Pig butchering is among this week’s top five scams

Photo (c) Cnythzl - Getty Images

Both old and new scams are also on the list

The pig butchering scam has nothing to do with farming. The term applies to a growing scam in which the scammer builds a rapport with the victim before casually mentioning they’ve gotten rich investing in cryptocurrency and offers to help their victim get rich as well. 

The scammer “fattens up” the victim with phony profits on money the victim deposits in a fake trading app. As they see their money “grow,” they invest even more. At some point, the scammer, who controls the account, takes the money and runs.

The new recruit shakedown

The Defense Department is warning members of the armed services that soldiers have become the target of a new shakedown scam. The Pentagon says at least 74 soldiers – mostly new recruits – have lost more than $143,000.

In alerts posted on social media, the U.S. Army said people claiming to be noncommissioned officers are calling soldiers, asking for money, and threatening punishment if the soldiers refuse. Officials say the scam specifically targets soldiers during their first few weeks of military training.

‘You’re in trouble!’

A new version of an old imposter scam showed up this week in Lancaster, Pa. WGAL-TV reports some residents have received calls from someone claiming to be from the Lancaster process servers office. There is no such office.

The caller threatens the victim with legal action because they failed to take some action, such as showing up for jury duty. The caller says they can resolve the matter with some type of payment. This scam appears to be more dangerous because it’s not random – the scammer knows the victim's name and address, which could lead frightened victims to believe the call is legitimate. 

Gift card scam

Criminals continue to think of clever ways to persuade victims to purchase gift cards and give them the redemption codes. Police in Canada report a woman in Ontario lost $40,000 that way.

In this case, the scammer pretended to be from the woman’s bank and asked her to help catch criminals who had compromised her account. To do that, the woman was told she needed to buy gift cards and give the scammer access to her online bank accounts. Rule of thumb – anyone who tells you to buy gift cards is running a scam.

Fake kidnapping scam

Police in Schertz, Texas have warned local residents about a rash of fake kidnappings in which the scammer claims to be holding a family member and demands a ransom. Sometimes an accomplice screams or cries in the background.

Officers say victims are ordered to stay on the phone while they transfer the money so they can’t call police or the supposedly kidnapped family member. Police say there are some tip-offs that the kidnapping is not real, including the fact that the call comes from an out-of-state area code and not from the victim’s phone number.

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