Blockchain tracking and analytics platform, Whale Alert, revealed that over the past four years, scammers have stolen over $38 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC).
New heights could be reached at the end of 2020
Whale Alert’s study, which relies on data from the crypto scam tracking site, Scam Alert, suggests that the popularity of dozens of different types of scams have been on the rise. Some of these include giveaways, sextortion, fake exchanges, fake ICO’s, Bitcoin recovery, video scams, fake tumblers, and malware.
In 2017, scammers stole roughly $5M in Bitcoin from unsuspecting victims. In the first quarter of 2020, users had nearly 5x that amount stolen for a total of $24 million. Whale Alert’s study forecasts that this figure could rise as high as $50 million by the end of the year.
Celebrity impersonation scams dominate
Whale Alert made case studies of a number of well known incidents. One of the most popular — in which scammers impersonated Elon Musk — made over $130,000 in a single day.
Fake exchanges are also one of the leading sub-genres in the world of successful crypto scams. One such website raked in over $1.5 million in 2020 alone. According to the report, that particular site remains active.
Whale Alert commented:
“The change in method and the increase in quality and scale suggests that entire professional teams are now behind some of the most successful ones and it is just a matter of time before they start using deepfakes, a technique that will surely revolutionize the scam market.”
Cointelegraph recently reported that fraudulent websites had successfully stolen personal records from a number of individuals around the world.
The attack was executed as a targeted multistage BTC scam propagated by a number of fraudulent websites, according to a study by the intelligence company, Group-IB.