Posted on

Bitcoin Scams: Singaporeans Losing Thousands of Dollars to Crypto Fraudsters

Singapore authorities recent report that residents have lost about $78,000 to fraudulent online platforms in three months.

Online Cryptocurrency Scam Using Fake Personalities

The Straits Times reports that Singapore residents have fallen victim to some online Bitcoin scams in a couple of months, losing up to $78,000 between September and November 2018. The police claimed that unsuspecting Singaporeans were the target of these investment scams.

The authorities stated that these scams came in the form on paid online ads and had pictures of famous Singaporean celebrities/personalities. These personalities are portrayed as endorsing the use of virtual currency such as Bitcoin and how they have profited by investing in cryptocurrency.

Unsuspecting Singapore investors who can’t see right through the faux go ahead to click on the suspicious links and further directed to another website. The new website would then show investments in digital currency. The scam sites always have a “representative” who contacts victims that provide personal details on their websites.

According to the police, these online cryptocurrency scam sites are foreign and do not have permission from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Victims and their investments at risk and fraudulent sites cannot be traced or verified. Investors would also have a hard time laying a complaint against such fraudulent schemes.

Authorities further stated that there was no regulatory framework for virtual currency and as such, no protection exists for investor funds. However, the police gave out its hotline and website for Singapore residents to contact, if they suspect online platforms of scam.

Cryptocurrency Scammers Use Online Platforms to Swindle Investors

Online cryptocurrency scammers using images of prominent personalities and celebrities, is nothing new. Most of these fraudulent websites and online platforms use these images, going as far as claiming that these personalities are cashing out big on Bitcoin investment. The investor who can’t tell its all fake, end up as victims.

The Singapore authorities back in September warned its citizens against two fake virtual currency websites showcasing the Prime Minister and his deputy. The internet scammers used both government officials to get Bitcoin investments from unsuspecting victims.

Also, Twitter has become a den for digital currency fraudsters who hack into accounts of personalities and announce elaborate giveaways. Well-known Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, is a victim of impersonation by cryptocurrency scammers on Twitter.

Recently, a group of hackers breached Twitter accounts of two British outlets and changed the profile picture and name to Elon Musk. The scammers further stated via tweets that “Elon Musk” was giving away 10,000 Bitcoin (BTC).

Furthermore, fraudsters hacked Twitter accounts belonging to Target and Google’s G Suite. For Target’s, scammers announced a 5,000 BTC while G Suite hackers tweeted a 10,000 BTC giveaway to all community.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

The post Bitcoin Scams: Singaporeans Losing Thousands of Dollars to Crypto Fraudsters appeared first on Ethereum World News.

Posted on

Bitcoin Scams: Singaporeans Losing Thousands of Dollars to Crypto Fraudsters

Singapore authorities recent report that residents have lost about $78,000 to fraudulent online platforms in three months.

Online Cryptocurrency Scam Using Fake Personalities

The Straits Times reports that Singapore residents have fallen victim to some online Bitcoin scams in a couple of months, losing up to $78,000 between September and November 2018. The police claimed that unsuspecting Singaporeans were the target of these investment scams.

The authorities stated that these scams came in the form on paid online ads and had pictures of famous Singaporean celebrities/personalities. These personalities are portrayed as endorsing the use of virtual currency such as Bitcoin and how they have profited by investing in cryptocurrency.

Unsuspecting Singapore investors who can’t see right through the faux go ahead to click on the suspicious links and further directed to another website. The new website would then show investments in digital currency. The scam sites always have a “representative” who contacts victims that provide personal details on their websites.

According to the police, these online cryptocurrency scam sites are foreign and do not have permission from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Victims and their investments at risk and fraudulent sites cannot be traced or verified. Investors would also have a hard time laying a complaint against such fraudulent schemes.

Authorities further stated that there was no regulatory framework for virtual currency and as such, no protection exists for investor funds. However, the police gave out its hotline and website for Singapore residents to contact, if they suspect online platforms of scam.

