An elaborate scam promoted by thousands of hacked websites and social media accounts promises a safe investment in cryptocurrency. But the victims never see their money again.
Group-IB cybersecurity researchers have identified a major hacking campaign.cryptocurrency scamwhich is particularly widespread in Europe. More than 11,000 fake sites have been created to complete the operation.
The platform in question attracts investors with false promises of earnings and profitability. It makes them believe they are in charge of growing their money thanks to cryptocurrencies, without them having to manipulate or take an interest in the market themselves.
When the victims of the scam make a deposit, they can follow the progress of their investment from a dashboard. Unless the numbers are false and they will often feature large and quick payouts to encourage investors to bet more. The minimum amount to invest in “benefit” of the service is 250 euros.
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Ads and social accounts hacked to promote the scam
The scam turns out when the user wants to withdraw his money. The operation is impossible and the investment is lost, stolen by the owners of the platforms. Worse still, a final deposit is required to unlock the withdrawal of funds in an attempt to extort even more money from the victims.
Many promotional means are implemented to highlight this scam to internet users in particular through advertisements on fraudulent sites and through stolen social media accounts. The image of celebrities is often used to gain the trust of the victims.
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After clicking on the ad, voluntarily or inadvertently, a series of redirects lead to the hacker platform, where a “customer service agent” immediately contacts the user to explain the system, the procedure to follow and convince him to invest.
Nowadays, more than 5,000 sites leading to this scam are still active. The victims are resident in Europe, mainly in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Norway, Sweden and the Czech Republic.