'Pig Butchering' - The latest scam to hit north-east victims
He explained: "We have seen several victims of this crime, both male and female who lost savings ranging from £5000 to £25,000.
"Scammers continuously evolve their tactics to exploit unsuspecting individuals.
"A recent deceptive scheme gaining traction is the pig butchering scam—a hybrid fraud combining elements of romance and investment.
"The scam is a sophisticated and manipulative scheme that preys on individuals looking for love before turning conversations toward investment opportunities.
"It begins with scammers creating fake online profiles on dating platforms or social media.
"These profiles are designed to be attractive, enticing, and seemingly genuine.
"The scammer will often encourage their victim to move from the dating platform to a private messaging service, thus removing them from the protections of the dating site."
He continued: "Once a connection is established with a victim, the scammer builds trust and develops a romantic relationship.
"Over time, they introduce the idea of investing in a lucrative venture—often cryptocurrency or property. The scammers claim to have insider knowledge, promising high returns and financial stability.
"To lend credibility, the scammers may provide forged documents, testimonials, or even arrange phone calls with supposed business partners or experts.
"They exploit the victim's emotions, leveraging the trust built through the romantic relationship to convince them to invest significant amounts of money.
"However, once the victim makes the investment, the scammer disappears, leaving them heartbroken and financially devastated.
"The promised returns never materialize, and the victim is left with no way to recoup their losses."