What is a Pig Butchering Scam in Crypto & How to Spot it?

What is a Pig Butchering Scam in Crypto and How to Spot it?

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Numerous scammers and other malicious attackers populate the crypto field, using the freedom and anonymity of blockchain technology for illegal activities. While encountering one of these malicious parties is highly likely, customers can stay safe by following several rules that minimise the chances of asset displacement or theft. 

Awareness is crucial in these scenarios, as scammers will have much less success dealing with knowledgeable customers who understand the nature and signs of a possible scam. This article will discuss a pig butchering scam – one of the newest and highly malicious scamming practices on the market. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Pig butchering scams are among the crypto industry’s most popular and hazardous scams. 
  2. This scheme mixes romance scams and investment fraud, luring victims into a false sense of security and convincing them to make large deposits to non-existent apps or platforms. 
  3. While pig butchering scams are highly dangerous, there are several ways to stay safe and avoid them outright. 

Understanding Pig Butchering Scams

Various scamming activities are not particularly new in the crypto market. Since the inception of cryptocurrencies, anonymous individuals have tried to convince unsuspecting victims to displace their assets unwittingly. These scammer individuals are not cyber attackers; they utilise “social hacking” to retrieve what they need. While numerous scams have been debunked and are generally identified by average users, new scams pop up almost every month. Thus, it is of utmost importance to stay ahead of the scammer curve. 

Pig butchering scams are the newest schemes on the crypto market. They are a mix of investment fraud and romance scams. Pig butchering scammers generally use social media or dating apps to identify potential victims of this activity. After finding an average citizen, they work rigorously to establish trust-based relationships with them. When the scammers create a false sense of security for their targets, they make investment advice, which is the heart of the scam. 

Thus, a pig-butchering crypto scam contains no hacking or other complex mechanisms. It’s all about getting in the heads of the scam victims and gaining their trust patiently. While the pig butchering scam is reminiscent of other well-known fraudulent activities, it is relatively fresh and has caused billions in damages. 

According to the FBI report, pig butchering scams are the most popular type of investment fraud, leading to 3.3 Billion dollars worth of money theft in 2022. 

Fast Fact

How Pig Butchering Scams Work

Let’s explore the specific nature of pig butchering scams and how they are carried out from beginning to end. 

Suppose we have a scammer X who has targeted user A on the dating platform. At first, scammer X will try its best to present itself as an honest and forthcoming individual without any ulterior motives. Once he succeeds in his efforts to gain trust, scammer X will casually mention the notion of utilising cryptocurrencies to acquire more financial freedom. 

Naturally, user A is chosen specifically not to have any experience in the field of cryptocurrencies. Thus, user A will seek advice from its trustworthy “friend” in scammer X. This is where the scammer will point user A toward a fraudulent investment app or investment platform, which most probably exists only as a front. If user A suspects no foul play and follows the advice, scammer X will convince user A to make an initial investment. 

At this stage, there are two possible developments. Either scammer X will try to take advantage of the situation instantly or take its time to gain additional trust and aim for the bigger prize. In the second scenario, scammer X will even let user A withdraw money several times to inform him that the platform is legitimate and its funds are completely safe. For complete legitimacy, user A might even have to pay fees for the app or the platform. Once the final trust layer is firmly established, scammer X will convince user A to distribute as much money as possible on the fictitious platform. After that, scammer X and the distributed money will disappear simultaneously. 

The above-outlined example is a simplified but effective representation of pig butchering scams in the crypto landscape. However, it is important to note that pig butchering scams often have more dire consequences, including identity theft and even human trafficking victims. So, this malicious activity is extremely dangerous and should be approached carefully. 

Steps To Avoid Pig Butchering Schemes

While pig butchering scams are a massive problem in the crypto landscape, they can be easily avoided with enough diligence and insight. The first and most important step is to be aware of such cases and keep in mind that pig butchering scams happen almost every hour worldwide. Below, this article presents additional ways to avoid pig butchering scams altogether. 

Conduct Due Diligence At All Times

It is widely known that the digital landscape is a great home for scammers, as they can pose as other individuals without any legal constraints. Thus, users might stumble upon scammers in various ways and on numerous virtual platforms. Scammers might target people on social media, like Facebook and Instagram, dating apps like Tinder and Bumble or even through professional communities on crypto exchanges. So, any foreign individual who contacts users has a theoretical chance to be a malicious attacker. 

Thus, it is important to conduct due diligence. In the case of pig butchering scams, users must verify the validity of a given individual and their suggested platform or application. Even the slightest cause for concern should be examined carefully. If the individual at hand is refusing to provide their identification, this is a massive red flag that should not be taken lightly. After all, searching for the platform or application suggested by unknown individuals only takes several minutes and verifying their validity through online reviews. However, some elaborate scammers even feature fictitious user reviews to increase the credibility of their fraudulent platforms or applications. So, it is advisable to conduct comprehensive research and take slightly more time to vet the unknown personalities and software before committing any cash or other valuable assets. 

Apply Professional Scepticism 

Secondly, it is crucial to exercise scepticism when dealing with questionable individuals. Aside from conducting research, it is important to understand the early signs of fraudulent behaviour to avoid disappointment or potential asset losses. Scammer individuals mostly showcase limited information about themselves and avoid mentioning any precise details about their lives. 

Additionally, scammers often ask you about personal information, which is normally outside social etiquette. Thus, scammers will often showcase overly aggressive behaviour to get closer to the victims quickly. So, spotting the early signs and conducting background checks is important. It is also vital to stop the FOMO (fear of missing out) behaviour despite lucrative promises provided by the scammers. Remember, if an investment proposition seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

While all of this might initially seem overwhelming, experienced users will have no trouble identifying potential scammers. However, acquiring a crypto scam lawyer to walk you through the basics and increase your knowledge related to malicious activities is also advisable for extra safety. Additionally, you can increase security awareness by educating yourself on various topics. The most vital subjects include securing crypto wallets, conducting safe transactions and utilising only reputable platforms. 

Final Takeaways

As the crypto landscape grows, scammers and other fraudulent individuals are developing new ways to steal assets from unsuspecting users. The pig butchering scam is the most common and dangerous scammer practice in the crypto field in 2023. Thus, it is important to approach cryptocurrency investments carefully and apply due diligence before committing funds to a lesser-known crypto app or platform. After all, a simple 5-minute verification could save you from massive financial losses.

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