FBI issues public warning over fraudulent crypto apps

The United States securities and intelligence agency FBI has recently issued a public warning over fraudulent crypto apps.
The United States securities and intelligence agency FBI has recently issued a public warning over fraudulent crypto apps.

The United States securities and intelligence agency Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has recently issued a public warning over fraudulent crypto apps, which are getting popular among scammers to steal funds from U.S. investors. 

As per the advisory released by the FBI on July 18, hackers have developed apps that feature real crypto companies’ logos and identifying information with the aim of scamming investors. This method has already swindled around $42.7 million from over 244 U.S. citizens so far, the advisory notes.

FBI outlines some of the fraudulent cases

Cybercriminals persuaded victims, in one case, to download an app with the same logo as a legitimate U.S. financial institution, then encouraged them to deposit crypto into wallets that were purportedly connected with their accounts. Notably, the fake app asks to pay tax on the profits when the victims attempt to withdraw their funds. This seems legitimate to many victims to further add funds, but eventually, they fail to get their funds back due to the unavailability of withdrawals. FBI reveals that over $3.7 million has been taken from 28 victims between December 2021 and May 2022 by scammers.

Another group of cybercriminals who operate under the company name “YiBit,” has already scammed at least four victims for around $5.5 million between October 2021 and May 2022, using a similar defrauding method.

In a third instance in November 2021, criminals using the name “Supay” tricked two victims by convincing them to add crypto to their app wallets, which later froze unless extra funds were added.

On crypto Twitter, alerts concerning fake apps have also been circulating recently. One Twitter user described how a friend had recently been duped.

According to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report released in June 2022, scammers have stolen up to $1 billion in cryptocurrency since 2021, with roughly half of all crypto-related scams coming from social media platforms.

Recently, as TheCoinRise reported, a study by Bankless Times revealed that crypto romance scams are also rising high in the United States. In regard to this, the FBI issued a public warning against such scams during Valentine’s week in February.

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