The first rule of having Bitcoin is never shut up about having Bitcoin.
Earlier this month, the price of a single Bitcoin eclipsed the price of an ounce of gold for the first time ever, and folk started selling their homes, belongings and security to jump on this money-making bandwagon.
Thus, here’s your daily Bitcoin roundup: A bunch of scammers are trying to steal your Bitcoin.
Since no one really knows how Bitcoin works, there are endless opportunities for the few who do to come up with a couple of scams on social media.
According to a recent report by ZeroFOX, a digital risk monitoring company, there’s a considerable dark side to the decentralised, irreversible, anonymous bitcoin.
ZeroFOX identified four main categories of scam, each leveraging a different payload to attack victims and extort Bitcoin.
Fake Bitcoin wallets hiding malware downloads
Attracting users to click through URLs posted to social media is a technique that ZeroFOX has observed in a variety of attacks. This one uses the promise of Bitcoin to lure the user into following a URL that subsequently attempts to download a malware-laden app. They also discovered fake Bitcoin surveys are often used to distribute malware, and advise caution when encountering any social media URL that is either shortened or not secured with an HTTPS connection.
Bitcoin phishing impersonators
Impersonators run rampant on social media, and impersonating the Bitcoin brand itself is a tactic that can be used to gain a victim’s trust and credibility. Some phishing websites allegedly offer a search service enticing users to enter in their private Bitcoin key to see if it exists in their database. Once entered, the private key will simply be phished, allowing the scammer to spend directly from the curious Bitcoin owner’s wallet.
These scams could be an offer to instantly exchange Bitcoins for money after paying an initial startup fee or a promise to double your initial investment overnight. The other end of the bargain is never held-up, and Bitcoins are stolen immediately.
ZeroFOX previously reported on money-flipping scams targeting bank customers, which similarly exploit this low-risk tactic that bears fruit for scammers when distributed in high volumes. Scammers succeed because they’re able to broadcast their scam to thousands of unsuspecting targets through social media.
Bitcoin pyramid schemes
These scams are harder to recognise than the more egregious Bitcoin-flipping examples described above, but the end result is the same; the scammer eventually makes off with the victim’s stolen Bitcoins. This tried and tested idea relies upon high yield investment programs and multi-level marketing.
In these ethically grey schemes, a low initial investment can be multiplied by signing up additional members using referral links. New members are then encouraged to do the same, rinse and repeat. Before long, hundreds of victims have joined the scheme. At a later point in time, the original scammer walks away and the pyramid collapses.
To date, ZeroFOX have identified 3,618 Bitcoin scam URLs on social media.
If you have already been scammed, you can report the crime to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center…
But do not expect to see your bitcoins again.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.