Crypto Scammers Are Using Robocalls to Steal Funds, Wipe Out Accounts

Hacker man using laptop and computer with green binary graphic and cryptocurrency candlestick graph price on monitor screen.
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There is a new variety of fraudsters who are selling bots on Telegram — bots designed to trick investors into divulging their two-factor authentication codes, leading to accounts being wiped out. Crypto investors are being targeted across the country, according to CNBC. This latest news comes against the backdrop of scams being, once again, indicated as the largest form of cryptocurrency-based crime by transaction volume. More than $7.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been taken from victims worldwide as of Dec. 2021, according to a Chainanalysis report.

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This new type of fraud takes advantage of two-factor authentication, or 2FA. People use 2FA, a second level of security that often involves a passcode, to safeguard a range of accounts at crypto exchanges, banks or anywhere else they carry out digital transactions, CNBC reported.

Some victims of such fraud report receiving robocalls pretending to be from the Coinbase security prevention line. The caller then says they detected unauthorized activity on the investor’s crypto account due to a failed log-in attempt, according to CNBC.

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Coinbase warns on its website that fraudsters set up scam customer support phone lines and impersonate a variety of companies — including Coinbase — in the finance, tech, retail, telecom, and service industries.

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“These scam phone numbers are spammed on the internet, luring unsuspecting victims seeking assistance. The scammers may also conduct outbound calls directly to potential victims. These scammers are skilled in social engineering, making false claims to deceive and manipulate their target into providing personal information that will be used for fraudulent purposes,” according to Coinbase.

Coinbase recommends never giving support staff (or anyone else for that matter) remote access to your machine, as “this effectively gives the scammer full access to your computer, online financial accounts, and digital life.”

In addition, it says to never give out your 2FA security codes or passwords. “Coinbase staff will never ask you to share sensitive authentication credentials.”

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Finally, never accept outbound calls asking for your confidential personal information. Be aware that scammers can spoof legitimate phone numbers when conducting outbound calls, Coinbase warns.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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