TDCI’s Securities Division Urges Consumers to Protect Their Investments from “Pig Butchering” Scams
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (“TDCI”) Division of Securities is warning Tennessee consumers about the prevalence of so-called "Pig Butchering" scams.
Pig Butchering is a term or metaphor that describes a scam perpetrated over a long period of time in order to steal a victim's money repeatedly via online apps. Also known as "Killing Pig Plate" or "Sha Zhu Pan," these financial scams started in China around 2019 and can have disastrous financial consequences to the victims. It is estimated that these scams have cost victims millions of dollars worldwide.
“All investors of all ages must be aware of the Pig Butchering scam and how the scammers steal your money over a long period of time. We are particularly concerned about the impact these scams might have on our seniors, as Tennessee’s senior population is growing daily,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner for the Securities Division Elizabeth Bowling. “We must come together to protect Tennessee’s vulnerable adults from this type of scam/crime by raising awareness about these scams and encouraging our seniors and their caretakers to learn the red flags that are the hallmarks of these scams.”
Different from other scams, the Pig Butchering scam is perpetrated over a longer period than typical scams. The scam begins simply enough with the scam victims receiving a text message or voicemail from a “wrong number” that comes from a seemingly innocent person about a purported meeting or other social plan they may have.
When the potential victim responds, the perpetrator continues the conversation by being friendly in order to build a relationship with the victim. Eventually the conversations turn toward cryptocurrency and investing. The perpetrator then “fattens up” the victim over the ensuing months until eventually the victim is “butchered” for much, if not all, of his or her life savings.
To help fight Pig Butchering scams, TDCI encourages investors to learn how to spot the common red flags of these scams.
- Out of the blue text messages from a wrong number.
- Building a relationship over time with a stranger via phone or text.
- Encourages potential victim or victims to start investing in cryptocurrency.
- Quickly switches from one platform to another to avoid detection.
To report a Pig Butchering scam, contact your local law enforcement agency or FBI office.
If you suspect that you or a loved one might be a victim of securities or insurance fraud, or if you would like to file a complaint or speak with an investigator, please contact TDCI’s Financial Services Investigations Unit at (615) 741-5900 or visit our website.
If you know someone in the elderly community who is being physically abused, call the Tennessee Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services (APS) unit, toll-free at 888-277-8366.