Proofpoint says the promised return payment never happens and individual scammers have made tens of thousands of dollars in these cryptocurrency advance payment schemes.
According to Proofpoint, the giveaway scams represent a new tactic for cryptocurrency theft reminiscent of the Nigerian based “419” scams common 10 to 15 years ago.
The security firm says the scam usually begins with a tweet or email enticing the victim to send cryptocurrency to a wallet with the promise that more will be sent back.
“While many actors distribute coin-mining malware, phish for cryptocurrency wallet credentials, or steal cryptocurrencies directly, others are successfully bilking victims out of hundreds of dollars at a time by offering to give away large sums of ethereum or bitcoin to anyone willing to send small payments in advance,” Proofpoint says.
Proofpoint warns that the success of the cryptocurrency scam shows that threat actors continue to look for new ways to exploit the human factor – “and people are inclined to fall for scams that can net them hot commodities like cryptocurrencies”.
As reported by iTWire, Proofpoint’s scam report follows a report by MailWatch just four days ago that with the surges in cryptocurrency value, new malware that has a tactic known as cryptojacking has appeared.
MailWatch said recently there had been a big increase in cryptojacking attacks aimed at phones – and that attacks on Android devices had increased by 4000% in the first three months of this year.