‘Pig-butchering’ latest in evolving romance scams

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FBI logo.(MGN)
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 12:37 PM CDT
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(25News Now) - The FBI is a warning about a new scam that tugs on your heartstrings - and runs away with your money.

Called “pig butchering scams,” scammers build a friendship with their victims over time, using that trust to ask victims to invest in crypto or another online currency. It can also happen in romantic relationships, where the scammer acts as a “catfish,” to lure victims into thinking they are someone else.

The scam is an evolution from previous online scams - trading shady emails and links for months of relationship building.

FBI special agent Blair Diel investigates financial and white-collar crimes. He said scammers will communicate with dozens of victims, using the economy of scale to make the most money.

Diel said at first the investment will have huge returns. But once you try to withdraw that money, the scammer disappears with thousands in online cash.

“Now what we’re seeing is not only their ways of communicating with you are increasing and improving but their ways of conducting fraud and covering it on the back end,” he said.

He said the scammers are targeting older people who may be in need of a friend. They also target 30-40 years old who may be interested in crypto or other modern forms of currency.

Diel said red flags include receiving messages from someone you’ve never met before, moving the messages to an encrypted app like WhatsApp or WeChat, or if someone asking you to invest in an online currency you’re unfamiliar with.

If you suspect you’re a victim of fraud, Diel says to call your bank first and then local police.