Kelly’ was a financial consultant who fell victim to two ‘pig-butchering’ scams – a mash-up of romance and investment scams run by Asia-based syndicates. Both were men she met on Instagram and then chatted with on WhatsApp. She lost a total of about S$35,000 to them. Though she was wary after the first scam, she reveals how the second scammer got past her guard with emotional and psychological manipulation. He even spoke to and got close to her kids, and got to know all sorts of intimate details of her life. He only brought up an investment ‘proposal’ two months into their online relationship. Besides tailoring their scripts to each victim – through detailed analysis of the victim’s chat behaviour and social media – scammers constantly change up their tactics to snare even wary prey. By sharing her story, ‘Kelly’ hopes to warn people that even educated or financially savvy professionals may be taken in. She now volunteers with the Global Anti-Scam Organization (GASO) to expose scammers and help victims.

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