June 15, 2024

Cons trick susceptible victims into bogus investments through a scam tactic known as “pig butchering”.

A 75-year-old US-based professional became the victim of an elaborate online scam. Contacted through LinkedIn by what seemed to be a caring and supportive woman, he was later swindled out of his entire nest egg. The heartbreaking tale reveals the lengths fraudsters will go to exploit those deemed easy targets, especially older, less tech-savvy individuals. According to The Wall Street Journal, the victim endured a financially and emotionally draining experience.

“Pig butchering”, the name given to this type of scam, involves the scammers building trust with their targets. Once trust is gained, they con their victims into fraudulent investments, disappearing once the money transfers are made.

After an in-depth investigation by the WSJ, which included reviewing an expanse of messages, financial documents, and images shared between the unnamed victim and the fraudster, the chilling extent of manipulation carried out by online con artists was brought to light.

The Midwestern man lost almost $715,000 due to the scam, nearly erasing his entire life’s savings. Even though the loss was overwhelmingly painful, he had the courage to share his story in the hope that it would deter others from becoming victims of similar rackets.

In this incident, the fraudster introduced herself as “Violaine Chen”, a Chinese divorcee aged 37. She lured the victim with promises of a bright future together. Ignoring red flags from his bank and dubious messages, the victim placed his trust in Violaine, depositing over $300,000 into a suggested investment. When he tried withdrawing his funds, he faced outrageous fees to unlock his account, leading to his catastrophic financial loss.

The Midwest man reported the case to the FBI but received no progression updates. As the scammer ceased communication and sporadically asked for more money, the victim had to wrestle with the devastating reality of the scam, the betrayal, and the enormous task of putting his life back together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the “Pig Butchering” scam?

The “Pig Butchering” scam is an online conning scheme where fraudsters trick victims into investing their money in phony investments. The scammers establish trust with the victim, convince them to put their money into these fraudulent investments, and then disappear once they’ve received the funds.

How can one safeguard themselves from online scams?

It’s important to be vigilant while interacting online. Never provide financial information or invest money based on the advice of individuals met online. If you do consider investing, always do thorough research and reach out to a financial advisor. Moreover, always heed warnings from your bank and be wary of suspicious messages.

What action can victims of such scams take?

If you fall victim to an online scam, immediately report it to your local law enforcement and your bank or financial institution. You can also report the incident to the FBI in the United States, and depending on the extent of the scam, consider reaching out to a lawyer for legal advice.