What Is Pig Butchering? Latest Cyber Scam That Has China On Alert
Photo : iStock
Beijing: China has been unleashing a crackdown on the latest cyber scam called "pig butchering". The Chinese government has launched a probe into this new con which has trapped thousands of victims every year across the globe.
In this cyber scam, the scammers pretend to befriend or seduce their victims. Once trapped, the scammers then persuade these victims to send money into various accounts, all while promising high returns to them.
However, after the scammers receive the money, they cut off all contact and then disappear, and so does the victim's money.
What Is Pig Butchering?
The term comes from the old Chinese proverb - "zhu zai", which means "to slaughter a pig".
The term used for this bogus cyber scam refers to the processes of first "fattening" the victims - gaining their trust, romancing them and increasing their investments. Then comes the next and final step of "butchering the pig" - robbing them of their money and disappearing.
How Does the Scam Work?
The 'pig butchering' scam begins once the scammers find their victims. The victims were usually found via dating apps, social media and other messaging platforms.
The con artists then work on building a relationship and rapport with the victim to earn their trust by posing as a friend or potential romantic partner.
The scammers then guide the unsuspecting victim to invest small amounts into a "legitimate venture", and showing quick returns to encourage more investments.
Once the victim has been 'fattened', the scammer disappears with the funds, leaving the victim with a substantial financial loss.
China Comes Down Heavy on Scammers
As of now, the scammers have been working from Southeast Asia, in countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Loas, Malaysia and Indonesia. Many of these rings are run by Chinese crime bosses who have fled Beijing to avoid prosecution. These crime bosses are further protected by the local warlords and drug lords in these southeast Asian countries.
Estimates suggest that these "pig butchering" scams cheat Chinese citizens out of billions of dollars each year. This scam has also claimed victims from across the globe. American citizens have also been warned against this scam by the US Treasury Department.
The United Nations has also added that around 1,20,000 people may be forced to work as scammers in Myanmar and another lakh in Cambodia.
In recent months, China has unleashed a heavy crackdown on this scam. The superpower has also been going beyond its borders and conducting mass arrests.