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What is a Pig Butchery Scam?

What is a Pig Butchery Scam Header Image

Pig butchery scams, while not as common as your run-of-the-mill phishing attempts, are a real threat to organisations and individuals alike. So named in reference to the practice of fattening a pig before slaughter, these scams often involve fraudsters contacting targets, then gaining trust before ultimately manipulating their victims into phony investments and disappearing with the funds.


How do these scams work?

In a pig butchery scam, the initial contact with the victim is often unsolicited and can take several forms. Scammers may start with a phone call or an email, using a casual greeting, or pretending to have a prior connection with the victim. They can also use other forms of communication such as SMS texting or social media platforms. In some cases, they may even use the name of a real company or individual, making the scam appear more authentic.

Pig butchery scams often take the form of cryptocurrency schemes, but they can also involve other types of financial trading. The scammers will typically present themselves as successful cryptocurrency investors and try to convince the victim to invest as well, often suggesting that they can make a lot of money quickly.

Pig Butcher Image

After a period of days, weeks, or even months, where the fraudster will attempt to build rapport and foster trust, the scammer will typically request payment upfront for their investment opportunity, usually through wire transfer. To make the scam appear more legitimate, the scammer may set up a malicious app or web platform that mimics the look and feel of a trustworthy financial institution. They may also use curated market data to give the impression of a profitable investment opportunity. Once the victim funds their "investment account", they may even see their balance "grow" which could be a fake account balance.

However, once a payment. or even multiple payments, have been made, the scammer will disappear and the victim will have no way to recover their money.

How do you avoid these scams?

To avoid becoming a victim of a pig butchering-type scam, watch for these red flags and know how to protect yourself:

Unsolicited contact

Never respond to unsolicited messages from unknown contacts, even about seemingly harmless topics, especially via text message or social media.

Refusal to participate in video chats

Request for financial information

Invitation to invest in financial opportunities

Unknown or confusing investment opportunity

Unfamiliar trading platforms

Exaggerated claims and elevated emotions

Sense of urgency

Always verify the identity of the person or company you are dealing with, and never make payment without receiving proper documentation or confirmation. Additionally, if you suspect you have been scammed, report it to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.

If an investment seems too good to be true… It normally is.


GoldPhish educates end-users on the cyber threat and helps build more secure organisations with awareness training and simulated phishing.

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