Notwithstanding the risks involved in cryptocurrencies, the number of investors in India keeps soaring. They have also become a target for scammers who are looking to make some easy profits by exploiting individuals who would do anything to get rich quickly.
In 2020, there were 17.8 million visits to running crypto scam websites. 2021 seemed to have sharply dropped to 9.6 million, but the number is still alarming.
Chainalysis’ data point out coinpayu.com, adbtc.top, hackertyper.net, dualmine.com, and coingain.app as the 5 most visited scamming websites by Indians in 2021. These sites alone received 4.6 million visits from the past year.
Crypto scams include phishing websites designed to steal sensitive information from users. Losses from those crimes have been driven by a spike in theft and scams.
Rahul Tyagi, co-founder, Safe Security (formerly Lucideus), a home-grown cybersecurity firm, said: “In a few cases, we have seen employees of cryptocurrency exchanges sharing databases of cryptocurrency owners with cybercriminals, who use this information to start cyberattacks using SMS or even WhatsApp messages with phishing links to takeover crypto account”.
Some crypto scams are also disseminated on social networks like Youtube.
Research by cyber exposure company Tenable has found that scammers are leveraging compromised YouTube and other social network accounts to promote fake cryptocurrency giveaways for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, Ripple, Shiba Inu and other cryptocurrencies. Scammers hijacking legitimate social accounts to promote fake cryptocurrency giveaways are not new. However, individuals are still being duped by these frauds.
As tension among crypto scams keep escalating, the crypto industry in India has begun educating users about cryptocurrencies to help investors avoid highly-volatile currencies. Industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) formed the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC) in 2021 with an aim to grow awareness about crypto and run advocacy operations.
Crypto unicorn CoinSwitch has also put in resources towards the cause. This platform announced a feature called “Riskometer” to gauge the genuineness of any crypto project.