Undercover video exposes massive "Pig Butchering" romance scam center in Dubai

Scam Buster Jim Browning collaborated with an insider to record undercover video inside a pig butchering scam operating from a large complex in Dubai. Here, offices full of migrant workers impersonate glamorous models on dating apps to lure victims into fake investment opportunities. They hire models for video calls to add credibility.

The "pig butchering" scam is a form of fraud combining elements of romance scams, investment schemes, and cryptocurrency fraud. It originally started in Southeast Asia and is known as "Shā Zhū Pán" in Chinese, which translates to "pig butchering."

They contact potential victims through dating apps, moving conversations to WhatsApp or Telegram to evade the dating apps' scam detection systems. They use specialized software to manage multiple conversations across different languages. The primary tool for their scam is an app that falsely promises high investment returns, convincing victims to invest their money into what appears to be a lucrative opportunity. Victims are initially directed to sign up for legitimate crypto exchanges before being tricked into downloading a fake app where their investments would supposedly yield high returns.

Undercover footage and audio provided by the insider revealed the recruiting process for these scams. The majority of the workforce in these call centers are migrant workers from North Africa or Southeast Asia, controlled by bosses predominantly from China who hold on to workers' passports to keep them captive. The video shows them working in abysmal conditions. Browning calls them the "equivalent of modern-day slaves."

From the video:

The scams all have one thing in common: a glamorous Asian lady has reached out to you via WhatsApp or on a dating app and eventually encourages you to invest money in something you've probably never heard of. So, how do you avoid becoming a victim of one of these sorts of scams? Well, hopefully, by seeing exactly how the scam works, you'll be prepared whenever you see something like this. You certainly won't be able to tell whether something's a scam or not just by looking at how good the website is. This is a completely fake investment website, yet functionally it works perfectly. A better clue to it being a scam is what happens whenever you attempt to withdraw money. Normally, it should go directly into your bank account. But if it says something like a finance tap or a broker needs to look at your request, it could well be a scam.

But the number one rule is, if it seems much too good to be true, then it almost definitely is.