This week the FBI announced that threat actors have defrauded victims of about $42.7 million over the past 8 months through fake cryptocurrency apps that exploit people’s legitimate investments in digital currency. This was accomplished by a number of cybercriminal campaigns that duped people into downloading malicious apps through which the criminals then extorted money from their victims.
Threat actors used the names, logos and even erected fake websites to impersonate legitimate U.S. financial institutions to gain the trust of and fool victims into thinking they were interacting with an actual cryptocurrency-related firm.
This new FBI warning is not the first time the feds sounded an alarm over cybercriminals targeting investors. About a year ago the FBI warned that threat actors were posing as financial advisors to try to lure victims into various investment scams. They are urging both institutions and individuals alike to take some basic precautions to avoid being defrauded when dealing with cryptocurrency transactions.
They recommend that institutions proactively warn customers about the potential for such activity and provide a way for their customers to report it. They should periodically conduct online searches for any unauthorized use of company name, logo or other identifying info to determine if cybercriminals are using it for nefarious purposes.
As for investors, the FBI recommends being wary of unsolicited requests to download investment applications, verifying if an app is legitimate before downloading it and treating apps with limited and/or broken functionality with suspicion. If you suspect any suspicious activity, the FBI is requesting people report it to their local field office. Here is the one for Oahu:
91-1300 Enterprise Street
Kapolei, HI 96707
Covers the State of Hawai’i, Guam, U.S. Commonwealth in the Pacific Ocean (CNMI), and American Samoa
Stay safe out there
New Friday Funnies!