Over the decade that cryptocurrencies have existed, the industry has been plagued by scams. As per the Q4 Anti-Money Laundering (AML) report 2019, the total amount of funds lost to frauds and thefts stands at $4.1 billion. 2020 itself has seen a fair share of hacks and scams and other illegal activities that target the funds of unaware crypto holders.
Impersonating famous personalities and scamming people is nothing new in the crypto industry. Earlier in March, we saw scammer impersonate Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse on Youtube to promote a fake XRP giveaway. Now, Scammers have reportedly stolen at least $150,000 pretending to be SpaceX.
As per the report from Bleeping Computer, a group of scammers hacked some legitimate YouTube accounts and renamed the names of the channels to look like the official SpaceX YouTube Channel.
The scammers then went on to broadcast old footage of Elon Musk on live stream making it look like an authentic event that managed to garner around 80,000 people who watched the stream live. The scammers then hosted a fake Bitcoin giveaway that asked users to send funds to an address to get back double the amount.
The scammers reportedly managed to dupe viewers of 15.31 BTC since June 8, with one wallet receiving 29 transactions amounting to 4.08 BTC. Another wallet received 84 “donations” totaling 11.23 BTC, worth $110K at the time.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk requested users to reports scams like these, tweeting:
In another event, a California resident was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in SIM-swap attacks targeting at least 20 victims.
20 year old Richard Yuan Li is believed to have been working with a group of conspirators to defraud victims through SIM-swapping attacks, with some of the co-conspirators remaining unknown to the United States Attorney’s Office.
As per the complaint, Li and his accomplices first convinced an Apple customer support staff into believing that they had not received an iPhone 8 purchased from the company. This allowed them to gain possession of a second apple device.
On November 10, the culprits used the fraudulently obtained iPhone to swap a victim’s phone number into a SIM card contained in the iPhone. The culprits then went on to steal “a significant portion of Victim A’s cryptocurrency,” and even demanded 100 Bitcoin from the victim to restore control back to the victim’s accounts.
As of now, if convicted, Li is looking at five years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.
Prevention is the only defense
The anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies is a double-edged sword that has been responsible for the rapid growth of the industry and is also something that is holding it back from going mainstream. While there is no way to get funds back once its lost, one can always be careful enough to avoid getting scammed.
The Daily Chain thus suggests that readers take a look at 8 simple steps that will help keep scammers at bay.