New Partner Asking For Money? You Might Be Getting 'Pig Butchered'

These are the four scams to look out for in 2023.
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We’re in a cost-of-living crisis, so the last thing you want to do is fall for a financial scam. Hence why Consumer group Which? has issued a warning about the most convincing scams it has seen so far in 2023.

The consumer group warns Brits that several sophisticated scams are spreading. The UK Government published a new fraud strategy, earlier this month including banning cold calls on all financial products, such as insurance or dodgy cryptocurrency schemes.

Additionally, the UK Government intends to work with Ofcom to use new technology to prevent fraudsters from impersonating legitimate UK phone numbers.

Under the plans, banks will be allowed to delay payments from being processed for longer to allow for suspect payments to be investigated.

Here is Which?’s list of scams to watch out for:

1. Pig butchering

If you’ve watched the Netflix documentary, Tinder Swindler, you’ll be familiar with this financial scam. These scams work by “fattening up” the victim by creating a romantic connection before taking the victim’s money.

The scammer and victim typically meet on a dating site where the victim is “love-bombed” for a short while by the fraudster. As time goes on, the scammer will take their victim’s number, so they can remove them from any protections the dating website might offer.

When the victim has fallen for the scammer, the scammer will claims they have success from investing in property or cryptocurrency – and they offer to invest some of the victim’s money.

If the victim consents, they are sometimes shown a crypto trading platform controlled by the scammers and encouraged to sign up and begin depositing funds. One UK victim lost £107,000 to such a scam, believing she was investing in retirement apartments overseas, Which? said.

2. Fake missing person appeals

People are being prompted to share fake online posts about missing people more widely. Which? said its experts know they’re fake because there are near-identical posts in community pages across the world, simply with the location being changed.

Comments on these pages are being switched off to avoid people pointing out the inconsistencies, Which? said.

After the post has gained a lot of attention the contents are edited into something completely different, like a straightforward investment scam. The high number of likes and shares that stay on the post lends credibility to the fraud.

Which? said the “despicable” scam relies on responsible citizens liking and sharing posts in an attempt to help, which they do, in large numbers. Though, some missing person posts are genuine Which? say it can sometimes be hard to tell.

To avoid engaging in a scam like this Which? suggests only sharing official posts, posted by organisations such as the police or the Missing People charity (

3. PayPal scams

This scam is quite common but is still not widely known by everyone. This con involves people receiving a “money request” from a genuine PayPal email address. This might seem above board but scammers may send out fake payment requests, often for high-value items, or posing as HMRC to demand “overdue” tax payments, Which? said.

In some versions of the scam, the fake invoice states the victim’s PayPal account has been compromised and urges them to call a fake fraud hotline.

People should never pay PayPal invoices they do not recognise, or call phone numbers in those invoices, the consumer group said.

4. Fake app alert

Smartphone users should be cautious about the apps they download as some can install malware on phones, steal data and perpetuate scams, Which? warned.

It said app stores do take steps to crack down on the problem but threats can persist. When installing an app, click on the developer’s name and check what other apps it has made to see if these seem legitimate, Which? suggested.

Additionally, it said people should remember that app reviews aren’t always authentic. The app will likely ask users for permissions – to use the camera, for example.

People who believe they may have been scammed should contact their payment provider immediately and report it to Action Fraud.

“Consumers can help protect themselves from scams by accessing the wide range of free, expert advice on Which?’s website, from signing up to our scam alerts service to getting answers on how to get their money back if they do fall victim to fraud,” Lisa Barber, Which? tech editor said.