Anyone familiar with the Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire” has heard the line, “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.” One man is now holding this line close to his heart following news that his entire bitcoin stash was stolen through a phishing scam.
Bitcoin Stolen; Strangers Come to Rescue
Eric Savics – the host of Protocol Podcast – put a message out to all his followers on June 12 saying that he had lost the 12 bitcoins he had saved up over the past seven years due to a hardware phishing scam. He also asked his followers if anyone has had success in retrieving stolen bitcoin. Very few people have.
Savics put out the following message on Twitter:
All my savings are gone. I have zero bitcoin.
The podcast host had managed to save as many as 12 bitcoin units since the year 2013. He had been saving this money for his retirement and to purchase a new apartment, but in a flash, his money was taken. The stolen bitcoins now rest in a completely different address, and unfortunately, bitcoin transactions cannot be reversed.
It was not initially revealed at first, but user research suggests that Savics may have lost his money through a phony Keep Key Chrome extension that requested the seed phase of his hardware wallet. Savics later confirmed this in a follow-up tweet. This fake key – along with many others – continues to be available in the Google Chrome store and is (sadly) available for download, meaning it’s possible we’ll see other instances like this in the future.
Many users unsuspectingly download these and other malicious extensions thinking they are obtaining the real thing.
While Savics’ position is still one of negativity and strain, he has garnered a positive response from most of the crypto community, which at the time of writing, is lending a helping hand to the podcast host in his hour of need. Many reached out and explained that they would be willing to donate to his “lost” cause and contribute to his now relatively empty stash.
At first, Savics (naturally) was reluctant to share his bitcoin address, but he eventually gave in. At press time, more than $7,500 in BTC has been sent to his bitcoin wallet, while several other figures are offering forensic help and assistance in retrieving the lost funds. Savics has thanked all who are offering help and says that he will return the money they’ve given him granted he’s able to garner his original funds back.
Some Are Rubbing It in His Face
Some, however, are using this opportunity to criticize the podcast host for putting his faith in digital currency to begin with. One of these figures is BTC critic Nouriel Roubini, who explained in a tweet:
One of the 1000s of daily scams in bitcoin world. THERE’S ZERO SECURITY… Billions lost daily to such scams and crypto robberies. If anyone steals my credit card or bank account info, I get 100% refunded with a one-minute call. 100% security in legacy fin systems.