Cryptocurrency Scammers Use Online Platforms to Swindle Investors

Online cryptocurrency scammers using images of prominent personalities and celebrities, is nothing new. Most of these fraudulent websites and online platforms use these images, going as far as claiming that these personalities are cashing out big on Bitcoin investment. The investor who can’t tell its all fake, end up as victims.

The Singapore authorities back in September warned its citizens against two fake virtual currency websites showcasing the Prime Minister and his deputy. The internet scammers used both government officials to get Bitcoin investments from unsuspecting victims.

Also, Twitter has become a den for digital currency fraudsters who hack into accounts of personalities and announce elaborate giveaways. Well-known Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, is a victim of impersonation by cryptocurrency scammers on Twitter.

Recently, a group of hackers breached Twitter accounts of two British outlets and changed the profile picture and name to Elon Musk. The scammers further stated via tweets that “Elon Musk” was giving away 10,000 Bitcoin (BTC).

Furthermore, fraudsters hacked Twitter accounts belonging to Target and Google’s G Suite. For Target’s, scammers announced a 5,000 BTC while G Suite hackers tweeted a 10,000 BTC giveaway to all community.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

The post Bitcoin Scams: Singaporeans Losing Thousands of Dollars to Crypto Fraudsters appeared first on Ethereum World News.

Posted on

Ethereum Scam Swindles Over $40,000 From Unsuspecting Android Users

$400 For A Logo… Woops 

For years, the cryptocurrency industry has been rife with unbridled creativity from an amassment ofindividuals. While this innovation has resulted in some unique projects, products, and services, creative and near ingenious crypto-related scams have become a common, near-daily sight for many consumers.

Lucas Stefanko, a European cybersecurity researcher, recently brought attention to a new Ethereum-centric scam on the Android Google Play store that was unique in its own right. According to Stefanko, the scam was just an app, one that costs €335 (~$390) that is, that portrayed itself as “Ethereum.”

As the image implies, the app claims to sell “just an Ethereum” for 335 Euros, or approximately $100 over the current value of a single ETH token. While the exorbitant price would be somewhat of a scam in itself if that app actually provided users with one ETH, it turns out that users who purchased the “Ethereum” app got nothing but the classic Ethereum logo, with all of its sharp vectors, minimalistic features, and dark aesthetics.

What’s even more bizarre is that in the app’s over a one-year lifespan, it has garnered over 100+ installs from unsuspecting users, racking up a minimum of $39,000 in the process.

Maybe some users were tricked by the 22 reviews (likely fraudulent), which gave the app an average rating of four out of five stars, or by the apparent firm behind the app — “Google Commerce LTD.” Obviously enough, it isn’t Google nor an affiliated subsidiary that is offering this app, as the firm wouldn’t be caught dead taking part in such a scheme. However, reports from The Next Web have speculated that including Google Commerce may have aided the app’s developers to get their scammy app listed on the Play Store. Although Google has touted its secure system, it would make sense that even some small things sneak past Google’s ‘eye of Sauron’.

While it is unclear who is behind the app, or who unfortunately bought it, the app has since been removed from the Play Store, likely in direct correlation with the security researcher’s tweet.

Google Play Store Remains A Battleground For Crypto Apps

In related news, it was recently revealed that Google’s attempts to stave off crypto mining apps have been rather unsuccessful. As reported by Ethereum World News, Google made an attempt to restrict apps that mine cryptocurrencies in late-July. Nearly one month after the firm’s announcement, mining apps, new and old alike, were still present on the Play Store.

