U.S FBI Warns of Increasing “Romantic ” Crypto Scams

Estimated read time 5 min read
  • The police warns individuals as “pig butchering ” scams dramatically grows popular and effective
  • The Sha Zhu Pan scammers poach their prey from social media sites ie. Tinder, those looking for love, look out!!! 

The Crypto exchange Coinbase recently made a blog claiming to work closely with law enforcement partners across the globe to protect customers from an array of targeted cyber attacks mainly “Pig butchering”.The scam’s name comes from the Chinese term ‘Sha Zhu Pan’.

Large organized groups of scammers operate primarily out of South East Asia, often in China. The ‘hosts’ are specifically trained on how to deal with certain types of people with different profiles. There is a lot of psychology behind it that they learn how to exploit for financial gain.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation also released a statement warning individuals against the rising popularity of the scam. This method of cyber attack takes the long route to its success, displaying the scammer’s determination. The US police and the Lake wood police have had several cases reported to them concerning Pig slaughtering.

Talking about the rising complaints of the scam, Erin West, a veteran prosecutor with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said, “Over the past month, we have become flooded with pig butchering cases. Not just [victims] local to Santa Clara county but nationwide and even worldwide.

 Lakewood police officer explained:

“the pig butchering scam usually starts on social media or dating sites like Linkedin and Tinder, where the scammer finds and convinces the victim to hand over some funds.”

The name “pig butchering” reflects the selfish narcissistic attitude of the hackers. The method is surprisingly effective and hard to detect. The scammer will first build trust, feed you promises of romance and riches and even create a false bond of understanding between you. When the victim is blinded, the scammer cuts them off, vanishing with their money.

The APD detective states :

“The scammer works to make an emotional relationship with their victim with the end goal of persuading the victim to invest cryptocurrency into a fictitious website controlled by the scammer,” 

How Does The Pig Butchering Scam Work

The individuals are hunted on social media sites, and dating sites to be more specific. The scammer does not immediately scam the victim (the pig) but first builds a rapport and builds a relationship. The scammers will even take weeks and months to introduce the pig to the fake online investment company, that is run and managed by the scammers.

The host advises the prey to invest a decent amount of money on the online platform. At first, the victim is able to invest money and even withdraw the funds. The scammers do this to instill confidence in the victim about the legitimacy of the platform so that they feel comfortable ‘investing’ significantly more money in the future. 

The pig gains interest and motivation to easy money and deposits a larger amount of money, hundreds and even thousands. At this point, the victim will not be able to withdraw any money due to petty excuses the scammers will come up with about the system. The scammers then entice the victims to deposit larger amounts in order to earn more which is of course a lie.

When larger amounts are invested the pig might withdraw but only if it’s a small amount of money. Do they want to risk refunding the victim a small amount to keep the relationship intact? If the amount the victim is requesting is small, and if the scammers stand to profit considerably more in the future, it can be well worth the risk.

The victim will usually have a separate line of communication with ‘customer support from the platform (obviously not aware that the ‘host’ is in on it).

How to avoid becoming a victim

  • Don’t send money, trade, or invest with a person you have only met online
  • Don’t speak about your financial position or investments
  • Don’t share personal information with people or online persons whom you haven’t validated or don’t trust
  • Be wary of large-interest earnings on short-term investments

Characteristics of the Sha Zgu Pan Scammers 

  1. The scammers tend to appear to you naturally from social media platforms, build a rapport and aren’t afraid of sharing pictures 
  2. Both men and women are targeted and the scammers use profiles from both genders 
  3. They often talk about themselves and ask personal questions to build trust with the prey” what are your goals and dreams ?, Do you have a job ?”. they go a mile ahead and even encourage you in life.
  4. They casually mention spending significant amounts of money in Forex and Cryptocurrency to make you feel less successful compared to them. 
  5. They will maintain both simple and deep conversations with you for weeks or months. Casually mentioning the investments they make in cryptocurrency making sure you gain interest

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