Communication is very frequent (several times a day) and soon turns to investment talk. Most people now know to avoid requests for money, so scammers are getting smarter and using persuasion rather than direct requests. Through discussions about investments and profits, the victim is slowly sucked into what looks like an innocent conversation but is actually in a grooming stage, in which they are prepared to engage in an investment.
This stage can last days or even weeks. Scammer also take cues from the victim, assessing what type of relationship are they after; companionship, relationship, or business deal, adjusting and adapting the conversation accordingly.
The potential victim is then heavily coached through screenshots about how to download trading apps, transfer funds, and buy or transfer funds into cryptocurrency. They are encouraged to invest more and more as time goes on, even getting loans and taking money out of their retirement plan to continue investing. The losses can be devastating.
Pig butchering scams are very clever and combine several methods found in different types of scams. Rather than follow the exact script, the scammer tailors the scam based on the victim's response and level of engagement, sometimes developing intense romantic relationships quickly or acting as a friend and confidante. Their focus is to insert themselves in your daily life, keep earning your trust and slowly introducing the idea of investing over time, until the victim is ready to invest. As such, this scam may not raise typical warning signs that come with typical investment scams, like being pressured to invest. Instead, they rely on priming that happens over time (slowly exposing you to an idea of investment to evoke compliance later on), which is often subconscious. The best thing to do, in order to avoid getting involved, is to ignore any unsolicited messages, however innocent they sound.