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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How To Protect Yourself From Pig Butchering Scams

Updated: May 27

How to Avoid Virtual Kidnapping Scams.

It seems you can't go a day goes by without a scam of some kind popping up on your phone or in your email, trying to get you to download malware, share a password, or pay for bogus goods. The latest scam working its way around the internet is called "pig butchering", a con game where scammers attempt to develop long-term relationships with you. Their goal is to take small sums of money from you over some time until you get "fattened up and butchered" for one large transaction. Read on to find out how this scam works and what you can do to stay safe.

When you look at how a pig-butchering scam works, it may remind you of elder and romance scams. Indeed, Pig butchering scammers often find their victims on dating sites or social media, or by calling and pretending to have dialed a wrong number. What sets pig butchering scams apart from elder scams, romance scams, and other cons is the fact crooks are trying to lure you into cryptocurrency scams and other investing ventures. What's worse, the scammers appear to make the same investments themselves. If you fall for this scam, crooks will trick you with phony sites and apps that point to big gains — which are all mocked up on the screen. Instead of you making a profit, the money goes straight to them.

Whether you think you’re a target or think you know someone who might be, you can take immediate steps to stop a pig butchering attack. It begins with awareness. Simply by reading this blog article, you’ve gained an understanding of what these attacks are and how they work. Not to mention how costly they can be.

If you think something sketchy is going on, take the following steps:

Ignore strange texts and emails. Cybercrime is a human problem. 99% of all cyber attacks require human interaction. Scammers get your contact information from online forums or social media and use social engineering to make you think you know them from a previous job or other real-life interaction. If you see something that doesn't look right, ignore it. Bottom line: don’t interact with people you don’t know. No need to reply. Ignore these messages and move on.

If anyone you’ve just met online brings up money, consider it a scam. Let's say you've decided to strike up a conversation with someone you've met online. The moment a person you’ve never met and got to know face to face asks for money, put an end to the conversation. Whether they ask for money, bank transfers, cryptocurrency, money orders, or gift cards, say no.

Beware of artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) isn't only for the good guys, the rise of AI has allowed crooks to use generative AI for producing realistic videos, fake IDs, false identities, and convincing deepfakes. These technological capabilities pose a considerable risk to you. Additionally, scammers utilizing AI can mimic a person's voice within three seconds of recorded data, heightening the threat level and calling for increased awareness and proactive measures for all scams including pig butchering.

Keep your emotions in check. Don’t let scammers play on your desires and dreams. If an investment sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and if someone’s trying to pressure you into making a hasty decision, it’s a huge red flag.

Hopefully, this will help you safe from pig butching scams ciculating the Internet. If you have any questions, please reach out. I'm always available.

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