JSEcoin, play store, mining app, cryptocurrencyImage Courtesy of TNW

One app included JSECoin, which allowed users to manage desktop mining operations remotely, while also providing users with a method of mining cryptocurrencies through a mobile device. Although this app was totally within the rules prior to the apparent ban, JSECoin somehow slipped under Google’s all-watching radar after the crackdown occurred. While the technology giant has since responded, cracking down on the app and also noting that it will give existing mining apps a thirty-day grace period, others aren’t convinced that the firm’s efforts are warranted. Nonetheless, Google has begun to show fleeting signs that it may be beginning to accept blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

loading…

Posted on

A Look Into The Mind Of An “ETH Giveaway” Twitter Scammer

Crypto Pet Peeves — Twitter Scam Bots

Ethereum giveaway scam bots are the pet peeve of any cryptocurrency Twitter user, with these malicious accounts littering the comment sections of tweets. Nearly everyone in this nascent community has seen them, but for those who don’t know what these bots are, here’s a bit of an explanation.

These so-called “giveaway scam bots” are fraudulent Twitter accounts that pose as celebrities, entrepreneurs or even cryptocurrency personalities to garner attention or cryptocurrencies. The most notable cases of these scams include Twitter ‘giving away ETH’ scams, with scammers requesting for users to send a certain amount of Ether to an address, in exchange for a substantially larger payout. Obviously, nothing ever comes of these requests, as the unfortunate few who send their funds to the addresses never receive anything in return.

As reported by Ethereum World News, cybersecurity researchers recently uncovered that there were upwards of 15,000 individual accounts dedicated to garnering scammed cryptocurrency. While this figure may not tell the whole story, with bots getting banned left and right, Duo Security’s search spanned 88 million Twitter accounts, so the firm’s claims hold some credence at the very least.

These pesky scam bots have become so widespread that Vitalik Buterin, a well-known co-founder of Ethereum, had to go as far as changing his username to set his account apart from scam accounts. Along with changing his name, the Ethereum co-founder even called out Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to fix the issue.

Moreover, not only has this issue affected well-known individuals in the crypto community, but it has also affected mainstream celebrities, with accounts being made in the likeness of Elon Musk’s Twitter page being seen on a near-daily basis. In fact, these accounts have become so common that Elon Musk himself acknowledged them, poking fun at the “scambots” concept in the following tweet.

While the extent of these scams is easily apparent, little is known about the operation itself, or the people behind it. But as Boing Boing reports, Adam Guerbuez, a cryptocurrency evangelist, recently received some insight on this whole scam bot debacle.

Up Close And Personal With A Scam Bot Operator 

Guerbuez, the aforementioned cryptocurrency evangelist and personality, first encountered this form of cryptocurrency scam on his Twitter, with an account promising his followers “free” Ethereum. While Guerbuez obviously knew that this tweet was made in malintent, out of curiosity, he asked the scammer if they could discuss the whole operation.

Oddly enough, the scammer agreed, likely due to the fact that the operator was a big fan of Guerbuez’s social media outlets. According to the unnamed individual, these scams can rake in upwards of $50,000 a day, with a good day potentially pulling in a staggering $100,000 in Ethereum. While the claims were not backed up by any evidence, taking into account the prevalence of these scams, it is more than likely that these figures are well warranted.

The scammer went on to explain the inner workings of his/her/their operations, adding that the bots are run by small teams that enlist the help of many automated practices. The scammer wrote:

“Well, the process from generating accounts, to tweeting to rotating ETH wallet address is all done automatic by our bots. The only manual process is cashing out.”

Closing off the interview, the scammer, referred to as “ETHGiveaway” by Boing Boing, explained that Twitter verified accounts (the accounts with a blue checkmark beside their name) while costing upwards of $1,000, are of no use to scammers anymore, as “mooches (scammed individuals) will send ETH to any account we make.”

Although Twitter may be doing its best to crack down on these scams, it is still evident that these fraudulent accounts are as common as ever in this nascent cryptosphere.

