How Are Ad Frauds Masterminds Cashing in on the Crypto Mania?
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How are Ad Fraud Masterminds Cashing in on the Crypto Mania?

Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum

If you haven’t invested in them, you must have obviously heard of them! All of it (and more) have become the favorite of many. These currencies are heavily being invested in and cryptocurrency exchanges are helping the mass by facilitating the transaction.

In today’s shared virtual world, crypto currency has attracted more eyeballs than the much-awaited Spanish show ‘Money Heist’. A term once the prerogative of the ‘elite’ has now cascaded to the masses. The ecosystem which once had very thin liquidity, today it is rife with fraudsters and criminals. The advent of legitimate crypto businesses has enabled get-quick-rich schemes. With more and more people becoming involved in the roaring digital monetary mechanism, the cryptocurrency ecosystem has given birth to new breed of scammers- the crypto ad fraudsters.

Are you of the investors interested in buying a Bitcoin or an altcoin? Have you signed up on an exchange?  If yes, you’re doing right. But did you happen to check if the exchange is a legitimate one?

Fake Exchanges

In one such instance, a cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, BitKRX was named in a manner to establish itself as the legitimate cryptocurrency arm of the trading platform in Korea-Korea Exchange (KRX).  Given KRXs legitimacy and goodwill, BitKRX attracted large pool of investors. People who (thought that they) had invested their hard-earned funds via the platform, (whoop!!) the money had vanished.

“According to a report, 54% of attacks came from threat actors impersonating brands, employees, and executives on social media.

Social media became a favorite attack vector, accounting for 47% of all attacks.”

Word of Caution for investors: Always sign up on exchanges which are regulated. These exchanges have legitimate online presence: social media, website, customer support.

But, what if fake website, fake social media and fake customer support is all a set-up?

Fake/Lookalike Website

A well-known-exchange is running an online ad to attract more people on its platform. (*Google has recently allowed crypto ads from exchanges based out of US to advertise on their platform). Taking advantage of this opportunity, fraudsters also run the same campaign only with a minor difference with their landing page. Upon clicking the ad (which you assumed that it belongs to the legitimate exchange) it takes you to a similar looking, professionally designed website with all the matching details, customer support and even (fake) social media pages. And once you sign up with all your personal information including your private key, you may find yourself waking up to an empty bank account and zero digital assets. The legit crypto exchange is set to lose its brand equity where it had no role. The fraudsters duped the customers on pretext of a legit platform!

“Congratulations! You’ve won 6.999 BTC in a lucky draw. Access it now”

Reads your mail. You check the sender, it says ‘(take any reputable) Excitedly, you click the link, and you’re redirected to a website which asks to fill out all the personal details so that the currency can be added to your account. But, in order to facilitate the transaction, certain amount has to be paid as the transfer fee. Fine! You’d do that, 6.999 BTC after all!

And you’re done for good, literally!

Did you happen to check the domain name? (We mean the spelling!)

Phishing, Typo squatting

In one such email scam, a certain crypto exchange targeted millions of mail ids with a similar monetary incentive. The mail read that they had won x amount of Bitcoin in a lottery and the users can access it via a link. In order for the victim to withdraw the free Bitcoin, they had to add funds to meet the minimal withdrawal criteria!

In June 2020, a notable France-based crypto wallet company’s data base was hacked. Over 2 lakh mail addresses were put on website under hacked databases.

Fraud capabilities are endless! As an organization, it is imperative that you’re on a constant look out for such scams and fraud which may harm your reputation and comprise on user safety. Fraud can harm you at all the places you’re present online, and spoil your reputation, irrespective of the industry you’re in. What tools are you using to prevent your reputation and ensure Brand Safety while ensuring your users trust?

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