The Pig-Butchering Scam

a. k. a. Sha Zhu Pan (殺豬盤), Crypto Romance Scam, CryptoRom, Hybrid Investment Romance Scam, Romance Baiting
 
Targets on dating apps and social media are patiently groomed over weeks to become interested in investing in cryptocurrency, forex, gold, etc. The scammers do not ask for money directly, but instead introduce victims to a sham investment website or app where victims feel safe depositing funds. Conspiring with "customer service", the scammers cajole and bully victims into remitting increasingly large amounts of money using a series of psychological techniques and ruses on the website/app they control.

There are mainly 5 types of The Pig Butchering Scams. 

1. Fake Investment Websites and Apps

2. Fake brokers on MetaTrader 4 and 5 

3. Fake liquidity mining pools (decentralized apps) 

4. Group Investment

5. Gambling

Mobile banking application examples

The relationship-investment fraudsters follow a common modus operandi:

  1. Develop long-term relationships with targets on dating apps and social media

  2. Accompany targets a sham online investment platform --a website, a phone app, or increasingly now, a decentralized app. The sham platform has a live customer service chat.

  3. Come up with various scenarios to make victims deposit more and more funds into the sham platform. The relationship scammer, supposedly also invested together with the victim, pressures him/her to keep up, often lending money to the victim's fake account inside the sham platform.

  4. The relationship scammer, the customer service, and the website disappear once the victims realize that they cannot withdraw anymore, no matter how much fees they paid.

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Packaging

  • Presents themselves as good-looking Asian men/women 

  • Pretends to be a wealthy and successful business owner/investor 

  • Invests in cryptocurrency, forex, or gold as a hobby or side job 

  • Generously shares selfies, food, and location photos 

  • Is looking for a serious relationship 

  • Fluent in Chinese, usually broken English 

  • Lives in Chinatown, in your country, or overseas 

  • Likes to discuss market movements with you and sends screenshots of candlestick charts ("K-line" charts) or math formulas 

  • Too busy to meet yet, but promises to in the near future 

  • Too shy for video chats because of past trauma 

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Raising

  • Greets you every morning and every night 

  • Confesses their love within 1-2 weeks and calls you wife, baby, pet names, etc. 

  • Open about their own finances (assets are always much bigger than yours) 

  • Talks a lot about chance and fate 

  • Says you're not dreaming big enough, but you can dream together now 

  • Wants to exchange naughty pictures with you 

  • Invites you to a new third-party website or app they use to invest, or to a broker on MT4 / MT5 

  • Customer service is on third-party website or on WhatsApp, responsive 24/7 

  • Can lend you money, a demo account, or their account to try first 

  • Coaches you to buy crypto on a legitimate exchange 

  • Coaches you to send your crypto or wire funds into their platform 

  • Teaches you how to trade and when to trade on their schedule 

  • Once you deposit real money, you can earn and withdraw profits initially, even up to $10,000 

  • May suggest that you invite friends and family to this opportunity 

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Killing

  • You are informed of a limited-time bonus, overnight, or couples' package with a high minimum deposit 

  • To help you make the minimum, they or the platform will "loan" you money (all inside the platform) 

  • After $5,000 - $10,000, you can no longer withdraw because extra verification fees, taxes, etc. are needed 

  • You may suddenly lose a lot in one day 

  • When you complain, they guilt you, blame you, gaslight you, berate you, shame you or doubt your commitment to them 

  • They may claim that their investments are also stuck but assure you that in their experience, the platform will allow withdrawals after paying  

  • To help you pay, they "lend" you money (inside the platform) 

  • They coach you into borrowing from family/friends, selling your assets/home/car, or getting loans (saying it is for home improvement, not for investment) 

  • If you decline, they may threaten you with any sensitive pictures you've sent 

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Killed

  • Will tell you that you still owe more (withdrawal fee, tax fee, security fee, verification fee, etc.) 

  • They ask you to return money they "lent" you 

  • They deny being a scammer or claim they are victims as well 

  • They may even call you the scammer! 

  • They block you and the platform will lock you out of your account 

  • If any of this sounds familiar to you, you are a victim. Feel free to reach out to us for support via Live Chat in the bottom right corner of the screen. 

Fell for this scam? Report here

Why report here?
 

  • Join a community who really knows what you experienced

  • Find others scammed by same scam platforms or through third party platforms for group cases or class action

Victim Statistics

  • Average loss per victim: USD$121,926

  • 67% of victims are women ages 25 - 40

  • 32% of victims have graduate degrees

  • 41% of victims met their scammer on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp

Victim Statistics
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Proof provided by the victims

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Awareness