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Romance and Investment Fraud

Romance and Investment fraud combined


In the last few months PC Irvine from the North East Crime Reduction Team has seen a steady increase in a new type of fraud now labelled (Pig Butchering). We have seen several victims of this crime, both male and female who lost savings ranging from £5,000 to £25,000.

‘Scammers’ continuously evolve their tactics to exploit unsuspecting individuals. A recent deceptive scheme gaining traction is the 'pig butchering' scam—a hybrid fraud combining elements of romance and investment.


The scam is a sophisticated and manipulative scheme that preys on individuals looking for love before turning conversations toward investment opportunities. It begins with scammers creating fake online profiles on dating platforms or social media. These profiles are designed to be attractive, enticing, and seemingly genuine. The scammer will often encourage their victim to move from the dating platform to a private messaging service, thus removing them from the protections of the dating site.


Once a connection is established with a victim, the scammer builds trust and develops a romantic relationship. Over time, they introduce the idea of investing in a lucrative venture—often cryptocurrency or property. The scammers claim to have insider knowledge, promising high returns and financial stability.


To lend credibility, the scammers may provide forged documents, testimonials, or even arrange phone calls with supposed business partners or experts. They exploit the victim's emotions, leveraging the trust built through the romantic relationship to convince them to invest significant amounts of money.


However, once the victim makes the investment, the scammer disappears, leaving them heartbroken and financially devastated. The promised returns never materialize, and the victim is left with no way to recoup their losses.


How to Avoid Falling Victim

Protecting oneself from the scam requires a combination of caution, scepticism, and awareness. Here are some crucial steps to avoid becoming a victim:

Exercise Caution with Online Relationships: Be cautious when forming relationships online, especially if they progress rapidly or seem too good to be true. Maintain a healthy scepticism and take the time to verify the authenticity of the person you are interacting with.

Guard Personal and Financial Information: Never share sensitive personal or financial details with someone you have only met online. Scammers can use this information to exploit you financially or steal your identity.

Conduct Background Checks: Research the individual thoroughly. Use search engines and social media platforms to gather information and cross-check their claims. Look for any inconsistencies or red flags that might indicate a scam.

Avoid Financial Transactions with Online Acquaintances: Refrain from making financial transactions or investments with individuals you have met online, especially if they involve large sums of money. Legitimate investments should be made through established and regulated financial institutions.

Consult Trusted Advisors: Seek advice from friends, family, or financial professionals before making any major investment decisions. They can provide an objective perspective and help identify potential scams.

The 'pig butchering' scam is a hybrid deception that exploits both romance and investment. By maintaining vigilance, conducting thorough research, and seeking advice, individuals can protect themselves from falling victim to this manipulative scheme. Stay alert and remember that trust should be earned, not blindly given.





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Police Scotland's North East Division covers rural and urban areas in Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City. The division has five territorial command areas which have their own dedicated Area Commander, who is responsible for the daily policing function. Each command area is served by a number of community policing teams whose activities are built around the needs of the local community. These teams respond to local calls and look for long term solutions to key issues. They are assisted by the division's Crime Reduction Unit who deliver against Force and local priorities in a number of areas, including physical and social crime prevention, supporting and enhancing community engagement and creating and sustaining strong and effective partnership working.


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Message Sent By
Mark Irvine
(Police Scotland, Constable, A Div - Grampian)

Neighbourhood Alert Cyber Essentials