Scammers have made off with more than $13 million from investors through ongoing and fraudulent blockchain schemes that use tactics such as tricking people into buying non-existent services, according to an analysis conducted by a virtual private network company.
So far this year, about $13.4 million has been raked in by the top 10 most successful blockchain scams that are currently active, according to Atlas VPN. In a report published Wednesday, the company said it studied figures from Scam Alert, a site run by cryptocurrency transactions tracker Whale Alert.
“Due to their nature, blockchain projects remain profitable targets to cybercriminals,” as victims can be lured with get-rich-quick schemes, said Ruth Cizynski, a cybersecurity researcher and writer at Atlas VPN, in the report. “Secondly, fraudulent transactions cannot be easily traced or reversed as they may be in the traditional financial system.”
Atlas VPN said CryptoMixer.com is the biggest known active blockchain scam, receiving more than $2.5 million from 167 payments since its December launch. In its outline, Atlas VPN explained that a piece of software called Bitcoin tumbler breaks down crypto transactions into smaller parts then combines them with other transactions before sending them to their destination. The action makes Bitcoin transactions difficult to trace, it said.
“However, CryptoMixer.com is a fake Bitcoin mixing service that sends out the coins to several big crypto exchanges, however, not to the user’s destination address,” said Atlas VPN, adding that the related Bitcoin wallet address is 1CoiNMixqJdctqazGsTvDcAygqHPUvmRo8.
Ranking second, the “most prominent active fake investment blockchain scam” is InternationalGlobalPay.com, taking in roughly $2.3 million since November 2020. “The company pretends to be a credit card provider. However, it charges fees for the service that it then never provides,” said Atlas VPN.
The US government this year has flagged a rise in cryptocurrency scams. US consumers reported $52.6 million in losses to the Federal Trade Commission in the first quarter of 2021, a jump of 80% from the fourth quarter of 2020. The FTC said scams related to cryptocurrencies or other digital assets heavily target younger people.
The third-ranked scam in Atlas’ analysis is malware linked to a fake wallet app that has pulled about $1.9 million from 372 payments. It said that on average, one payment was valued at about $5,053.