Recently, Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, issued an urgent investor alert regarding a new cryptocurrency scam known as "Pig-Butchering." Originating in Southeast Asia, this scam involves scammers building victims' confidence through casual conversations, eventually convincing them of lucrative investment opportunities.
Kevin Wade, President and CEO of IntelliSystems, shared his thoughts on this deceptive scheme, stating, "When I first read this, I thought, well, it starts off as being more of a cryptocurrency and investment scam. But the more I read into it, I thought, well really everybody could be scammed in some way." He emphasized that the fastest-growing cyber-crimes are becoming socially oriented, where scammers gain victims' trust through conversations, leading to deception.
"Pig Butchering" operates by providing a constant stream of information to victims, akin to "fattening" them up with enticing investment opportunities. Scammers use various platforms, such as social media, text messages, emails, and messaging apps, to target potential victims based on publicly available data. They may pose as old friends, colleagues, public figures, or even romantic interests to initiate conversations about investments or cryptocurrencies.
The scammer's ultimate goal is to lure the victim into investing in a fake trading website or platform that shows fabricated profits that appear legitimate. By often allowing the victim to withdraw "profits" early, scammers build trust with the victim. They may even "lend" money to facilitate larger trades and continue to build trust in the relationship. However, once the victim is fully invested, the scammer will demand additional funds to cover withdrawal fees or taxes and then disappear with the money.
IntelliSystems urges consumers to be cautious online. “I think the best thing we can do – just like what the Secretary of State is doing here, is raise the awareness of how you can be scammed,” said Kevin. If you or someone you know suspects falling victim to a scam, report the crime to your bank and local law enforcement agency immediately.
Remember, in this digital age, staying informed and vigilant is crucial to safeguarding yourself and your assets. Together, we can combat these fraudulent activities and build a more secure online community.