Crypto crooks have been busy making millions at the expense of iPhone users who were simply looking for romance on dating apps. Wherever there is great profit, fraud comes its way into a promised land.
The increase in con artists has been widely reported this year. They represent a real danger for cryptocurrency users. It’s not just about money, but their personal data is at risk as well.
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Sophos, the UK cybersecurity firm, has tracked these romantic frauds and recently codenamed them “CryptoRom”.
From just a few reports, Sophos pointed out that victims lost $ 25,000 to $ 87,000 by trusting scammers who contacted them on dating apps. On a larger scale, one of the scammer’s bitcoin addresses contained a total of $ 1.38 million. To this number, we can add all the other unknown addresses of scammers.
Sophos had already set its sights on these types of scams last May, but the situation has become more serious. Hackers have spread from Asia to the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Hungary; which means that the risk only increases, gains territory and power. These crooks learned enough about social behavior to make millions on three different continents.
CryptoRom crooks abuse the Apple Enterprise Signature program, a software used for application development. Like a real cyber parasite, they take control of the victim’s iPhone, can manage it entirely, and install even more apps for hacking.
As explained by Sophos:
When an iOS device user visits any of the sites used by these scams, a new profile is uploaded to their device. Instead of a normal ad hoc profile, an MDM provisioning profile signed with a company certificate is uploaded. The user is prompted to trust the profile and after that the crooks can manage their device based on the content of the profile.
The modus operandi of the crypto scam
Scammers may not seem like it at first. Nowadays, they take their time to befriend the victims. Some abusers tend to disguise themselves as celebrities. Sophos also explained the procedure of the CryptoRom crooks by segmenting it into 5 steps.
First, they create a compelling profile – the biggest sites being Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, and Facebook Dating-; Second, after approaching the victim, they ask to chat in another messaging service like WhatsApp.
Later, they ask to download an app for crypto trading. Hackers gain the victim’s trust by allowing them to make a false profit in the first place. The last step in fraud is to not let the victim access their funds, by deleting their money.
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What initially comes off as an informal conversation, ends in a millionaire scam.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns of the sharp increase in such frauds for some time. Earlier this year, they shared tips on how to protect yourself:
Before investing, check it out. Search online for the company name and the name of the cryptocurrency, as well as words like “review”, “scam”, or “complaint”. See what others are saying.
As Bitcoin prices rise and the world leads into an era of a mostly digital economy, crooks will become cruder and more creative in their ways. It is fundamental to stay away from unverified apps and investment promises that sound too good to be true.
At the time of writing this article, Bitcoin is trading at $ 61,767 with small losses in the daily chart.