The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is on the tail of fraudulent cryptocurrency apps, which so far have swindled investors out of $42.7 million. The agency said cybercriminals have created apps using the same logos and identifying information as legitimate crypto companies to defraud investors. It highlighted that 244 people have already fallen victim to the fraudulent apps.
The FBI gave an example of a case where cybercriminals convinced victims to download an app that had the same logo as an actual US financial institution. They encouraged the victims to deposit cryptocurrency into wallets related to their accounts. The victims were asked to pay taxes on their withdrawals, but it was just another strategy to part more funds from them. And even if the person made the payments, withdrawals continued to be unavailable.
As such, $3.7 million was defrauded from 28 victims from December 2021 – May 2022. The FBI highlighted that a similar operation saw cybercriminals operating under the name “YiBit”. F victims were defrauded of around $5.5 million between November 2021 and May 2022. And in another case, cyber criminals operating under the name “Supay” defrauded two victims by encouraging them to deposit cryptocurrency into their wallets on the app. It would then be frozen unless more funds were deposited.
There have also been similar scams on WhatsApp. The victim has been encouraged to download a fake crypto app and loan funds into the app’s wallet and lost everything. Moreover, Twitter users raised concerns about a fake Ledger Live crypto wallet app called “Ledger Live Plus”. One user has already lost $20,000 to it. ESET, a cyber security firm, discovered a sophisticated scheme earlier this year. It would distribute Trojan applications disguised as popular cryptocurrency wallets. The applications would try to steal the cryptocurrencies from the victims.
Furthermore, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found in June that about $1 billion has been lost to scammers since 2021. Nearly half of all crypto-related scams originated on social media platforms. As such, the FBI urged crypto investors to be cautious of unsolicited requests to download investment apps. Investors should verify the app and company to check its legitimacy.