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What is Pig Butchering Scam? How To Spot and Protect Yourself?

The "pig butchering scam" involved an internet romance, fraudulent cryptocurrency returns, and human trafficking, resulting in a woman losing millions of dollars.

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Pig Butchering Scam: An internet romance, fraudulent cryptocurrency returns, and human trafficking are all part of the “pig butchering scam” that cost the Indian-American woman her millions of dollars in savings.

Software expert Shreya Datta, 37, of Philadelphia, fell victim to a cryptocurrency romance scam in which she lost around Rs 4 crore ($450k), leaving her heavily indebted.

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Datta started dating French wine dealer Ancel using the dating app Hinge, according to news agency AFP. They switched over to WhatsApp right away, where Ancel purposefully deleted his Hinge profile to trick Datta into believing he was in love.

Ancel took advantage of Datta’s divorce to lure her into a profitable retirement plan backed by cryptocurrencies. She started putting her money into an app that seemed to be authentic for exchanging cryptocurrency.

Only until the software asked for a personal “tax” on withdrawals did suspicions start to grow. Ancel’s actual identity as a German fitness influencer was discovered by Datta’s brother, who lives in London.

According to the FBI, over 40,000 people lost $3.5 billion in bitcoin fraud. However, since some victims may have underreported the amount out of embarrassment, the actual number may be greater.

What is Pig Butchering Scam?

The “pig butchering scam” gained notoriety in 2022 after a guy lost $1 million following his initial WhatsApp communication with the con artist posing as an old colleague.

The scam’s name, “Shāz Hū Pán” in Mandarin, translates to “pig butchering,” and it has its origins in Southeast Asia. Scammers using cryptocurrencies look for victims on social media and dating websites.

The pig’s fattening up and the victim’s subsequent theft of money—butchering—are the reasons for the parallel.

A direct message on social media or an SMS from an incorrect number might be the first signs of a fraud. Scammers might even pretend to be a long-lost acquaintance of the victim.

How Does It Operate?

The fraudsters often create bogus accounts on dating apps like Tinder and WhatsApp. They then pose as being kind, loving, and affectionate in order to win the victim’s confidence and convince them to give money for phoney job and investment chances.

The con artist assures the victim that they will profit from insider information or investor expertise. The con artist then instructs the victim to download an app or go to a website in order to exchange cryptocurrencies.

In an effort to win over additional trust, the con artist will first urge the victim to take out a portion of the “profits.” It is suggested that the victim add extra cash. The victim discovers that the platform is fraudulent when they try to withdraw additional money later and the programme demands them to pay fees or taxes; at that point, the transactions disappear from the blockchain.

According to a Forbes investigation, the money is sent outside to transnational criminal groups in Cambodia and Myanmar who use trafficked victims as slaves to run the internet fraud.

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How Can I Spot Pig Butchering Scam?

Wrong Phone Numbers: The con artists pose as trying to initiate contact with someone else. Reject unwanted text messages regardless of the con artist’s claims. Block, report, and post on social media the number and profile.

Cryptocurrency Guarantee: Before tricking a victim into purchasing a cryptocurrency, scammers first need to gain their confidence. Avoid investing in businesses that promise bigger returns, and avoid visiting websites that are endorsed by internet contacts.

Trading: The con artist will invite the victim to download a cryptocurrency app and make a small initial investment in order to trade with them. After that, the con artist will ask the victim to exchange with them.

Expensive presents: Magnificent promises, like as presents or lavish trips, can entice the victims.

How Can You Keep Yourself Safe?

  • On dating apps, social media, or WhatsApp, never respond to unknown calls.
  • It is advisable to double-check URLs or the official website before making any investments, including cryptocurrency, and to conduct research on investments to avoid typos.
  • Before installing the app, confirm its validity. There have also been reports of pig slaughtering hoax applications in the Google and Apple app stores.
  • Never provide personal financial information in exchange for a job offer or large profits.
  • Steer clear of impulsive, emotionally driven judgements.
  • Ask authorities and legal professionals for assistance in reporting the offence.
Sweta Bharti
Sweta Bharti
Sweta Bharti is pursuing bachelor's in medicine. She is keen on writing on the trending topics.

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