Photo by Marius Ciutacu on Unsplash

loading…

Posted on

Famous Thai Actor “Boom” Jaravijit Arrested for Multimillionaire Crypto Scam

On August 9, Bangkok police arrested Thai actor Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit, 27, in Chatuchak district for engaging in a money-laundering scheme worth approximately 797 million Baht, about 24 million US Dollars.

Mr. Jaravijit’s arrest. (Police Photo)

According to information provided by the Bankok Post, the actor was at the Major Cineplex Ratchayothin complex shooting a film when the police arrested him. The Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest on July 26 for alleged collusion in money laundering.

The press release says that Mr. Jaravit approached a Finnish businessman and proposed a deal to him. Apparently, he and his gang chose the victim after learning that he possessed large amounts of Bitcoin.
The victim who goes by the name of Aarni Otava Saarimaa was convinced to send a significant amount of money in Bitcoins (BTC) under the condition that the funds would be used to buy shares in companies that had invested in Dragon Coin’s ICO.

Supitcha JaravijitSupitcha Jaravijit. courtesy: Bangkok Post

Mr. Saarimaa explains that after the transaction he became suspicious because he had not received any document of share-selling nor had been invited to the meetings of any of these companies.

This situation prompted him to file a complaint with the Thai authorities, culminating in the arrest of Jaravit and seven other individuals, including his elderly brother Parinya Jaraviji and Supitcha Jaravijit, his elder sister.

Other four subjects who are “well-known businessmen at the Stock Exchange of Thailand” may also be involved.

The Thai newspaper says that a multimillion-dollar scam carried out by using cryptos, made it quite difficult to trace:

“The complainant told police at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) that 797 million baht worth of bitcoin was transferred to the suspects’ e-wallets. The complainant never received any dividends from the claimed companies nor an invitation to their shareholders’ meetings.

It was also disclosed that the “companies” did not invest in Dragon Coin and that the suspects repeatedly sidestepped questions when quizzed about what was happening.”

As explained, Jaravi would have sent the funds to some relatives’ wallets. The Police have already impounded assets worth about 200 million baht.

Mr. Jaravi has denied the charges and is waiting for a prompt defense. The Bankok Post reports he was “temporarily released the actor on a 2-million-baht bail bond on condition he does not leave the country”

loading…

Posted on

Sky Mining CEO Scams $35 Million in Investor Funds

Cryptocurrency–The unfortunate reality of an unregulated, Wild West marketplace has struck the cryptocurrency industry again. Sky Mining, a cryptocurrency mining conglomerate based out of Vietnam, saw its CEO exit scam with over $35 million worth of investors funds, as reported by a local news outlet.

Lê Minh Tâm, CEO of Sky Mining, has been accused of making off with the money after a bizarre turn of events led to investors questioning the validity of the project. A week ago, twenty investors in the company reported to the local police an increasing amount of evidence that pointed at an exit scam. In addition to the CEO being unreachable for over a week, investors reported that 600 mining rigs had been removed from the premises by men claiming to be maintenance workers. Investors also reported that the central office for the mining operation had been closed and that the branding material adorning the building was removed.

Le Minh Hieu, deputy chairman of Sky Mining, shared in an interview with local media that he believed Tâm had made off with the funds in addition to the extensive and expensive mining equipment. While Hieu excuses himself from any wrongdoing in the fraud, he did shed light on the event,

“[The board] has reported this to the police and showed evidence that we are not guilty. We are victims, too.”

Tâm, who has been unreachable for over a week since investor funds disappeared, posted a video on Telegram stating that he was undergoing medical treatment, and that he intends to return the money and equipment. Despite admitting to holding the investor funds, Tâm maintains that he is innocent in the situation and that he has not fled the situation as his actions would otherwise indicate,

“You will have your money, thank you for your cooperation, I did not run or go anywhere, I will come back soon.”

Sky Mining, which hosts an app based out of Vietnam, claims to have over 1000 mining machines, offering a rental service to provide an income stream from the mined payout. Investors have been encouraged to put in several thousand dollars for the mining, while the company operates a typical pyramid-scheme format whereby existing customers can earn referral bonuses for getting others involved.

