Published May, 22 2023

Pig Butchering Crypto Scam: What You Need to Know

If you receive a DM (direct message) or text message from someone you don’t know, the best thing you can do is ignore it or delete it. That’s because it could be part of a ‘pig butchering’ scam.  This scam is alluding to the process of letting a pig get nice and fat before butchering […]

If you receive a DM (direct message) or text message from someone you don’t know, the best thing you can do is ignore it or delete it. That’s because it could be part of a ‘pig butchering’ scam. 

This scam is alluding to the process of letting a pig get nice and fat before butchering it. Often, these fraudsters will reach out to their target, take some time to gain their trust, then manipulate them into sending large amounts of money before absconding with their funds.

Pig butchering and other crypto scams have grown more prevalent in the past few years. Knowing what to look for and how to avoid them could wind up saving you thousands of dollars.

How the Pig Butchering Crypto Scam Works

Fattening the Pig

The first step in the ‘pig butchering’ scam is the contact phase. This is usually a message out of the blue. It might be a text message, a WhatsApp message, or a direct message on social media. The goal here is to develop a rapport with the intended target. 

Scammers will offer an explanation as to why they’re reaching out. They were given your name by a friend and wanted to reach out about an exciting opportunity. Something along those lines. A cursory review might result in realistic photos showing a glamorous lifestyle but don’t be fooled. These are fakes intended to grab your attention.

Over time, the huckster will continue to send messages to their victim about anything other than money. They’ll talk about their “personal” lives, send messages about their activities, or even send pictures depicting them as good samaritans or volunteers. It’s all a sham.

The goal is to gain as much information about their target as possible with the intention of using it later to their advantage. Eventually, the scammer will switch the conversation over to money, gently inquiring about crypto investments.

Prep Work

Now it’s time for the scammer to start laying the groundwork for the slaughter. The purpose of prep work is to convince the target they have a can’t-miss crypto opportunity while confirming the victim has the money necessary to invest.

One way they’ll go about doing this is by sharing screenshots of their “brokerage account.” Again, these are fakes meant to lure the victim further into the trap. They’ll talk about how their “financial guy” has some great intel on the most recent crypto set to explode.

They’ll ask the target to confirm their brokerage account information or request that the victim provide validation that they can afford to buy the crypto or project their “financial guy” recommends. Once they have that information, the scammer will move on to the next step, getting the target to buy.

The scammer will continue to send information regarding how their crypto investments have resulted in great gains and untold riches. If the victim is still showing interest, the scammer will continue to dangle the bait, encouraging the target to continue purchasing or transferring assets. 

Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that these assets are completely fake and being controlled by the scammer or someone they know. However, the end goal is always the same: get the victim to put more and more money toward the aforementioned opportunity.

Time for the Slaughter

Now that they have the victim by the tail, it’s time to bring the pig to the butcher. At this point, the scammer will continue to show their amazing “gains,” encouraging the target to continue to deposit more and more into this incredible crypto project.

When the victim does so, the trap is sprung. The “can’t miss” project will dissolve or the crypto will tank. Perhaps the platform the scammer recommended makes it so the victim can’t access their funds. Whatever the case, the scammer has your money and is likely to disappear, leaving the victim with a mountain of losses and a horrible feeling in the pit of their stomach.

What to Watch For With Pig Butchering Scams

There are plenty of ways to avoid becoming a victim of a pig-butchering crypto scam. Here are some warning signs to watch for as well as ways you can keep yourself and your crypto safe:

Unknown and unexpected

Don’t answer messages from strangers or unknown people. The conversation may seem innocent enough at first, but it can quickly turn to finances and wind up costing a lot of money.

No video conversations

If the conversation initiator refuses to speak face-to-face, there’s a good chance they’re not the person they’re claiming to be. End the conversation immediately.

Financial inquiry

Never share personal financial information with someone you haven’t met in person. Especially if it’s a new friendship or romantic relationship. If they ask for financial information, immediately end the relationship.

Investment invitation

Even if the scammer doesn’t ask for your personal financial information, they might ask you to invest in specific cryptocurrencies or crypto-related projects. If this is the case, there’s a good chance the project is fake and you’re simply moving funds from your account into theirs before they ghost you.

Incredible returns

If someone is promising you incredible returns or “guaranteed” profits, you might be dealing with a scammer. Often, these scammers will prey on your emotions to get you to bite. “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take your wife on that vacation she’s always wanted?” Avoid these people at all costs.

Avoid the Butcher

When it comes to avoiding the pig butchering scheme, your best bet is to avoid the butcher completely. Ignore any unsolicited or unwelcome conversations, especially when they involve investments. When it comes to buying cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, sometimes the simplest way is the best.

Take your cash, head to a Bitcoin Depot BTM, and trade your fiat currency for Bitcoin. If you don’t want to talk to anyone, you don’t have to. It’s quick, convenient, and easy. And best of all, you choose how much you want to buy, with no pressure from us.