The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released a public service announcement in light of increased pig butchering crypto scams. The announcement was made by the FBI Miami Field Office, in coordination with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
Pig butchering schemes are becoming increasingly popular lately. The Delaware Department of Justice recently froze accounts of several entities involved in pig butchering. The scam is another kind of “romance scam.” Criminals target lonely individuals on the web and manipulate them for money, or crypto.
This type of scam began in South-East Asia, and translates to the Chinese word “Shāzhūpán.” It refers to a farmer fattening up a pig before slaughter. Similarly in the crypto space, a victim is warmed up with false promises of love and romance, and then their funds are stolen.
The FBI announcement noted that,
“fraudsters make contact with their victims on various social media or dating applications.”
The FBI’s notice highlighted the increased use of crypto ATMs in pig butchering scams. According to data from Coin ATM Radar, there are around 33,500 cryptocurrency ATMs in the United States, accounting for 87.4% of the global crypto ATMs.
How to protect yourself from pig butchering Crypto Scams?
The FBI announcement also highlighted ways in which users can be more vigilant online. Firstly, individuals need to validate every investment opportunity that comes their way.
The FBI asked individuals to “be on the lookout for domain names that impersonate legitimate financial institutions, especially cryptocurrency exchanges.” Additionally, the bureau says that misspelled URLs that veer somewhat from the real website of the financial institution could be fraudulent. The bureau also asks people to not use suspicious-looking apps for investments, unless verified.
Furthermore, the FBI has asked victims to come forward and file a complaint at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.