Pig Butchering Investment Scams

Official FBI Podcast

Presented by SCARS

Building A Digital Defense Against A New Romance + Cryptocurrency Scam Called “Pig Butchering”

Listen to the Podcast below – Podcast will automatically play

The Pig Butchering scam pulls on heartstrings and purse strings, and it is much easier to execute than regular emergency-based romance scams!

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. The original Chinese name: Sha Zhu Pan 殺主盤

It’s run by a large number of organized fraud rings focused on cryptocurrency scams that mine dating apps and other social media for victims.
And the scam is becoming alarmingly popular.

In 2021, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 4,300 complaints related to crypto-romance scams, resulting in more than $429 million in losses. But remember that these numbers are ridiculously low since less than 3% of victims report these crimes.

The scam started in China in late 2019, but, as those numbers indicate, it’s now becoming more prevalent in the United States and everywhere else. Scammers (in China) are using translation programs to communicate seamlessly with their victims.

Victims have very similar stories:

Meeting someone on a dating app or social media, the scammer gains the confidence and trust of the victim, and then claims to have knowledge of cryptocurrency investment or trading opportunities that will result in substantial profits. The victim is then directed to transfer large amounts of cryptocurrency from the exchange account to cryptocurrency wallets controlled by fraudsters, ultimately losing it all.

Here’s how to protect yourself:

  • Never send money, trade, or invest based on the advice of someone you have only met online.
  • Don’t talk about your current financial status to unknown and untrusted people.
  • Don’t provide your banking information, Social Security Number, copies of your identification or passport, or any other sensitive information to anyone online or to a site you do not know is legitimate.
  • If an online investment or trading site is promoting unbelievable profits, it is most likely that—unbelievable.
  • Be cautious of individuals who claim to have exclusive investment opportunities and urge you to act fast.

If you are the victim of any online fraud, you should report the incident to the FTC at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS and on www.Anyscam.com, and optionally to the FBI – however, first report it to your local police – that police report number is essential when communicating with financial institutions.

Why Is This Scam Really Called “Butchering The Pig?”


This scam is called “Butchering the Pig” or Pig Butchering because targets are engaged daily for several months before large amounts of money are sent to the scammers; in other words, it is like fattening up a pig before the slaughter.

  1. The scammers, using a profile of an attractive (usually) Asian man or woman (but more and more, they are of any race and they are coming from any country), lead the target (the pig) through carefully scripted conversations. The interim goal is to develop a trusting relationship – friendship or romance.
  2. The scammer suggests that the victim can make a little money, just like they did. Once the target has sent an initial “investment” deposit, the account will show impressive gains. Sometimes the scammer will allow the target to withdraw a small amount of money to prove its legitimacy.
  3. The target is then encouraged to send further funds to maximize this investment opportunity – even borrow money from family & friends, take out loans – whatever they have to do to take full advantage of “this opportunity” to become rich.
  4. Once the scammers have the larger amount it typically ends. The scammers cut off all communication, leaving the target without their money or their “profits” or even really knowing what happened.
  5. Unlike regular romance scams, where the victim ends the scam, here the scammers do it by taking the money and just running!

What makes this scam so insidious and so successful is that while the amounts that are stolen usually range between USD$10,000 and $2,000,000+, the sheer number of scams occurring is overwhelming. We have seen cases, such as one prominent lawyer who lost more than $5 million on this scam. He eventually decided not to pursue his claims because he feared the publicity would destroy his legal practice.

Unlike regular romance scams where the victim’s trust is the limit of the losses, in this case, there are no red flags to see, so people invest vast amounts of money. SCARS estimates that the average loss in a Pig Butchering scam is above $50,000.00

Between January and July of 2021, the FBI alone received nearly 2,000 complaints of cryptocurrency-focused Sha Zhu Pan scams and there is little doubt the number is considerably higher since only about 1-3% of victims report these scams.

Some claim that the police in China don’t really care because they have more important things to do and they are not all that fond of Americans and Europeans. However, this is yet another Urban Legend from amateur anti-scammers. The reality is the Chinese lead the world in scammer arrests – they care very much about these crimes as a national issue of pride (source: SCARS|CHINA.)

However, the Chinese scammers operating throughout Asia (such as Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong & Macau, South Korea, and elsewhere) especially target those of Chinese ethnicity, who have made up a good portion of the victims until now. But this is changing as the Africans, Latin Americans, Philippines, Russians & Eastern Europeans, are all getting in on this game!

Learn More About These Crimes:

SCARS Publishing Self-Help Recovery Books Available At shop.AgainstScams.org

Scam Victim Self-Help Do-It-Yourself Recovery Books

SCARS Printed Books For Every Scam Survivor From SCARS Publishing

Visit shop.AgainstScams.org

Each is based on our SCARS Team’s 32-plus years of experience.

SCARS Website Visitors receive an Extra 10% Discount
Use Discount Code “romanacescamsnow” at Checkout

Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

Go to reporting.AgainstScams.org to learn how

U.S. FTC at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS and SCARS at www.Anyscams.com
Visit reporting.AgainstScams.org to learn more!