Public Key Podcast

Best of Public Key’s Pig Butchering Discussions – Ep. 98

Episode 98 of the Public Key podcast is here and in a Public Key first, we are going to take the best of our Pig Butchering episodes recorded over the last 2 years and really break down this romance / investment crypto scam. You will hear from the District Attorneys and Law Enforcement Agents fighting this crime on the front lines all the way to the private sector data companies and international journalists. 

You can listen or subscribe now on Spotify, Apple, or Audible. Keep reading for a full preview of episode 98.

Public Key Episode 98: The Complex World of Crypto Romance / Investment Scams

This week we’ve got a special episode for you. Over the nearly two years since we started the podcast one of our most frequent topics has been the crypto romance / investment scam known as Pig Butchering

In a Public Key first Ian Andrews (CMO, Chainalysis)  highlight impactful statements from past guests, including: Erin West, Alona Katz, Alastair McCready, Nicola Staub and Detective Matthew Hogan, who discuss the scam’s exponential growth, with Southeast Asia emerging as a hotbed for these criminal operations.

The guests emphasize that these crimes are not isolated incidents but part of an organized crime network with ties to human trafficking and forced labor, generating billions in stolen funds annually.

The group covers the basics of pig butchering, tactics used by international criminals, challenges in combating the crime, and how collaboration and educational awareness are key solutions to preventing this complex crime.

Alastair highlights the neglect by authorities in countries housing these pig butchering scam compounds, while the remaining guests explain how public-private  partnerships have been the key to info-sharing and collaboration of resources. 

Quote of the episode

“The more I look into this, the more I realize that it’s way more than pig butchering. What we’re seeing is transnational organized crime that is being perpetuated on an industrial level. We are seeing these criminals who have had over 5 years to entrench themselves in Southeast Asia, building massive compounds, infrastructure, organized ways of doing business. So our fight is more important than ever.”  – Erin West (Deputy District Attorney, Santa Clara County)

Minute-by-minute episode breakdown

  • (2:15) – What Is Pig Butchering and how is it executed
  • (8:20) Detective engages with a pig butchering scammer to gather evidence
  • (12:50) – Discussion on scammers using legitimate crypto exchanges and web wallets
  • (16:50) – Human Trafficking victims forced to become scammers and heroic story of a victim’s escape
  • (21:21) – Southeast Asia a hotbed for pig butchering scammers 
  • (27:50) – Limited resources of law enforcement and the collaboration of public and private sector
  • (31:25) – REACT Task force formed to combat high tech crime including SIM Swapping and Pig Butchering 
  • (36:38) – How are Bitcoin ATMs used to facilitate payment to scammers
  • (39:25) – Erin West describes why the problem is getting worse and what we need to do to stop it

Related resources

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Speakers on today’s episode

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