Romance Scam

Scammers look for targets on various social platforms. After getting to know the victims’ interests, scammers easily win the victims’ affection and start an online romantic relationship. Then, scammers use a plethora of reasons to ask for money. Scammers and victims never meet in real life.

Also, scammers induce the victims to participate in investment in fake investment platforms after romantic relationship is established. Initially victims would make small profits, but after putting more money the victims would end up suffering huge loss. The fraud is also known as “Pig-butchering Scam”.

Traditional Modus Operandi

Professionals

Scammers usually claim to be professionals, such as an international company of engineers and management officers in international corporations, who come from Western countries but currently working in South East Asia. They communicate with the victims in English and ask them for money using different reasons.

Excuses, excuses

Scammers falsely claim that they need to pay a large medical bill or need cash urgently;

Scammers falsely claim that they have sent victims precious gifts from overseas. However, these ‘gifts’ are held in customs and they ask victims to pay the clearance fees/handling fee.

Never met in real life

Victims have never seen the scammers (be it in person or through video call). After scammers receive money, they delete their social media accounts, phone numbers or email addresses, cutting off contact with the victims completely.

Modus Operandi of “Pig-butchering Scam”

Seeking Pig

Scammers look for targets on social platforms or dating app, and keep chasing them to establish romance relationships shortly.

Feeding Pig

Induce victims to invest in securities or virtual currencies in fake investment platforms. At the beginning, scammers would let victims make small profits.

Butchering Pig

When the victims put more money into the investment, the platform would show an investment failure, causing the victims to suffer huge loss.

Crime trend

In the first half of 2021, there were 822 romance scam cases, an increase of 92% when compared to 429 cases in the same period last year. The total loss amounted to $290 million. The victims were aged between 17 and 70, and the case with highest loss was $9 million.

Anti-fraud advice

Use the search engine to search for photos on the other party’s social accounts

Check whether the friend circle of the other party’s account is abnormal

If you have doubts about the identity of the other party, try to talk to the other party via video call

Do not download apps from unknown sources

Beware of investment plans with unrealistic returns

If in any doubt, please call the fraud prevention hotline 18222

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