Vietnam has a growing cryptocurrency presence, with the country reporting thousands of mining rigs imported over the last two years. However, the government curbed the sudden growth last month, when the Vietnam Central Bank imposed restrictions on importing crypto mining machines.

The hack reveals an unfortunate side of cryptocurrency, one that is unsurprising given the fast innovation and money to be made in the industry. With lack of regulation being the standard across the globe, crypto continues to expose itself to investment fraud and other malicious schemes, in an effort to maintain decentralization. While some view a government presence as a remedy to this malpractice, it’s likely the market will do a better job policing the industry as it continues to mature. However, the short term pain of thievery and lost investor funds will continue to be a black eye on the industry.

loading…

Posted on

Cybersecurity Firm Kaspersky Calls Out Cryptocurrency Scams And Thefts

Russia-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky recently released a report highlighting 2017’s cryptocurrency “social engineering schemes,” which saw criminals net millions in cryptocurrency value.

According to estimates given by Kaspersky’s research team, the cybercriminals managed to gain over 21,000 Ethereum, or approximately $10 million at the time of press, from the “social engineering” schemes seen in 2017. 

So what did these schemes entail?

The cybersecurity firm noted that ICO and cryptocurrency giveaway scams were common, with cybercriminals “drawing inspiration” from legitimate business operations. The report noted:

Some of the most popular targets are ICO investors, who seek to invest their money in start-ups in the hope of gaining a profit in the future.

For ICO-related scams, the criminals would create fraudulent websites and emails/messages that emulate well-known projects. This method resembles the classic internet ‘phishing’ scam, which involves scammers trying to obtain funds or sensitive information by disguising as a trusted party.

Kaspersky gave the example of a Switcheo ICO scam, allowing for criminals to steal over $25,000 by promoting a misleading cryptocurrency address on Twitter, rerouting the funds from the official ICO wallet to the criminal’s wallet.

Another prominent scam involved the OmiseGo project, which is one of the most popular projects on the Ethereum network. In a similar method to the Switcheo scam, criminals created “hundreds of fake websites,” enticing users to send their hard-earned cryptocurrencies to the ‘legitimate’ address. The Russian firm noted that OmiseGo scams drew in over $1.1 million worth of cryptocurrency, by far one of the most damaging cases of “social engineering.”

Elon “Not Giving Away ETH” Musk

Another popular method enlisted by scammers was with ‘cryptocurrency giveaways,’ with bad actors creating social media accounts that pretend to be celebrities, entrepreneurs or even cryptocurrency personalities. The most notable cases of these scams include Twitter ‘giving away Ethereum’ scams, with scammers requesting for users to send Ethereum to an address, in exchange for a substantially larger payout.

Obviously, nothing ever comes of these requests, as the unfortunate few who send their funds to the addresses never get anything in return. The cybersecurity firm acknowledged cases where criminals would even mimic the Twitter accounts of Elon Musk and the founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov.

Musk, one of the world’s most prominent businessmen, acknowledged the “scambots” made in his likeness, jokingly issuing a Tweet calling these accounts out.

Nadezhda Demidova, the lead web content analyst at Kaspersky gave a statement regarding the scams, saying:

These new fraud schemes are based on simple social engineering methods, but stand out from common phishing attacks because they help criminals make millions of dollars. The success criminals have enjoyed suggests that they know how to exploit the human factor, which has always been one of the weakest links in cybersecurity, to capitalize on user behaviors.”

However, Kaspersky noted that its wide array of products have been working well to stave off scams, and have blocked over 100,000 attempts to scam its users using “fake exchanges and other sources” in the first half of 2018. Kaspersky closed the report by reaffirming that users should be wary while dealing with questionable cryptocurrency exchanges, offers, and wallets.

loading…