Here's how a Top Crypto Investor Lost Millions to an Imposter in a Cyber Attack

Here's how a Top Crypto Investor Lost Millions to an Imposter in a Cyber Attack
Cover Image Source: Crypto Fraud | Unsplash | Photo by 84 Video

Apart from the volatility that makes cryptocurrencies a risky and unstable investment, scammers lurking around in the space also put unsuspecting investors and traders at risk. In its annual report, BBB identified crypto scams as one of the most prevalent scams of 2023, based on 67,000 reported cases. Among them was the case of a well known crypto trader who fell victim to a phishing scam, which resulted in the loss of nearly $3 million.



 

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Crypto enthusiast and investigator ZachXBT recently uncovered a sophisticated phishing attack targeting users of the popular cryptocurrency platform X. The scam was pulled off by an imposter posing as renowned crypto trader Ansem, whose online handle is @blknoiz06. Under this guise, the scammer initiated a series of posts promoting a fraudulent presale linked to a token named $BULL.

The impersonator would reply to Ansem's legitimate posts, enticing users to participate in the presale by sending a minimum of 1 SOL and a maximum of 3 SOL to a specified wallet address.

The worst hit victim reported a staggering loss of $1.2 million worth of SOL, with additional funds amounting to $250,000 being siphoned within hours of the initial report. ZachXBT confirmed the authenticity of the victims, debunking speculation that the transactions were merely scammers circulating stolen tokens.



 

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The rise in phishing attempts targeting prominent figures within the crypto community sheds light on the need for heightened vigilance among investors and traders.

Scam Sniffer, a leading anti-scam platform in the web3 space, issued a warning urging users to exercise caution in light of the surge in impersonation scams. From virtual artists to blockchain projects, scammers are leveraging various personas and platforms to orchestrate fraudulent schemes.

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"This kind of scam is quite labor-intensive and time-consuming," said Jan Santiago, the deputy director of the Global Anti-Scam Organization, a nonprofit that represents victims of online cryptocurrency scams. "They’re very meticulous in their social engineering."

The proliferation of meme coins and high-stakes presales has further provided fertile ground for scammers seeking to capitalize on investors' FOMO (fear of missing out). Projects like Slerf, a Solana-based meme coin, fell victim to impersonators who exploited a mishap during its launch, resulting in over $10 million in losses for presale participants.

"So in most cases, there’s a sophisticated web layout where individuals or victims depositing funds will see that there are excellent returns on their investment every time they log into a particular platform," said Koven, head of Cyber Threat Intelligence at Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis firm.



 

 

In response to the escalating threat, affected individuals and projects have implemented defensive measures such as limiting replies to posts and issuing warnings about potential scams. Some have even resorted to adding disclaimers with their posts, to establish the authenticity of their communications.

Despite these efforts, crypto heists continue to reverberate across the industry, highlighting the importance of robust security protocols and user awareness. As the community braces for an onslaught of scams, users must exercise caution while engaging with online content and remain vigilant against phishing attempts.

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