The FBI says America has a “pig butchering” problem. And it’s costing victims millions of dollars. “We’re not talking about what’s going on at farms,” said Frank Fisher, public affairs specialist at the bureau’s Albuquerque division. “We’re talking about a cryptocurrency investment scam that is sweeping the country.” The term pig butchering refers to an unsuspecting victim — the “pig” — being tricked by scammers into forking over money for a promised high rate of return. Scammers “fatten up the pig by getting the victim to think that they’re investing in something and get them to move money into cryptocurrency,” says Santa Clara County, California, district attorney Jeff Rosen, whose office manages a multi-agency task force combating technology-related crimes. Once criminals “fatten up” their victims’ digital wallets, they steal the money, Rosen says. Pig butchering operations typically begin with a rudimentary approach, Rosen tells CNN: Scammers blast out millions of unsolicited messages each day to unsuspecting victims via text message and social media, often with an innocuous note like, “Hi, how are you?” The scammer operating under a false identity builds a relationship with the victim, sometimes over just a few weeks, before suggesting the victim “invest” in cryptocurrency. One technique involves assuring a victim that the scammer has made significant profits in cryptocurrency, persuading the victim they shouldn’t miss out on the benefits of cryptocurrency investments.
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