New 'pig butchering' scam on the rise. Here's how the scam works

ROCKFORD — There's a new scam from organized crime gangs dubbed as “pig butchering."

This info comes from the Scambusters, a non-profit online newsletter. The article states two of the fastest growing scams—dating and cybercurrency—have been merged into one.

While its new here, pig butcher was launched a couple years ago in China and it’s lucrative. Victims have lost hundreds of thousands—even millions of dollars.

One individual, who is identified as a Denver software engineer admitted to losing $1.6 million to the crooks. Worldwide the loses are estimated to be upwards of $8 million.

This scam sort of plays the long game. The term “pig butchering” refers to first fattening up the hungry or in this case, let’s say greedy victim over an extended period of time—sometimes several months—before moving in for the kill.

Scambuster says at first glance the scam would appear to be a regular romance scam. However, the scammer never asks for money. Instead, the con artist talks about profits and losses they are making in cryptocurrency trading.

The crooks work his target long enough to get them interested in this “investment” strategy. Also, they combine this with romantic conversations on the side.

While building trust, they get their target to plow increasingly more money into the venture. Eventually, their victim may want to take their profits, but it can't be done. In fact, they may be asked for more money to meet processing costs. Before long all their money is gone.

The FBI recently issued an alert about this scam, warning online daters and people who just meet up in chat forums never to send money to or trade on the supposed advice of someone you haven't met and don't know. If you don't send money or invest with them, you won't get be a pig butchering victim.

Norton email scam

Two friends contacted me last week – on the same day – regarding an email they received that was supposedly from “Norton Security” for virus protection. Both emails were payment invoices. One regarding an auto-pay renewal, the other claimed their payment had been received.

An online search produced 12 different variations of the Norton email. Some of them mentioned Norton Total Protection, Norton Total All Round Security, Norton 360, Norton 360 Auto Edition, Norton PC Life, Norton Family All Device, and Norton LifeLock. Turns out, a few of these weren’t even real Norton products.

This is is known as a “refund scam." The goal of the scammer is to get their target to respond by email or phone to ask for a refund for the supposed Norton product renewal. If played out, the scammers eventually would ask for bank account or credit card information, claiming that a refund would be processed. In reality, they would take the financial details and attempt to steal funds.

What you need to know

This scam first surfaced toward the end of last year. The best thing to do you if you receive one of these emails is to delete it.

Norton says they do use email or direct mail to contact it’s customers. Because of that they have a page on their website that should answer any questions you have if you have a Norton virus protection subscription. To determine if an email from Norton is legitimate there is a verification link on the page.

According to Norton, “If you have been tricked into clicking a suspicious link or opening a malicious file, you need to have your computer examined for malware. Once cybercriminals have remote access to your computer, the potential for identity theft and financial losses increase. If possible, use a separate device to locate a reputable source of technical support, as some malware will prevent you from browsing to a legitimate antivirus site.”

The company also says you should forward the scam email to Here's some other things to know from Norton:

  • In the email subject line, mention the case number provided by Norton Support (ignore if you do not have one).

  • Email submissions are subject to manual or automated review.

  • The email address does not send additional updates.

  • It is preferred to send the email samples as an attachment to avoid the loss of key content of the message, which is required for analysis.

Dennis Horton is director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau, which serves Winnebago, Boone and Stephenson counties among others in northern Illinois.

This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: New 'pig butchering' scam on the rise. Here's how the scam works