When some victims tried to withdraw money, the fake app required them to pay taxes to extort more money from them. Criminals encouraged another user to fund a wallet purportedly belonging to him, but it disappeared one week later.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently issued a public warning about fraudulent cryptocurrency apps. They highlighted that those apps have stolen around USD 42.7 million from US investors.
The FBI stated cybercriminals had created apps with the same logos as legitimate cryptocurrency companies. The agency pointed out that 244 investors had already been victims of fraud with those fake apps.
Cybercriminals once convinced their victims to download an app with the same logo as an existing US financial institution. They encouraged them to deposit cryptocurrencies into wallets purportedly linked with their accounts.
When the investors wanted to withdraw money from the app, it required them to pay taxes. That was a ploy to extort more money from them, as the withdrawals were unavailable even after the payment.
According to the FBI, 28 victims lost around USD 3.7 million between December 2021 and May 2022.
Similarly, cybercriminals using the name of the company YiBit stole USD 5.5 million from at least four victims between October 2021 and May 2022.
Another case involved criminals using the name Supay, who scammed two victims in November 2021. They encouraged their victims to deposit cryptocurrencies into their app wallets to prevent them from getting frozen.
Warnings about Scam Apps among Cryptocurrency Users on Twitter
There have also been warnings about scam apps among crypto enthusiasts on Twitter.
One user reported the case of a friend who was recently the victim of a scam on the online messaging service Whatsapp. The criminals encouraged the victim to download a fake cryptocurrency app and fund a wallet, but it disappeared one week later. Luckily, he did not follow their ill-intentioned instructions to keep adding more money.
Another user was a victim of a fake Ledger Live wallet app on the Microsoft app store. He claims that the fraudulent app has already robbed him of USD 20,000.
At the beginning of the year, cybersecurity firm ESET uncovered a scheme distributing Trojan apps disguised as popular cryptocurrency wallets. Those fraudulent apps sought to steal crypto assets from their victims.
In 2021, a scam cryptocurrency app disguised as a Trezor mobile app allegedly caused a user to lose USD 600,000 worth of Bitcoin. Those criminals take advantage of the reputation of some companies to commit fraud against cryptocurrency holders.
A report from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) indicates that victims have lost up to USD 1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies since 2021. The agency states that nearly half of all cryptocurrency-related scams originate from social media platforms.
The FBI recommends that cryptocurrency investors not trust spam requests to download investment apps. They advise verifying whether the company is legitimate and being skeptical about apps with limited or broken functionality.
Cryptocurrencies are relevant in the economic system, which cybercriminals know very well. For that reason, Bitcoin holders must be careful with deceptive offers they receive through social media.
By Alexander Salazar