The financial blow on the rise at the moment is the so-called “pig butchering”, or “the slaughter of the pig” in Portuguese. In it, scammers seek victims through social networks and present themselves as partners or friends that the victim has never talked to as a pretext to talk about investments.
The scam is being applied by WhatsApp and other social networks with an initial approach in which the scammer informs that he knows the victim from somewhere and somehow he has her contact saved on his cell phone. The message can be “hello, I have you on my contact numbers, looks like we met somewhere” or even making it seem like the message was an error “oh sorry I made a mistake”. Scam is also common on Tinder.
According to Luis Orellana, a specialist from the PDI (Police of Investigations of Chile) in an interview with the BBC, this is a new type of scam that uses the same characteristics of romantic scams applied on social networks.
“The methodology is new, but it uses the same characteristics of the amorous blows”, says Orellana. “The difference in this crime is the time spent by criminals to ‘fatten up’ the victim before ‘slaughtering’ them when they get the investment. It is mainly related to investments with cryptocurrencies or virtual currencies.”
The expert explains that the scammers want to make the conversations something real and start talking about various routine subjects. With this manipulation, victims come to trust what seems to be “the support you were looking for”.
With the victim’s trust, criminals don’t ask for the money, instead they introduce the victim to an investment app or website that they will feel comfortable putting their money in.
According to Orellana, the scammers manipulate the victim so that she believes in the benefits and profits she will get from her investments.
“Criminals say they want to help people provide a better life for their families. That kind of stuff makes them fall out and invest their fortunes in the platforms.”
But the truth is that these websites or apps are fake and completely controlled by criminals. The expert reports that in Chile many people have reported that the problem with these platforms is that it is time to withdraw profits and they cannot.
Grace Yuen of Gaso, an international organization that fights against such scams, explained to the BBC that these scams are often linked to dating pages.
“But not all scams are just romantic. We are now seeing a lot of victims who have met the criminals on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn — that’s to say the big ones, but really, they use any social network,” says Yuen.
According to Yuen, around 80% of victims of this type of scam have a university degree and include “all professions: from nurses and lawyers to computer specialists and telecommunications engineers. All are highly educated, typically 24 and even over 40 years of age. And now we are also looking at older victims.”
how to protect yourself
The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) passed some tips to protect yourself from the scam. Check it out below:
- Never send money, trade, or invest based on the advice of someone you’ve only met on the internet;
- Do not discuss your current financial situation with people you don’t know and trust;
- Do not give your bank details, document numbers, copies of ID or passport documents and any other personal information to anyone online or to a website that you do not know is legitimate;
- If an investment or online trading site promotes seemingly impossible benefits, chances are they are just that: impossible;
- Beware of people who claim to have unique investment opportunities and insist that you must act quickly.
With information from BBC
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