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What You Need to Know about Pig Butchering Scams

By March 25, 2024Cyber Awareness
Graphic with a deep blue background and a white smartphone centered. The screen of the smartphone displays a text message conversation with one message that reads 'How have you been? Are you okay?' from an unknown sender, with the option to 'Report Junk' below. Above the smartphone, in bold white text, the question 'what's a pig butchering scam?' is posed. The phone's status bar shows full signal strength, Wi-Fi connection, and a battery at 89%.

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Imagine you’re at home on the couch when a text message arrives from an unknown number.

Hi, how are you? What time is our reservation again? 

Just an innocent wrong number, right? Well, maybe, but it could be the first step in a new scam gaining popularity with cyber criminals: the Pig Butchering Scam. We’re here to alert you about such fraudulent tactics and arm you with knowledge so you don’t fall victim to one of these scams.

So, Just What Is a Pig Butchering Scam?

Derived from the disturbing analogy of ‘fattening up’ a pig before it’s time for slaughter, this scam similarly involves tricksters who ‘fatten up’ their targets with affection and trust before financially devastating them. The con artists initiate contact, often through social media or dating platforms, build a relationship, and then lure victims into investment or trading schemes with promises of high returns.

Signs to Watch For

  1. Unsolicited Contact: Be wary of messages from strangers that progress to financial topics or investments.
  2. Too Good to Be True: High returns with little to no risk are a classic red flag in any investment proposal.
  3. Pressure Tactics: Scammers often create a sense of urgency to cloud your judgment.
  4. Requests for Secrecy: If you’re being advised to keep investments a secret, it’s likely not legitimate.
  5. Platform Switching: Scammers may ask to move conversations from the initial contact platform to less secure ones.

How to Avoid Falling Victim

  • Verify Independently: Always check the legitimacy of an investment through independent and official channels.
  • Guard Personal Information: Never share personal or financial information with someone you’ve only met online.
  • Consult with Professionals: Before making any investment, seek advice from a financial advisor.
  • Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off, it likely is.
  • Don’t Respond. While it might seem like an innocent ‘wrong number,’ don’t respond. You can even block the sender so they can’t message you again.

In one of his recent episodes of Search Engine, host PJ Vogt examines this international scam that sends a reporter halfway across the world searching for the ugly truth behind these scams. Warning: language

The Role of Personal Cyber Liability Insurance

In this digital age, having a safety net is vital. Personal cyber liability insurance comes into play as a proactive measure to mitigate the effects should you fall victim to such a scam. This insurance can cover the financial losses incurred from cyber fraud, offering a layer of financial protection that is becoming increasingly necessary.

Wedgwood Insurance stands with you, ready to discuss how personal cyber liability insurance can be tailored to your digital lifestyle, ensuring peace of mind in an online world where vigilance is paramount. Stay alert, stay informed, and let us help you stay protected.

About Wedgwood Insurance

Wedgwood Insurance has offices in St. John’s & Corner Brook and is Newfoundland & Labrador’s largest independent insurance broker. We provide straightforward home, auto & business insurance advice. 

With over 260 Google My Business reviews, experience the Wedgwood difference with expert advice from our dedicated team. We ensure that every client has the coverage that best suits their needs through upfront complimentary consultations and midterm reviews.

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Author Jamie Ross

Jamie Ross leads the Marketing and Communications team at Wedgwood Insurance, renowned as one of Atlantic Canada’s premier independent insurance brokers. Bringing a wealth of experience amassed over many years at some of Canada's most esteemed advertising agencies, Jamie transitioned to the insurance industry in 2017. This pivotal move has marked a period of significant professional growth and contribution to the field. A native Nova Scotian, Jamie has been a resident of St. John's, NL, since 2011, where he has become an integral part of the local community. Learn more about Jamie.

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