Crypto scams or hacks have one goal- that is to steal your funds. this happens more frequently than you would have ever imagined. According to the US Federal Trade Commission, there have been more than 46,000 people who have lost funds to crypto scams since 2021. That is the reported cases for the US alone.
You are a potential victim
You can potentially be a victim of a crypto scam if your surf the internet, it is so rampant that even the best of us can be taken unawares. How vulnerable you are to crypto scams is positively correlated to your depth of knowledge and your practice of healthy online habits. You are always at risk and you should be conscious of the fact that you can become a victim of a scam. A common type of crypto scam is Phishing Scams or attacks.
Phishing Scam or Attack
A Phish is a fraudulent message that is sent to you on the premise that it is arriving from a trusted source. Its basic purpose is to trick, encourage or coerce you (the victim) into revealing sensitive information such as passwords and payment information back to the sender of the message. Such information can then be used to steal from you or perform other nefarious activities.
Also, such messages can be used to compromise the security of your device such that they become vulnerable to hacks. The fraudulent sender can harvest your data including your wallet’s private keys and passwords.
An example of this can be seen below. It is a message I got from some unknown source, with a promise of some outrageous amount in bitcoin. The goal was to lure me to click on the link in the mail or to download some App.
What Could Go Wrong If I Click On The Message?
As with all Phishing messages, the goal is to obtain any sensitive information that can be used to steal my funds. There are usually two options deployed by the intruder. First, they may ask me directly to fill in my detail in a form or site provided in the link. And when I do, they will use those data to log in to a legitimate website to steal funds. The sensitive information could be things like my usernames, passwords, private keys, emails, etc.
Secondly, clicking on the links can result in my downloading malware on my device, which may compromise the wallets that are on my device. Malware can be running in the background and can even steal the private keys of crypto wallets. Pennywise Malware for example steals the private keys of many popular wallets.
Spot The Scam In This Email
Here is another Phishing email. This time, the attacker is trying to coerce me into clicking on the link. It is disguised as a message from meta mask – a legitimate crypto wallet provider.
The details of the message were as follows
Due to high demand on our network, multiple wallets have failed to complete the latest Blockchain update.
It is important to upgrade your wallet by Februαry 20 to ensure the security αnd accessibility to your αssets.
What will happen if I don’t complete the updαte?
If you don’t complete the updαte by Februαry 20 you may lose αccess to our service αnd your αssets.A private email
Notice that the sender’s address is email@example.com and is claiming to be from Metamask. That is an obvious red flag. Also, vigaro.com – the root website of the scam message turned out to be a beauty salon. Sometimes, all it takes to identify a phishing message is simply to take a glance at the attacker’s email. Another common red flag is the use of Gmail by the attacker. Find out how you can identify Phishing mail here HOW TO SPOT A PHISHING ATTACK.
What You Can Do To Protect Your Funds
There are a couple of things that can help keep you safe from Phishing messages. The following are some helpful suggestions
1. You must learn to identify them and take the necessary precautions
2. You should never click on links unless you can verify the legitimacy of the sender. This also applies to downloading Apps on your device too. Only download Apps from verified sources.
3. Be very weary of unsolicited messages that promise some cash rewards or that are asking for information.
4. Make sure the security of your device is updated at all times. You need to install anti-malware protection.
5. Never make transactions to unverified recipients
Be on the lookout for phishing messages. They are designed to steal your funds. It is one of the downsides of the crypto industry. Stay vigilant, learn to identify fraudulent messages, and protect yourself. NEVER CLICK on links from unverified sources as they have the potential to lure you into releasing sensitive data or worse, can make your device vulnerable to hacks. Keep safe.