Ask Amy: What is a “pig butchering” scheme?

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

It’s a bizarre name for a bizarre type of scheme. The FBI is warning about the elaborate way people are losing money and they are calling it a “pig butchering” scheme. This is related to a case the KPRC 2 Investigates team is looking into involving cryptocurrency.

How the “pig butchering” scheme works

Here’s what the FBI wants you to know about this process. The fraudsters make contact with their victims on various social media or dating applications (either spoofing long lost contacts known to the victim or posing as a potential friend or romantic partner) and often spend time gaining the victim’s confidence and trust.

  • The victims are then coached through the investment process and encouraged to make continuous deposits.
  • The fake websites/apps allow the victims to track their investments and give the impression they are growing exponentially.
  • When the victims attempt to cash out their investments, they are told they need to pay income taxes or additional fees, causing them to lose additional funds.
  • The victims are unable to retrieve their purported investments and often lose contact with the fraudsters, either due to the closing of the fraudulent website or the fraudster ceases contact with the victim.

The FBI has identified potential ways individuals can recognize this activity

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
  • Verify the validity of any investment opportunity from strangers or long-lost contacts on social media websites.
  • Be on the lookout for domain names that impersonate legitimate financial institutions, especially cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • Misspelled URLs, often with a slight deviation from the actual financial institutions’ website, may be fake.
  • Do not download or use suspicious-looking apps as a tool for investing unless you can verify the legitimacy of the app
  • If an investment opportunity sounds too good to be true, it likely is.

Many times, victims connect with these fraud investors on social media. That’s what happened to one Conroe man after an investment coach he was following connected with him on social media. The coach was low-key and very helpful.

“I’ll coach you through everything and once you get well at it, I’ll even teach you how to teach someone else so it’s all about financial freedom and they say like a great big dream of you know, growing into cryptocurrency,” said Sanders.

COMING UP: Wednesday morning on KPRC 2 today, hear from Sanders about how he was tricked out of more than $30,000. Sanders did his homework for weeks before investing money, and still was the victim of this elaborate scheme. He even used the trusted website Coinbase.

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

If you believe you have been a victim of a Pig Butchering scheme or another fraudulent scheme, you can file a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.


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About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.