Caution: The “Pig Butchering” Phishing Expedition

by | Feb 26, 2024 | Phishing, Scams and Spoofs, Spam

I’m writing this article as yet another caution about what can only be referred to as the “pig butchering” phishing expedition. Did you ever get texts that seem like a “wrong number?” I’ve gotten them. Feel compelled to respond? I haven’t because it seemed a little weird to get them. Read this article before you do respond to seemingly innocuous random texts!

Pig Butchering phishing depictionAs someone who has navigated the web’s vast oceans for decades, I thought I’d seen it all. But, my discovery last night of “pig butchering” left me both shocked and concerned. Here’s a dive into the murky waters of a scam you might not yet know about but should.

How I Discovered “Pig Butchering”

Last night, I stumbled upon a John Oliver episode titled: “Pig Butchering Scams: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”. It aired on HBO on February 25, 2024, and is available on John Oliver’s YouTube channel. This episode opened my eyes to a phishing scam with a peculiar name and a devastating impact. I was utterly shocked to learn about “Pig Butchering” – a term so bizarre yet so sinister in its implications.

Pig Butchering Defined

What exactly is “Pig Butchering”? Beyond its visceral name lies a sophisticated phishing scam, blending elements of romance and investment fraud, often with a focus on cryptocurrency. This scam isn’t a quick hit; it’s a slow burn. Scammers invest time in building trust, only to exploit it to their advantage. It’s a chilling reminder of the Internet’s dark corners, and a term I wish I’d known sooner, considering my long tenure in the web industry.

Interestingly, the term ‘Pig Butchering’ is not just a catchy name; it’s an analogy that chillingly describes the scam’s methodology. Much like a farmer who takes the time to raise and fatten a pig before it’s ready for butchering, scammers similarly ‘fatten’ the bounty they’ll grift from their victims. They nurture a relationship, investing time and emotional energy to build trust and rapport. The ultimate goal? To ‘butcher’ or exploit that trust for financial gain. This process can take weeks, months, or even longer, as the scammer carefully constructs a fa├žade of legitimacy and affection. It’s a methodical, calculated approach that leaves the victim financially and emotionally devastated, mirroring the grim reality of the scam’s namesake.

John Oliver’s discussion on this topic isn’t just informative; it’s a critical watch for everyone. In a world where online scams proliferate, understanding “Pig Butchering” is essential. Regardless of political leanings, Oliver’s insights can help safeguard you and your loved ones from falling prey to this cunning scheme. You can watch the full segment on his YouTube channel or you can view it through YouTube below.

 

Protecting Yourself from Pig Butchering

  • Be skeptical of unsolicited messages, especially those promising quick profits or romantic connections.
  • Take your time. Scammers rely on creating a sense of urgency. Real opportunities and relationships don’t rush you.
  • Research thoroughly. Look into the people and platforms you’re engaging with online.
  • Never share personal or financial information with someone you’ve only met online.
  • Stay informed. Awareness is your best defense against scams like Pig Butchering.

In conclusion, the digital world is a double-edged sword. While it brings us closer, it also opens up new avenues for fraud. By staying informed and cautious, we can protect ourselves, our loved ones and our friends from falling into these carefully laid traps. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t!

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