According to Frank Fisher, a public affairs expert with the FBI's Albuquerque division, the "pig butchering" cryptocurrency hoax is spreading across the nation, CNN reported on Monday. Fisher stated:

“They’ve been trained by psychologists to try to figure out the best way to manipulate people. You’re dealing with people that are going to use different psychological techniques to make you vulnerable and to get you interested in parting with your money.”

The act of "butchering" a pig involves deceiving an unwary victim, or "pig," into parting with money in exchange for the promise of a high rate of return.

In order to "fatten up" the pig in pig butchering schemes, con artists deceive their victims into believing they are investing in something and persuade them to move money into Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, according to Santa Clara County district attorney Jeff Rosen. He claimed that before stealing their victims' money, the perpetrators of the pig butchering schemes "fatten up" their victims' digital wallets.

Rosen's office is in charge of a multi-agency task force that combats crimes involving technology. According to data done by his team, he claimed that countries like China and Cambodia are where these bitcoin investment scams are most prevalent.

Rosen claims that con artists have acquired psychological training to successfully fool people, and pig slaughtering operations employ incredibly sophisticated procedures.

The district attorney issued a warning, pointing out that con artists are particularly active during the holidays since they typically prey on lonely victims.

Additional scams that are growing more common this holiday season, according to the FBI, mostly target senior citizens. In Fisher's words:

“Scammers tend to focus on the elderly because they know they’re trusting, and they know older Americans usually have more money.”

Victims of so-called sweepstakes scams are approached and told they have won a reward; however, they are then told to provide money to cover taxes and processing fees, which can be quite expensive.

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