Fake cryptocurrency giveaways dupe users millions of dollars

fake cryptocurrency

Mumbai: Tenable on Wednesday alerted users against fake cryptocurrency giveaways scam on social media such as YouTube Live. As per Tenable’s calculation, scammers have stolen at least $8.9 million across a subset of YouTube Live scams encountered over the last month alone.

Scammers are luring individuals and users with fake cryptocurrency giveaways such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, Ripple and Shiba Inu. After they compromise YouTube accounts and they dupe users with fake videos of cryptocurrencies’ founders and companies asking to visit external websites that would double the cryptocurrencies of users.

“Scammers are leveraging compromised YouTube accounts to promote fake cryptocurrency giveaways for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, Ripple, Shiba Inu and other cryptocurrencies,” said Satnam Narang, Staff Research Engineer – Tenable.

“The Bitcoin scams I monitored received $8.2 million in stolen funds, for an average amount of $1.6 million per scam. Ethereum scams received $413, 000 in stolen funds, receiving on average $82,778 per scam. Finally, Shiba Inu scams earned $239,000 in funds, receiving on average $34,192 per scam,” added Narang.

How scammers steal money from users via social media scam
Scammers are well aware that users have strong trust in influencers and their videos. So they create fake videos featuring the founders, co-founders, CEOs of cryptocurrency companies and notable individuals associated with them or involved in investing or promoting cryptocurrency.

With those fake videos, they combine many of existing interview footage featuring many of these notable figures. And using a technique that legitimises their efforts in scamming users.

In the current scenario featuring high profile individuals, scammers can count on significant interest from audiences looking to watch live stream footage on YouTube.

Across a number of fake YouTube Live videos, Satnam has identified, scammers were using footage of notable figures including:
 
● Michael Saylor, chairman and CEO of MicroStrategy and a fervent supporter of Bitcoin
● Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum co-founder
● Charles Hoskinson, Cardano founder and Ethereum co-founder
● Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple Labs
● Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX

Amongst all of these fake YouTube Live streams the common thread is users are directed to external websites that claim to double a users’ cryptocurrency — be it Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, Ripple or Shiba Inu. This technique is the gold standard for cryptocurrency scams.

It’s really important for users to be skeptical of YouTube Live videos promising giveaways from notable figures such as the ones above and new individuals that may emerge in the future, according to Narang.

“Never send cryptocurrency to participate in a giveaway, as it’s unlikely to be genuine. And you won’t be able to recover your digital money once it has been sent. It’s also important for viewers to help play their part and report these YouTube Live videos as there’s a chance it might save someone from falling victim,” advised Narang.

Reporting videos on YouTube can be done by clicking on the flag icon beneath the video and selecting the “spam or misleading” category and selecting “scams or fraud” in the dropdown menu.

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