"Pig butchering" and financial advisor impersonation scams.
N2K logoJan 31, 2023

Scammers use social media sites to build trust with victims.

"Pig butchering" and financial advisor impersonation scams.

Researchers at DomainTools describe a fraud technique known as “pig butchering,” in which a threat actor poses as a financial advisor in order to build trust with a victim. Eventually, the scammer convinces the victim to invest in a phony cryptocurrency or another fraudulent venture.

Social media used to discover targets.

The researchers outline one of these scam campaigns based in West Africa that has targeted “several hundred financial advisors.” The attackers use LinkedIn and other professional networking services to research and contact their targets. They also advertise their services on TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

The scammers also set up professional-looking websites, which are often modified versions of legitimate financial advisor sites. They use bulletproof hosting providers (in this case SpeedHost247), so their sites won’t be taken down during the course of these lengthy scams.

The attackers use live chat widgets on the sites to talk to their victims, then move the conversation to email or WhatsApp. The scammers generally try to avoid talking to the victim over the phone.

Be wary of crypto investments.

DomainTools offers the following advice to help users avoid falling for these scams:

“Prospective clients would be wise to contact financial advisors through their respective financial institution’s official website and insist on speaking with them over the telephone, preferably in a video call. Consumers would also be wise to approach any cryptocurrency investment with extreme caution and avoid nontraditional investments with ‘guaranteed’ rates of return. Investment opportunities that seem too good to be true probably are.”