Although the price of Bitcoin dropped substantially recently, cryptocurrencies still attract myriads of swindlers like honey attracts bees.
We read a lot about fake ICOs (initial coin offerings), cryptojacking, and phishing scams. It is interesting that formerly the greatest cyber-threat called ransomware became less lucrative to online criminals. They switch to crypto-mining malware now.
As Twitter and Reddit being the major news sources for crypto-communities (like Bloomberg is for stock market traders) no surprise scammers utilize these channels for their rogue activities. Let’s take a look at some recent examples of how crooks try to trick gullible users.
Someone recently created a fake Twitter account impersonating Charlie Lee who is the Litecoin founder. He uses a @SatoshiLitez nickname instead of real @SatoshiLite. This fake Charlie Lee (with just a few followers on Twitter) offers free Litcoin (LTC). He proclaims he is going to donate 180 Litecoins.
As a side note, all Litecoin aficionados know pretty well that real Charlie Lee sold all his LTC in December. Even if real Charlie Lee had some LTC, he would never donate them through such a contest.
This actual scheme is as old as time; users need to send 0.3 LTC to the cyber-bandolero’s wallet address and he/she will then return 3 LTC to the address the 0.3 LTC arrived from. It is clear this is a scam that should be avoided by all means.
The scammer tries little to make his operation believable. However, the crypto gold rush was so intense last months, bringing less tech-savvy users into this field, that it is possible some people fell victims to such frauds. Most of the novice users cannot distinguish real Twitter accounts from fake ones.
Another example of the same scheme (and most likely initiated by the same author) impersonates Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin offering 2 ETH in return to previously sent 0.1 ETH.
Wallet addresses indicated in most tweets have little to no balance. However, this situation may change if bad guys stay active and repeatedly push their scam.
Google trends reflect Bitcoin price perfectly well. In February we see that fewer people are interested in cryptocurrencies. Popular Bitcoin exchanges re-opening registration proves this fact.
But readers should be sure that once Bitcoin price starts growing again, new waves of users will rush into crypto again, and here will be scammers waiting for them.
About David Balaban
David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 15 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the Privacy-PC.com project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking.