It’s a scam so ugly they call it “pig butchering.” It targets single women who are “fattened up” during a bogus online romance before being “butchered” by losing large sums of money, along with the phony online lovers. Authorities are warning women to be on their guard after several victims reported being conned out of five and six-figure sums — or even more — while believing they were being romantically pursued by prosperous suitors, the U.K. Daily Mail reported. One of the most recent victims was Rebecca Holloway, a twice-divorced 42-year-old who met “Fred” on the Tinder dating app in March. As their online “romance” seemed to heat up, she told the news outlet, the two began discussing his cryptocurrency investments. Soon, Fred helped her transfer $1,000 to a site that appeared to be a real cryptocurrency platform, where she immediately saw a $168 gain. She invested $6,000 the next trade, and then she decided to cash out her $100,000 401K, forfeiting a chunk for federal taxes, which left her with $70,000 to transfer to the site. All this time, she had never met Fred face to face. “While he avoided meeting up in person, he would video-call her while he was making dinner — though she said he was mostly off-camera and she struggled to get a proper look at his face,” the Daily Mail reported. The light bulb came on after a friend told her about “pig butchering.” “That’s when I realized what had happened,” she said. [firefly_poll] The New York Post reported the FBI has issued a warning on the scams. “Individual losses related to these schemes ranged from tens of thousands to millions of dollars,” according to the agency’s statement. The Post quoted Satnam Narang from Tenable, a cyber exposure management company, as saying the COVID lockdowns “created the perfect storm for these types of scams,” as people were stuck at home, yearning for human contact. “This created a very ripe opportunity for scammers to take advantage of folks over the last couple of years,” Narang said. The Australian Broadcasting Commission reported that thousands of people in Asia have been trafficked to Cambodia, where they are forced to participate in pig butchering schemes, luring in new victims. “[S]cammers follow sophisticated scripts to earn their mark’s trust, then encourage them to download a fake investment app,” the ABC reported. Not long after that, the victims’ life savings are history. Narang’s advice for potential victims: “If anybody on a dating app is trying to get you to invest your money into something — That’s a huge red flag,” he said. “When red flags start to go off in your mind, or you feel like something’s off — trust your instinct.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.