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While researchers found 583 scam websites involved with crypto giveaway scams in Q1 2022, another 1,500 were found in Q2.
Even as many lost their possessions to crypto giveaway scams in 2021, these scammers are not backing off their illicit acts in 2022. According to a report by Singaporean cybersecurity company Group-IB, the number of crypto scams that use fake domains has surged 5X during the first half of 2022 compared to H2 2021. Data show that more than 2,000 of these domains, which are used as welcome pages for YouTube scam streams, were registered in the first six months of the year.
About 63% of the over 2,000 fraudulent domain names were registered with Russian registrars. However, their targets are English and Spanish-speaking crypto investors in the US and other countries. These scam websites entice their victims by using the names of prominent individuals that are connected to the crypto space. These names include Brad Garlinghouse, Elon Musk, and MicroStrategy chairman Michael Saylor. The fraudsters used the footage of famous businessmen to inform users of promotional websites. They deceive investors further with a chance to double their crypto investments. With people like Saylor or Garlinghouse, or Musk encouraging investors to double their assets, there is a high probability that many will yield. The footage asked for a crypto transfer to particular addresses. It also requested that investors disclose the seed phrase of their crypto wallet for better terms.
Primarily, the scammers drive traffic for their scam crypto giveaways on YouTube. There are between 10,000 and 20,000 viewers of fake streams on average. They hijack existing YouTube accounts with thousands of subscribers and begin their illegal activities. They rebrand a legitimate account by deleting old videos on the YouTube page. After, they change the profile picture, include new designs, and upload crypto-related content.
Fake Domains Used for Crypto Giveaway Scams Grows 53 Folds
Apart from the 5X increase in the number of fake domains, the figures also represent 53-fold in comparison with H1 2021. While researchers found 583 scam websites involved with crypto giveaway scams in Q1 2022, another 1,500 were found in Q2. The Group-IB report revealed fake websites’ top five domain zones in promoting crypto giveaway scams. They are .com (31.65%), .net (23.86%), .org (22.94%), and .us (5.89%).
The researchers mentioned a marketplace full of scammers that can help even a novice to execute a crypto fraud scheme. Basically, they use hacked YouTube accounts, website editors, domain names, and viewer-boosting services. They also work with admin panel developers, bulletproof hosting, manuals, and people who can create deep fake videos. Commenting on the rapidly increasing crypto giveaway scams, CERT-GIB wrote:
“Scams targeting crypto enthusiasts are becoming increasingly common, and their scope and sophistication are growing. Crypto giveaway scams have evolved into a profitable illicit market segment. Small-time scammers and more advanced cybercriminals band together, allowing them to automate and streamline operations.”
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