Cybersecurity firm warns of surge in ‘Lemon Duck’ mining ...

Crypto Safety Education Series #4: Combat phishing scams - How social media scams works and how to avoid them

Note: this is the fourth part of an ongoing crypto safety educational series. Other parts of the series are
part 1 of the series to understand how domain works.
part 2 of the series on how to identify and avoid ads phishing scams
part 3 of the series on how to identify and avoid email phishing scams
Yep, crypto social media phishing, especially twitter phishing scams, are out of control. Browse Ethereum co-founder Vitalik’s twitter profile or Binance’s CEO Changpeng’s twitter profile you will see they have been the target of so many twitter impersonators that they literally have to update their names to Vitalik "Not giving away ETH" Buterin and CZ (not giving crypto away).
Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey have admitted to the problem and said that the team are implementing measures to prevent crypto scams.
Whether or not Twitter’s solution will work is yet to be seen. But meanwhile we can always equip ourselves with the best weapon - knowledge.
Some of the most popular social media scams go beyond standard phishing scam practices. According to our research and analysis, we have identified 4 main ways scammers use social media to defraud users: Impersonation, Ponzi/HYIP and ICO scam promotion, Malware distribution, and Chatroom scams. Below we will briefly walk through how each one works.
1. Impersonation of Established Company or Person
This is SO extremely common for any established crypto-related companies or figures that you can find a dozen of imposters just by clicking through replies of most established companies or person’s any single tweet.
Coinbase pinned this tweet that provides a perfect example of how twitter scams works. Imposters will commonly post tweets that they are giving away free coins in exchange for a small deposit.
They will then use hundreds of bots account to post fake claims that they have send money and indeed received free coins in return. *THEY ARE 100% FAKE.
When Binance was down due to maintenance this past Feb, scammers went all out. One of the Binance twitter imposter collected over $10,000 in matter of hours in its ether wallet.
4 signs for fake twitter profile. If a twitter profile meet all 4 below points, it is a fake profile pretending to be someone they are not.
Account name is the same as a popular cryptocurrency exchange, wallet, news or public figure, but twitter handle contains misspelling. Account has a low number of followers (< 1k) Account has a short account history (within the last couple months or days) Account lacks a verified badge
2. Ponzi/HYIP and ICO scams Promotion
Do you want to become rich overnight and earn 100x returns on your investment within months?
Hard to say no to that, right?
That is how many Ponzi, High Yield Investment Programs and ICO scams attract investors’ attention - by promising no risk and ludicrous investment returns in an extremely short amount of time.
Cryptocurrency holders are risk takers who have high-risk tolerance since one would need a strong stomach to weather through the crypto market swings. That is also the exact reason scammers identify crypto investors as the perfect target for investment scams.
Scammers will use social media, often offering promoters referral perks as incentives, to spread links to their websites that promise high investment returns.
These types of promotional messages can spread like wildfire on social media since platforms like Twitter and Facebook make sharing easy with a click of a button. Many people are drawn to the potential referral earnings and end up spreading malicious links.
It’s easy to avoid getting caught in this type of scam on social media - don’t be greedy. No one will give you way above market average returns with no substantial risks involved.
If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
3. Malware Distribution
Embedding viruses and malware into popular downloads is an old and common hacking technique. Crypto scammers certainly do not miss out on this proven method to steal coins.
Scammers distribute malware through mining software that claims it will help you to make money during your sleep or through desktop wallets that can “safely store” your crypto assets. Once you download the software, it will unpack malware that can steal all sorts of information from your computer, including your wallet’s private key.
Look at this one example of just how much malware were contained in one downloadable mining software reported on ZeroFox.
Screenshot 1
Screenshot 2
4. Send Scams Through Chatroom Messages
There are few ways one can be deceived through chat services. Some chat services, such as Slack, allow users to share the same display names, which can cause confusion and make it difficult to tell the impersonator apart from the crowd.
Many messaging services also use standard formatting for chat messages, which allows a user to embed a different URL in a messaged link that is different than the text displayed.
For example, in a case reported on International Business Times, a slack user warned another group member of an attack on MyEtherWallet to distribute a phishing link, shown in this screenshot.
If you click on the link that looks to be the official URL for MyEtherWallet, you will be redirected to a phishing site aimed to steal your credentials.
How to avoid chat room scams? Do not trust easily, and always verify the information from other popular sources. Scammers love to use FUD tactics to mislead innocent investors.
Here at Crypto Aware, we have recently compiled a list of official URLs and social media profiles of popular cryptocurrency exchanges and cryptocurrency wallets.
P.S If you are the victim of a cryptocurrency social media phishing scam, please report your case to us here. Here at Crypto Aware we are establishing the First Responder Network for crypto-related scams. Your reports will remain anonymous, we will relate your report to related platforms if necessary and will relate them to the crypto communities here at Reddit and elsewhere.
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