Alabama Securities Commission warns people about the rise in ‘Pig Butchering Scam’

WAFF 48's Romario Gardner reporting
Published: Jul. 7, 2023 at 10:35 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2023 at 9:03 AM CDT

MADISON CO., Ala. (WAFF) - If you receive a call from someone asking if you remember them, Alabama Securities Commission is urging you to immediately hang up.

It said it could be part of a cryptocurrency scam responsible for robbing nearly a hundred people out of 23 million dollars.

It’s called the pig butchering scam, and the director of the Alabama Securities Commission, Amanda Senn said it’s on the rise around the state, especially in the Tennessee Valley.

“We’ve had several in the Madison County area. About half of these that have come are North Alabama victims,” said Senn, “We’ve just had several more cases come into our office I’m looking at six new ones right now. Several over $100,000.”

The attacker reaches out through either a cold call or a dating app and gains the victim’s trust by asking them to invest in crypto and lures them in with small, successful returns.

Once the amount is large enough, they disappear with untraceable money.

Senn said, “They fatten you up and then go in for the slaughter and I hate to even use those terms but that’s exactly what’s happening here with some of these victims.”

The scheme resulted in nearly 88 nationwide confirmed victims nationwide according to the ASC, with an estimated loss of over $22.5 million.

Bradley Irish with H2L Solutions, a cybersecurity firm in Huntsville, said COVID-19 was a big catalyst.

“People were lonely, they felt isolated, they wanted somebody to talk to,” said Irish, “And so that tends to be the kind of victim that they will find is the person who is willing to continue the conversation.”

Senn said the bulk of these scams originate from overseas, making it difficult to get your money back. She urges people to use discretion when answering an unknown number.

“If you are interested in somebody make sure that they come meet you at your door,” said Senn, “And take you to dinner and not ask you for money to send a plane ticket to visit them.”

If you believe you are a victim of one of these investment scams, call and report it to the Alabama Securities Commission.

You can also visit their website for more information on how to submit a claim.

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