The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning residents of Louisiana of a scam that sounds as if it hits deep in the heart of Louisiana culture. The scam is known in the United States as the "pig butchering" scam. In Louisiana, a boucherie or butchering of a pig is a common occurrence. However, we should point out that the two things, although similar in name, have very little in common after that.

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A boucherie, which is the more pleasant of the two options is something people in Louisiana look forward to. While not for the faint of heart or members of PETA, the slaughtering of a pig is a reason for great social celebration in Louisiana. The event celebrates the Cajun tradition of butchering a pig and then making use of almost every bit of the animal in the creation of food and other staples to be used around the home and farm.

A boucherie in Louisiana is not only a great place to get great food, but it's a celebration of music, dance, and the region's culture. So, this is not the "pig butchering scam" the FBI is referring to. 

Scam Alert
Picture courtesy of Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office

What Is The "Pig Butchering Scam"?

The scam takes its name from the loose translation of the Chinese phrase Sha Zhu Pan. The pig in this case refers to the scam's victim and the bleeding refers to the draining of cash and assets from the victim's bank accounts. Much like a butcher would drain the blood from a pig before butchering.

The FBI warns that the scam usually begins innocently enough, usually on a dating or social media app. The scammer might pose as a "wrong number" or " interested in a romantic relationship" to the potential victim. Over time the scammer earns the confidence of the victim and then encourages them to invest in "high-yield cryptocurrency".

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Once the victim has "invested" real money in the "fake websites" or "fake crypto" the scammer then avoids contact with the victim. This makes it virtually impossible for the victim to get any of their money back nor any of their "alleged profits" from investing in the cryptocurrency.

Internet crime and electronic banking security

The Attorney General's office in Michigan published these tips you might use to avoid or detect a potential scam such as the "pig butchering" scam. Here are the red flags according to the Michigan AG.

  • Strangers sending seemingly innocuous text messages out of the blue.
  • Strangers who quickly try to move the conversation to WhatsApp or another social media site.
  • People who avoid video-calling with multiple excuses or flatly refuse to initiate any kind of video-calling.
  • People chit-chatting about their insider investment knowledge.
  • The URL of the investment platform doesn’t match the official website of a popular cryptocurrency market or exchange but may be very similar.
  • The investment app generates warnings of being “untrusted” when launched, or the computer’s antivirus software marks it as potentially dangerous.
  • The investment opportunity sounds too good to be true.

That same office published a series of tips you can use to protect yourself and loved ones from being implicated or involved in scammer actions. These include:

  • Don’t send money, trade, or invest with a person you have only met online.
  • Don’t speak of your financial position or investments.
  • Don’t share personal information or current financial status with strangers.
  • Don’t provide your banking information, social security number, copies of your identification or passport, or any other sensitive information to anyone online or to a site that you cannot verify is authentic.
  • If an online investment or trading site promotes unbelievable profits, it is most likely just that—unbelievable.
  • Be cautious of individuals who claim to have exclusive investment opportunities and urge you to act fast.

The bottom line in this or any potential scam is this, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. And before you send any money, purchase gift cards, or give out your credit card or banking information, contact local law enforcement, state law enforcement, or at least the Better Business Bureau. Each of those entities can offer you sound advice on the questions you may have.

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