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

People from Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma, and other similar places are attracted to the economic security that places like Dubai promise. They are recruited by local labor brokers–and actually pay money, to travel to places like Dubai on the hope that they can get by there for years, make money, send it home, and deliver prosperity to their families back home who are living in relative poverty and destitution. I gather that packing hundreds of them into a space to perform menial tasks, like carrying out a pig butchering algorithm, is a cost-effective operation in a place that, apparently, is not as tightly regulated as we are led to believe.



I hate weaselly expressions like “it could well be a scam”. If I could get potential victims to understand one thing, it would be this: “If someone you don’t personally know contacts you online and mentions money in any context, it is a scam, without exception. No matter what they say or how convincing they are, this is a bad person who means to take all of your money.”

Of course there are cases where someone you do know apparently contacts you: some dirtbags use the “Your grandson is in the hospital and needs emergency surgery which must be prepaid” or “Grandma, it’s me, Jason, and I need money” tactic. That can be difficult to deal with, because they prey on your emotions and make you think time is of the essence. But if a stranger contacts you and brings up the topic of money, they are trying to scam you, period.


Well, not everybody is as smart as you are.


Oh, so you ARE ghosting me?!! :sob:


I’ve not gotten any on WhatsApp yet, but was getting a bunch of random text messages for a while. I ignored them and it seems they realized I was a dead end because the messages tapered off.

Working conditions aside, I love how in the second video the call center guys are gloating that the scam baiter “ruined it for himself,” because they’ve all seen his videos now. Didn’t he just nab $40k from them?


You answer your own question in part…

As for your dad, perhaps he was scared of losing his data.

Scumbag scammers aren’t engaged in a contest of intellect. They prey on loneliness, fear and desperation. Even skeptical and alert people can be victims if pressure is applied at a bad moment.


For my dad, it was fear of being prosecuted for an embarrassing crime, which he would have supposedly committed indirectly through the scammer–the scammer convinced him he had already directly purchased contraband from his account without the bank or him knowing because the transaction was still in process and in order to cancel it, dad needed to send the bitcoin instead. It was very convoluted and dubious, and yet its continuing success justified the call-center warehouse full of vulnerable immigrants to perpetuate it. Once AI gets incorporated into this scheme, we are going to be in for levels of effort that require even more acute skepticism.


I consider my dad to be more skeptical (or smarter) than average me, yet the scammers somehow found a way to get at him.

It’s extremely frustrating that this scheme has been around for well long enough for us to recognize it and that people who want to make a genuine contribution to their community are essentially being enslaved to carry it out.


For sure, but one reason so many end up falling for it is that the “pig butchering” tactics have apparently been getting much more subtle than they once were.

The SOP for the scammers now is to run a long con that avoids bringing up the topics of money or crypto until they have been building a fake rapport for weeks, and even then do so subtly enough that the mark ends up asking how they can get in on that sweet crypto investment action instead of the other way around.

When investigative reporter Zeke Faux got one of those “wrong number” messages he realized what was up right away but decided to go along with it for a while to learn more about how the scams work. He was most impressed by how much restraint the scammer had about bringing up money, to the point where Faux was actually getting impatient about when they were finally going to move on to the “scam” part.


Not sure if it counts as pig butchering or has another name (it’s extorsion, for sure). In my country recently there has been a surge of what we call nude photo scam. The strategy begins the same, they lure men, mostly middle aged, but instead of asking for participating in a crypto scam, both parties have a “passionate” chat and exchange lewd pictures. After that the “father” of the girl appears, saying she’s a minor and that he wants something in exchange for not pressing charges.

The scam is so elaborated that at some point fake cops in sets that imitate precincts make calls demanding money or the victim will be exposed and go to jail. Even if the victim pays, he is asked for more money and the losses may amount to the equivalent of tens of thousand dollars.

AFAIK it is operated locally. Victims and scammers, all from Brazil.

(news story in portuguese)


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