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RCIPS Warns Against Sophisticated Global Investment/Romance Scam Utilising Virtual Currency, Commonly Known As ‘Pig-Butchering Fraud’

8th August, 2023 Police Headlines

RCIPS Warns Against Sophisticated Global Investment/Romance Scam Utilising Virtual Currency, Commonly Known As ‘Pig-Butchering Fraud’ Targeting Individuals In The Cayman Islands, 8 August

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The RCIPS is warning the public about a Global Investment / Romance Scam known widely as  “Pig-Butchering”, a sophisticated scam operated by overseas criminal groups targeting victims in the Cayman Islands.


The scam is a type of fraud in which criminals lure victims into digital relationships to build trust before convincing them to invest in cryptocurrency platforms. Unbeknownst to victims, the fraudsters control the platforms and will eventually take all the money and vanish.


Drawing its name from the Chinese phrase, Shazhupan, the scams are usually perpetrated over a long period of time, they combine elements of romance scams, investment schemes, and cryptocurrency fraud. The objectionable term involves fraudsters building a relationship with their victims, metaphorically fattening the pig before deceiving them into making investments in fake business ventures before the “butchering” and scamming them of their every penny.


Anyone can fall victim to this type of scam however the most common victims have been persons between the ages of 30 and 60. A wide cross-section of victims have been seen globally, including those who you’d least expect; police officers, those familiar with investment products, graduate students, engineers, consultant doctors and even those working in the virtual currency space. Unlike the stereotypical scam victim, many of them are highly educated and digitally savvy.



Victims commonly lose between KYD25,000 – KYD$100,000, although others lose many hundreds of thousands, with some unfortunately tricked into parting with over KYD $millions. Unfortunately, it is the case that very few victims are able to get any money back. Whilst the actual frauds are often perpetrated by smaller scale fraud shops or teams of scammers, in the majority of occasions, criminals use a third-party money laundering service to obfuscate and hide the stolen funds within a huge and sophisticate network turning over billions of dollars before being cashed out, usually to Chinese crime syndicates operating in South East Asia.


While this scam sometimes uses romance as a tactic, scammers can also build other types of personal or professional relationships over time in order to convince their targets to invest more money.


Investigators within the Cayman Islands Bureau of Financial Investigation (CIBFI) encourage anyone who feels they may be engaging in online activities that appear similar to what is described, to visit our crime prevention page here, review our tips and take the necessary steps to prevent any further loss. You may also call (+1 345 649 4358) to make a report or speak with an investigator in person.