A recently-divorced mum has revealed how she was targeted by a ‘pig-butchering’ scam.
Online dating is risky in more ways than one. Whether it’s being bombarded with disgusting messages or abuse, people not taking no for an answer, or not being who they say they are, you should always be careful on dating apps.
Sadly, while some bad Tinder encounters are unpleasant or awkward, others are scams specifically set to target people who are looking for a connection.
Some of these scams are easy to spot. A scantily clad model with her face obscured who instantly messages saying how ‘lonely’ she is isn’t fooling anyone.
Unfortunately, others are far more sinister and sophisticated, as mum-of-three Rebecca Holloway discovered.
The 42-year-old had downloaded Tinder after her divorce to try and get back out there again.
She matched with ‘Fred’, who claimed to be a French businessman.
‘Fred’ had been far more attentive and thoughtful than most of the men Rebecca had matched with, which to be fair on Tinder isn’t saying much. She had felt a connection with him, saying she had wanted it to be real.
Sadly, ‘Fred’ was not who he said he was at all, but actually the face of a so-called ‘pig-butchering’ scam.
The scam is just as nasty as its name suggests. It involves ‘fattening up’ a target with affection to earn their trust before stealing their money.
Middle-aged divorcees are often targets for such scams, due to the combination of having money in the bank and being in an emotionally vulnerable place.
It takes a calculated cruelty to exploit someone’s vulnerability like that, and scammers often use elaborate scripts.
After establishing a connection, ‘Fred’ began offering Rebecca financial advice. He always seemed obscured on video calls, and suggested she invest in crypto.
After seeing some returns initially, she decided to invest her entire 401k pension savings in the scheme, all $100,000.
Recounting the scam, Rebecca told the Daily Mail: “Single women approaching middle age are so vulnerable. We have money but we might not have met the right guy yet. And suddenly this good-looking man starts talking to you and you’re excited.
“Looking back, the signs are so obvious. But at the time you want to believe it’s real.”
She recalled the moment that she realised the truth, she said: “It felt like a movie where suddenly everything around me blurred and became distorted.
“I didn’t even try to withdraw my money, I knew at that point it was gone.”
Pig-butchering scams are sophisticated schemes. The individual doing the messaging often isn’t the person who will ultimately reap the rewards.
Instead, they are lured in by the promise of employment, only to be intimidated or coerced into carrying out the scam.
So, the next time you’re swiping, make sure that someone is in fact who they say they are.
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