By Evan Spicer
Director of Cryptocurrency Investigations
If you are a crypto user, you might have heard of phishing scams. These are malicious websites that impersonate legitimate platforms or services and trick users into entering their private keys, passwords, or other sensitive information. Once the scammers get access to the users’ wallets, they drain them of their digital assets.
According to a recent report by Scam Sniffer, a cybersecurity firm that tracks phishing activities, over 324,000 crypto users fell victim to phishing scams in 2023. The report estimates that approximately $295 million in digital assets were lost to wallet-draining scams.
The report identifies specific wallet drainers that were active in 2023, such as Inferno Drainer, Ms Drainer, Angel Drainer, Monkey Drainer, Venom Drainer, Pink Drainer, and Pussy Drainer. These drainers targeted various crypto platforms and services, such as X, Y, Z, and more. Some of them used sophisticated techniques to bypass security measures and deceive users.
For example, Inferno Drainer was the most successful drainer in 2023, stealing $81 million from 134K victims. It started its operation in March 2023 and used a fake X website to lure users. The fake website looked identical to the real one, except for a slight difference in the URL. The fake website also had a valid SSL certificate and used X’s logo and branding. Users who visited the fake website were asked to enter their X login credentials and private keys. As soon as they did, their wallets were drained by Inferno Drainer.
Another example is Ms Drainer, who stole $59 million from 63K victims. It also started its operation in March 2023 and used a fake Y website to lure users. The fake website mimicked the real one in every aspect, except for a small typo in the URL. The fake website also had a valid SSL certificate and used Y’s logo and branding. Users who visited the fake website were asked to enter their Y login credentials and private keys. As soon as they did, their wallets were drained by Ms Drainer.
The report notes a continued growth in phishing activities throughout 2023. Even when drainers shut down, phishing gangs quickly find alternative platforms to continue their activities. For instance, Monkey Drainer, a notorious phishing entity, closed its business on March 2, 2023. Before closing down, Monkey Drainer recommended another scam service to its criminal clientele. Scam Sniffer estimates that Monkey Drainer stole around $16 million in digital assets.
Phishing sites employ various tactics to generate traffic and attract users. Some of the methods they use are:
- Hacking official Discord and X accounts and posting phishing links.
- Spreading phishing links through posts on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc.
- Conducting fake airdrops of crypto assets or NFTs and asking users to visit phishing sites to claim them.
- Taking over expired Discord links and redirecting users to phishing sites.
- Leaving spam comments and mentions on X posts and profiles with phishing links.
Phishing websites have also managed to bypass advertising guidelines on Google and X. Phishing websites were able to publish paid Google Search and Twitter ads that appeared legitimate and trustworthy. Users who clicked on these ads were directed to phishing sites.
How can you protect yourself from phishing scams?
The best way to avoid falling victim to phishing scams is to be vigilant and cautious when dealing with crypto platforms or services. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:
- Always check the URL of the website you are visiting. Make sure it matches the official URL of the platform or service you are using.
- Always look for the SSL certificate icon on the address bar of your browser. Make sure it is valid and issued by a trusted authority.
- Never enter your private keys, passwords, or other sensitive information on any website that you are not sure about.
- Never click on links or ads that claim to offer free or discounted crypto assets or NFTs.
- Always use reputable antivirus software and firewall on your devices.
- Always update your devices and applications with the latest security patches.
- Always back up your wallet data and keep it offline or on a secure cloud service.
- Always use a hardware wallet or a cold wallet to store your digital assets.
Phishing scams are a serious threat to crypto users. They can cause significant financial losses and emotional distress. By following these tips, you can protect yourself from phishing scams and enjoy the benefits of crypto safely.
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- We listen to your story and understand your situation.
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- We prepare a detailed report that you can use to file a complaint with the authorities.
- We guide you through the best strategy to reclaim your money and avoid future scams.
Don’t let the scammers get away with your hard-earned money. Contact us today and let us help you with your crypto recovery!