Looks like we need to learn some new cryptocurrency scam jargon. A scam known as “pig slaughter” — a reference to how a target is “fattened” before being slaughtered or slaughtered — that started in China is now spreading across borders and languages, evolving into a global fraud. In Chinese it is known as “sha zhu pan”, which translates to “slaughter pigs” in English. It is essentially a cyber crime, including relationship and investment fraud. The unsub builds a relationship with the victim for months, often romantically but not necessarily akin to fattening a pig, before enticing them to invest in a bogus company and, metaphorically, slaughter the victim.
According to Global Anti-Scam Organization, a volunteer-led advocacy group, dating app and social media scammers spend weeks preparing targets to interest them in investing in cryptocurrency, forex, gold and other commodities. The scammers do not directly ask for money, but instead send victims to a fake investment website or app that they operate. The scammers convince and harass victims to deposit more money into their own “account” within the fake platform using various tricks in the name of “customer service”. Ultimately, the victims cannot withdraw their money.
The Global Anti-Scam Organization even uploaded a video to YouTube entitled, “What’s Behind the Wave of Online Relationship Investment Fraud Today?” The caption states that the scammers “come from the telecom, online fraud housing industry in Southeast Asia and are run by Chinese syndicates”. The caption adds that reports of the scam “started to rise in China in mid-2019 and it quickly became a resounding success for the scam industry, which dubbed it the “Pig Butchering Plate.”
Watch the video here to understand how the scam works:
A few months ago, one of the victims, a 22-year-old, poured out his heart in a Reddit post to warn others about the scam. “It’s a slow scam, they first gain your trust, make you withdraw some money to feel confident and then slowly take them off you until you have nothing left,” the victim wrote in the Reddit post, adding that “ these things usually involve romance”. The victim then explained in detail what had happened.
Find the full message here:
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, romance scam complaints rose in 2021 from 2020, based on consumer reports to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The number of romance frauds reported to the FTC increased by about 70 percent from 2020 to 56,000 in 2021. According to data from the FTC, victims reported losing $547 million to such fraud, an increase of 78 percent from the previous year.
The report also quoted a data researcher at the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Emma Fletcher, as saying that COVID-19 may have provided a useful excuse for scammers to say they can’t meet in person, fueling the ongoing expansion may have promoted romantic scams.
However, there are a few ways you can avoid falling prey to this scam and other cryptocurrency scams in general.
Be careful when making friends online. Do not believe in financial tricks such as “fixed income with no loss”, “low investment and huge returns”, etc. Do not be greedy and resist the temptations of gambling and high return investments. Do not transfer money to accounts or to people you do not know. To avoid falling into the trap, be careful when transferring money to strangers.
Manage all your assets yourself, do not delegate this responsibility to others. Digital assets, as a growing investment market, come with many investment risks. Learn all about digital assets and participate wisely if you want to reap the rewards.
Beware of phishing. Invest your digital assets in well-known and creditworthy platforms. The most important thing to remember is to recognize the legitimate web URL of the platform and to avoid phishing websites that imitate the official exchange platforms.
When people realize that they have been duped, they must act quickly to stop the loss. If the scammers contact the victim, their goal should be to gather as much information as possible about the fraudster’s identity, location, etc. Immediately report this to the police.