Crypto Scam: What is ‘Pig Butchering’ & Why is it Becoming Popular?

Vinod Dsouza
Bitcoin BTC scam
Source: Vladimir Kazakov/Getty Images

Crypto scams are aplenty and hundreds of gullible investors fall prey to scamsters lurking around the internet. The scams occur through phishing links, breaking into others’ wallets, or simply connecting via DMs posing as customer care and asking for seed phrases. While those are the well-known and most common scams, a new way to extort cryptos has become increasingly popular in 2022. The new scam is called ‘Pig Butchering’ and the FBI warned that the scam has grown exponentially this year.

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What is ‘Pig Butchering’ Scam in Crypto?


Pig Butchering in crypto is another word for ‘romance scam’ where scamsters target lonely web users and manipulate them for money. The trend originated in Southeast Asia and translates to the Chinese word “Shāzhūpán”. The word refers to a farmer fattening up the pig with food before butchering it.

Similarly, in the crypto sphere, ‘pig butchering’ refers to warming up to a victim through romance and stealing their cryptos after gaining their trust.

Offenders build a trusted relationship with their victims for months making it seem they are genuine. The communication mostly takes the romantic route with frequent messages about ‘taking care’ of each other. Once the offenders gain the victim’s complete trust, they ask them to invest in Ponzi crypto schemes.

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The scheme includes convincing them that investing in cryptos can bring in all the riches. The talks also turn to ‘we can be happy together’ with the wealth and lead a good future.

The victims then wire the scamsters the money hoping to get rich quickly and lead a romantic yet comfortable life. Once the money is transferred, the scamsters block the victim and make way with the funds.

The FBI explained, “The fraud is named for the way scammers feed their victims with promises of romance and riches before cutting them off and taking all their money.”

“It’s a slow scam, they first gain your trust. Let you withdraw some funds to feel confident and then slowly take from you until you have nothing left,” revealed a 22-year-old on Reddit who was a victim of Pig Butchering.