers high bonuses if you quickly invest 30-100% more by a certain date (e.g. next weekend).
  • Once you’ve invested significant amounts of money, the slaughter begins! You suddenly no longer manage to withdraw your money from your account.
  • The scammer then states that you must pay supposedly high amounts of taxes, reservations or verification fees before you can access the funds in your account.
  • The scammer also often gives excuses such as that your account is ‘frozen’, for example because you have not (properly) gone through the verification process. According to the scammer, you must transfer money as soon as possible, otherwise a certain percentage will be deducted from your investment.
  • Blackmail is often also used, for example with sexually tinted photos that you have previously sent to the scammer.
  • The moment you send large amounts, you will be told that you have sent it to the wrong address. The scammer or ‘customer service’ will then ‘help’ you by, for example, saying that unfortunately your money could not be found, but that you only have to pay 70% of the remaining balance. As a result, you transfer a large amount again!
  • Even if you pay everything that is asked for, the scammer will keep coming up with reasons to transfer even more money.

Large-scale organization

In summary, this form of fraud involves a well-organized plan, where everything runs in advance according to a rehearsed script that is tailored to your stereotype . Whether you are still a student, job seeker, or maybe you have been working for several years, have certain hobbies, a certain family background, …everywhere they have scripts that are finished to scam you.

This is a fairly large-scale organization with various branches, where everyone has their own division of tasks: managing the ICT, people who make money available, and the scammers who look for victims and rob their money. These people all receive special training for this work.

Who is behind the Pig Butchering Scam?

The pig butchering scam was first reported in China in early 2010, but this scam spread especially quickly after 2018 when many people became interested in online gambling and trading on exchanges in Asia. As of summer 2021, cases are also known in North America and Europe.

A Taiwanese pig butchering scam victim founded the Global Anti Scam Organization Org (GASO) in 2019 . The aim of the GASO is to expose the scammers behind the pig butchering scam and to help victims, for example by preventing them from paying even more money.

According to GASO , the scammers operate from Asian countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar, and are mainly controlled by Chinese criminals and sometimes by Taiwanese criminals . Those behind it also appear to be guilty of other forms of crime, such as labor exploitation and human trafficking, where people are forced to work in call centers under poor conditions for the pig butchering scam, a Reuters investigation found. These people were forced to create fake profiles on dating apps and social media and look for victims and lure them into investing in crypto.

The Chinese authorities have tracked down and closed these types of criminal workplaces several times. Now that this fraud has spread to the rest of the world, detection and prosecution is becoming more difficult for the authorities, because many governments do not properly regulate the approach to cross-border cybercrime. This reduces the chance that scammers will be caught and they can therefore continue with these practices.

Conclusion

The pig butchering scam is a new form of crypto fraud that combines dating fraud and investment fraud. Originally from China, this fraud encourages victims to invest in crypto after a relationship of trust has been established. At first it concerns small amounts, but because all kinds of cunning tricks are devised, you lose more and more money. In the end, the scammer runs off with your money. Victims have also reported in the Netherlands.

The lesson from this blog is that you have to be careful with online dating and crypto , and that you should always manage your money yourself and especially not leave it to someone you met online. Always read yourself well if you want to invest .

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header: Billion Photos/Shutterstock

 

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