What is “Pig Butchering” romance scam?

The “Pig Butchering” romance scam is a type of fraud that combines elements of a romance scam and an investment scam. Here’s how it typically works:

  1. Romance Scam Phase: Scammers create fake profiles on dating apps, social media platforms, or chat apps. They build a romantic or friendly relationship with the victim over weeks or months. The scammer often poses as a successful, attractive individual who is located abroad.
  2. Investment Scam Phase: Once a relationship is established, the scammer introduces the idea of an investment opportunity. They may claim to have inside knowledge of financial markets or a guaranteed way to make money. The victim is encouraged to invest a small amount of money, which seemingly yields high returns quickly.
  3. Increasing Investments: Encouraged by the initial “success,” the victim is persuaded to invest more money. The scammer might also request financial assistance, citing personal emergencies or business troubles.
  4. Pig Butchering: This term comes from the idea of ‘fattening up the pig before slaughter’. The victim is the ‘pig’, and the scammer ‘fattens’ them by building trust and encouraging them to put in more money.
  5. Endgame: Eventually, when the victim is unable to invest more or starts asking for their money back, the scammer disappears. The victim is left without their funds, and the promised returns never materialize.

This scam is particularly insidious because it exploits both the emotional and financial trust of the victim. It’s named for the way scammers “fatten” their targets with false promises before taking all their money, akin to a farmer fattening a pig before slaughter.

This page was last updated on November 21, 2023.

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