Fake Crypto Exchanges Dupe Indians Out of $128M; Binance Stresses Investor Education

Cyber security firm CloudSEK has revealed in a recent report that Indian investors have lost millions of dollars to fake crypto sites and applications in the wake of current market weakness.

Rahul Sasi, Founder and CEO of CloudSEK told IANS, “We estimate that threat actors have defrauded victims of up to $128 million (about Rs 1,000 crore) via such crypto scams.”

Skyrocketing investor interest attracting bad actors

The company has reportedly been approached by some of these victims. Sasi added, “As investors shift their focus on the cryptocurrency markets, scammers and cheats turn their attention to them as well,”

The report underlined, “This large-scale campaign entices unwary individuals into a huge gambling scam. Many of these bogus websites impersonate “CoinEgg,” a legitimate UK-based cryptocurrency trading platform.

Organized crime is being conducted through phishing domains and fake crypto applications. Earlier, the AI company had noted that ‘there are no policies that mandate service providers to monitor or takedown malicious URLs,’ putting the onus of online safety on the users.

Sasi opined, “In the long-term, it is imperative for the collaboration between crypto exchanges, Internet service providers (ISPs), and cybercrime cells to raise awareness and take action against threat groups,”

Crypto ads and phishing sites

Last year, Check Point Research (CPR) had also explained in its findings that search engine ads effectively targeted crypto wallet users, stealing wallet passwords to get access to the crypto funds. In addition, CPR had also found that multiple phishing websites looked like exact replicas of the original websites. For instance, the “phantom.app” which is the official site of Phantom wallet had fake phishing variants like ‘phanton.app’ or ‘phantonn.app,’ or even with different extensions, as per CPR.

Meanwhile, CloudSEK also draws attention to scamming trends on social media platforms by impersonators. The report found, “The profile also shares $100-dollar credit, as a gift to a particular crypto exchange, which in this case is a duplicate of a legitimate crypto exchange,”

Notably, the bad actors convince the users of substantial gains on their initial investments but freeze the accounts at the time of withdrawal attempts. The report added, “To retrieve the frozen assets, they request victims to provide confidential information such as ID cards and bank details, via email. These details are then used to perpetrate other nefarious activities,”

Binance promotes crypto education to combat scams

In a recent interview with the Financial Express, Tigran Gambaryan, VP, Global Intelligence and Investigations at Binance highlighted how the largest exchange by volume suggests combating crypto scams.

Gambaryan told the paper, “Information and education are among the best defenses against fraud and scams.”

“Closing the knowledge gap is an essential factor when it comes to crypto. Users have the right to accurate information on crypto assets, without fear of falling victim to unfair or deceptive advertising,” he added.

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