In the second quarter of 2018, cybercriminals walked away with more than $2.3 million from cryptocurrency-related scams, according to the latest report from Russia-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.


Published yesterday, the report – titled Spam and Phishing in Q2 – details how the company’s anti-phishing technology prevented close to 60,000 attempts by users to connect to phishing websites that mimic popular crypto wallets and exchanges. The goal of these sites is to dupe users into believing that they are the real deal, thereby gaining access to accounts and private key information. Unfortunately, in spite of countless warnings by cybersecurity firms, this type of scam appears to still be working – and working well – as evidenced by the frequency with which they keep popping up.

Crypto phishing scam - Kaspersky Lab

Other common crypto scams include impersonating new existing ICO projects to scam money out of potential investors by promising early access to tokens and fake cryptocurrency giveaways like those currently making the rounds on social media.

In the latter instance, scammers create social media accounts pretending to be a popular and trusted figure within the crypto community and announce that they are giving away a specific cryptocurrency (usually Ethereum). Users are directed to send an amount of cryptocurrency (usually Ethereum) to a specified wallet address, after which they are told that they will receive as much as ten times that amount (or more) in return. The scammers then use other accounts and pretend to be happy participants who have successfully received the promised reward.

Crypto giveaway scam - Kaspersky Lab

Crypto Scams Around the World

According to the report, between April and June of 2018, scammers managed to steal more than $2.3 million through those two methods alone. If you factor in theft by phishing, that figure climbs significantly higher. Other findings include:

  • Ethereum (ETH) is the most popular cryptocurrency among scammers – particularly for phishing and ICO scams.
  • Most of the phishing spam originated from China (14.36%), overtaking the United States (12.11%) and Germany (11.12%).
  • The country most targeted by phishing email was Germany (9.54%), followed by Russia (8.78%), the UK (8.67%), Brazil (7.01%), and Italy (5.39%).
  • The country reporting the most phishing victims was Brazil (15.51%), followed by China (14.77%) and Russia (13.27%).

Have you – or someone you know – been the victim of a crypto scam? How can people protect themselves from falling victim to such scams? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Kaspersky Lab, Shutterstock

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