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Pig Butchering: The Scam That Feeds on Trust

Pig butchering scams are a form of investment fraud that have seen a dramatic rise in recent years, both nationally and here at Empeople Credit Union. The term “pig butchering” metaphorically describes the process of fattening a pig before slaughter, which parallels the way scammers groom their victims to extract as much money as possible. These scams involve a long-term, elaborate con where fraudsters build trust with their victims over time before convincing them to invest in fraudulent schemes, typically involving cryptocurrency.

The scam usually begins with an unsolicited contact from a stranger, often through social media, messaging apps, or a stray ‘wrong number’ text. The fraudster then spends time building a relationship, sometimes romantic, to gain the victim’s trust. The fraudster shares supposedly personal stories, sends pictures, and creates a mask of authenticity and intimacy.

Once the scammer establishes trust with their victim, they gradually shift the conversation to investment opportunities. The scammer provides fake testimonials, falsified account screenshots, and other deceptive “proofs” to showcase the legitimacy of the investment.

Victims are often enticed with small initial returns to encourage larger investments. As the victim’s confidence grows, so do their financial contributions, until the scammer disappears with the accumulated funds. These schemes are sophisticated and can involve fake websites and apps to show the growth of investments, further deceiving the victim.

Awareness and education are key to avoiding these scams. By understanding the tactics used by fraudsters and exercising caution in online interactions, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of one of these devastating cons.

Remember, Empeople will NEVER ask for your online banking login information or send you a link to verify information – and no one else should, either. Never trust a link that you don’t recognize, or which asks for any personal information. If you suspect you are the target of a scam or suspicious behavior, contact us immediately at (800) 338-6739.