Statistics of crypto-romance / pig-butchering scam
Updated: Apr 16
Survey results from 550 victims as of Apr. 12 2022
Part 1 of 3
Losses internationally in USD (excluding 32 who lost under $2,500)
AVERAGE: $ 151,141
MEDIAN: $ 51,100
Since the purchasing power of USD is different in every country, below counts only respondents in the USA, the most number of victims for any one country within our organization.
USA AVERAGE: $ 210,760
USA MEDIAN: $ 100,000
To even out the differences in USD purchasing power, it might be better to show how much of the victim's self-reported net worth they lost, regardless of country:
Yes, more than 75% lost more than half their net worth, and a full third were driven into debt by the criminals.
*includes early withdrawals of fixed deposits and entire retirement accounts. How? In the US, retirement accounts (401k, IRA) can be taken out without penalty for 60 days, as when one is changing or 'rolling over' investment accounts. The Chinese scammers inform their flustered victims of this, and victims are convinced that this will only be a quick in-and-out. Also includes selling real and existing cryptocurrencies.
**other includes maxing out credit cards, accessing fixed deposits and salary advances.
It is quite common for victims to take 2-3 jobs and appeal for bankruptcy in the aftermath to stave off loan sharks.
Who are the victims?
Yes, 21% of victims are married, though not all had romantic relationships with their scammers (see in Part 2)
Contrary to other cyber frauds, most victims are surprisingly highly educated and adept with modern technology.
ShaZhuPan victims almost seem to be disproportionately highly educated and accomplished individuals. To note, only 13.1% of the US population have advanced degrees (masters AND doctorates).
Advanced degrees aside, victims range from various professions and are typically in their early and mid-careers. No field is immune. From our observation a common factor among victims may simply be their unfamiliarity with how regulated brokers should work, were at a vulnerable time of their lives, and have large savings.
The large impact on Asian communities probably reflects the scammers' fluency and perhaps increased effectiveness when using Chinese. They very often use Asian-looking profile pictures, though that is changing.
Over 1,200 victims of pig-butchering scams (ShaZhuPan) have connected with us since the creation of the website in July 2021, representing a total loss of more than a $256 million (as of April 2021).
The majority of the 550 survey respondents are from North America, Europe, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Victims who come to us are English and Chinese speakers outside of mainland China, but we know of large groups of victims in Japan, Korea, Thailand and South American countries that do not speak English or Chinese. Hence our survey results will underrepresent those countries.
Data analyzed by Vanessa