The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has said that cyber criminals now create fraudulent cryptocurrency investment apps to exploit legitimate cryptocurrency investments.
244 victims have been identified to have fallen prey to this new method, with investors losing about $42.7 million through this scam method, the FBI said.
According to the FBI, these criminals now take advantage of the growing acceptance of cryptocurrency mobile applications to defraud investors.
“The FBI is warning financial institutions and investors about cyber criminals creating fraudulent cryptocurrency investment applications (apps) to defraud cryptocurrency investors. The FBI has observed cybercriminals contacting US investors, fraudulently claiming to offer legitimate cryptocurrency investment services, and convincing investors to download fraudulent mobile apps, which the cybercriminals have used with increasing success over time to defraud the investors of their cryptocurrency.
“The FBI has observed cyber criminals using the names, logos, and other identifying information of legitimate USBUSs, including creating fake websites with this information, as part of their ruse to gain investors”, the statement said.
To forestall this menace of cyber attacks, the FBI recommended that financial institutions provide avenues for customers to report such acts, educate them on methods to identify legitimate communications from the institution to customers, let customers know if they have a mobile application as well as checking the web for such frauds that might be using the company’s identity to carry-out fraudulent or unauthorized activities.
Here is What The FBI Recommends For Investors;
Be wary of unsolicited requests to download investment applications, especially from individuals you have not met in person or whose identities you have not verified. Take steps to verify an individual’s identity before providing them with personal information or relying on their investment advice.
Verify an app is legitimate before downloading it by confirming the company offering the app exists, identifying whether the company or app has a website, and ensuring any financial disclosures or documents are tailored to the app’s purpose and the proposed financial activity.
Treat applications with limited and/or broken functionality with skepticism.
Statistics According To The FBI
1. Between 22 December 2021 and 7 May 2022, unidentified cyber criminals purporting to be legitimate US financial institutions defrauded at least 28 victims of approximately $3.7 million. The cyber criminals convinced victims to download an app that used the name and logo of an actual US financial institution and deposit cryptocurrency into wallets associated with the victims’ accounts on the app. When 13 of the 28 victims attempted to withdraw funds from the app, they received an email stating they had to pay taxes on their investments before making withdrawals. After paying the supposed tax, the victims remained unable to withdraw funds.
2. Between 4 October 2021 and 13 May 2022, cyber criminals operating under the company name YiBit1 defrauded at least four victims of approximately $5.5 million. The cyber criminals convinced the victims to download the YiBit app and deposit cryptocurrency into wallets associated with the victims’ YiBit accounts. Following these deposits, 17 victims received an email stating they had to pay taxes on their investments before withdrawing funds; all 4 victims could not withdraw funds through the app.
3. Between 1 November and 26 November 2021, cyber criminals operating under the company name Supayos, AKA Supay2, defrauded two victims by instructing them to download the Supay app and make multiple cryptocurrency deposits into wallets associated with their Supay accounts. In November 2021, the cyber criminals told one victim he was enrolled in a program requiring a minimum balance of $900,000 without his consent; upon trying to cancel the subscription, the victim was instructed to deposit the requested funds or have all assets frozen.