(Media release from the Georgia Secretary of State Press Office):

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is raising public awareness of the latest financial scam impacting hardworking Georgia families. Secretary Raffensperger issued an Investor Alert warning consumers of a trend known as “Pig-butchering”, a cryptocurrency scam that has been targeting Georgia investors this summer.

“Pig-butchering” scams, as they were known when originating in Southeast Asia, are scams where the predator builds the victim’s confidence through casual conversation, leading to the scammer convincing the victim that they will help them make money. “Pig-butchering” is a reference to the constant feed of information to the victim as they “fatten” the victim with the illusion of great investments and return opportunities.

“Everyday Georgians, especially retirees, are falling victim to unscrupulous con-artists miles and miles away,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “We are doing everything in our power to protect the hard-earned savings of good, honest people.”

Scam artists are contacting victims through social media, text messages, email, and messaging apps, using publicly available data to target victims. The scammer may pretend to be an old friend, a trusted public figure, colleague or even a prospective romantic partner.

The conversations will slowly begin to center around investments or cryptocurrency, asking questions about finances and investing habits. The scammer’s goal is not to request money but to coerce investment in a fake trading website or platform that will show a bogus balance with lots of profit. The scammer will “fatten the pig” by allowing withdrawal of profits early to create the illusion of a trusted process and encourage more investment. They may even “lend” money so that larger trades can be made, and eventually, the victim making a large financial commitment.

Once the scammer decides to make their move, the website will require more money to cover withdrawal fees, taxes, or some other impediment. Then the scammer will run off with the funds, never to be heard from again.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has fallen victim to a scam:

• Immediately stop transferring any money to the suspected scammer.
• Report the crime to your bank as soon as possible.
• You may need to speak with a tax professional to report the loss on your annual taxes.
• Get a police report from your local law enforcement agency.
• Contact the Georgia Secretary of State at [email protected] or call (470)-312-2640.
• Contact the United States Secret Service Atlanta Field Office or call (404)-331-6111.
• File a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), your local FBI Field Office, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The Georgia Secretary of State’s website offers comprehensive resources to protect the public from financial scams and predatory behavior. Please visit our website for resources on financial literacy, money management, and savvy investing strategies.