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Single Mother Loses Her Entire $100,000 Retirement Savings In Tinder 'Pig Butchering' Scam; What Is It?

The fraudulent scheme involves romance and building trust with victims only to eventually exploit them financially.
Cover Image Source: Pexels/Tara Winstead
Cover Image Source: Pexels/Tara Winstead

A recently divorced woman fell victim to a cryptocurrency scam on the popular dating app, Tinder. The mother of three lost her entire 401(k) savings of $100,000 to a scammer who posed as a French entrepreneur, New York Post reported. This incident brings to light the growing issue of "pig butchering" schemes, a term used to describe scams that exploit individuals emotionally before deceiving them with fake investment opportunities.

The Power of Deception

Rebecca Holloway, 42, said that Fred showered her with attention and messages, unlike anyone she had encountered on Tinder before. She felt a special connection with him since they both had three children. As they grew closer, Fred convinced her to invest in cryptocurrency, taking advantage of the recent crypto crash and the vulnerability of a single woman approaching middle age, according to Daily

Holloway admitted that the signs of deception were evident, but at the time she wanted to believe the relationship was genuine.

Image Source: Pexels/Tero Vesalainen
Image Source: Pexels/Tero Vesalainen

The scam that Holloway fell victim to is part of a larger trend known as "pig butchering". The term "pig butchering" refers to the process of fattening victims up emotionally before "butchering" them financially. This scheme involves building trust and romance with victims over a span of months, only to exploit them financially. Scammers employ sophisticated tactics, using fake investment advice as a way to drain victims' funds. 


Holloway's loss of her entire 401(k) savings is not an isolated incident. Just last month, another woman named Shreya Datta, a 37-year-old tech executive, was scammed out of over $450,000. According to the US Department of Justice, investment fraud was responsible for the highest reported losses of any scam in 2022, totaling a staggering $3.31 billion.

Criminal groups operating from centers in Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia are reportedly behind pig-butchering scams. They lure unsuspecting victims by offering legitimate jobs, only to enslave them into running these scams. The scammers are provided with sophisticated scripts to effectively target their victims, exploiting their emotions and trust.

The popularity of cryptocurrencies has created an ideal opportunity for scammers. Loneliness resulting from the pandemic and the allure of overnight crypto riches make dating apps a prime hunting ground. Millennials, in particular, are being targeted through apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge. Scammers often move the conversation to encrypted messaging platforms like WhatsApp to avoid detection, according to The New York Times. 

They gradually introduce the idea of cryptocurrency investment, presenting themselves as successful traders offering lucrative, low-risk opportunities.

Image Source: Pexels/D'Vaughn Bell
Image Source: Pexels/D'Vaughn Bell

This type of scam stands out due to its intricacy. Victims are directed to realistic-looking websites displaying charts and tickers, giving the impression of a legitimate exchange. The scammers constantly change the names and addresses of the fake exchanges to stay ahead. Initially, victims are allowed to withdraw small amounts to gain their trust before larger sums are deposited and subsequently stolen.

Cryptocurrencies offer scammers several advantages. The relative privacy they provide, coupled with the lack of central banks or deposit insurance, makes it difficult to trace and recover stolen funds. Bitcoin transactions are publicly visible, but criminals can obscure the money trail through anonymous digital wallets.

Image Source: Pexels/RDNE Stock project
Image Source: Pexels/RDNE Stock project

The Aftermath for Victims

The victims of these scams are left devastated and financially ruined. They struggle to comprehend how individuals they believed they had a connection with could deceive them so thoroughly. The emotional toll is immense, and the financial consequences can be dire, leaving victims to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

The increasing prevalence of dating app scams has alerted individuals on these platforms. It is crucial to exercise caution when engaging with strangers who offer investment advice. Due diligence and skepticism can go a long way in protecting oneself from falling victim to these sophisticated scams.