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Another crypto scam in the making? Hackers steal bitcoin via ‘gaming apps’

Victims are told to buy bitcoin and set up a crypto wallet to participate in these high-reward activities

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has now warned that threat actors are now stealing millions of dollars worth of bitcoin using phoney prizes in so-called ‘play-to-earn’ games.

According to BleepingComputer, these elements are using specially designed mobile/online game applications that offer enormous cash rewards proportionate to investments made to potential targets with whom they have already built confidence through protracted online talks.

“Online contacts are made by criminals, who eventually develop relationships with their victims. Afterwards, criminals lure victims into an online or mobile game where they pretend to receive bitcoin incentives for completing tasks like raising ‘crops’ on an animated farm,”according to a recent PSA from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Victims are told to buy bitcoin and set up a crypto wallet to participate in these high-reward activities.

According to the study, the con artists claim that the benefits rise as the victim keeps more cash in the wallet.

When victims cease making deposits, thieves empty their bank accounts by luring them with false prizes.

The report further stated that these con artists would deceive their victims into thinking they may get their money back by paying extra taxes or fees, leaving them with nothing.

According to recent research, hackers released more than 4, 00,000 new malicious files daily to target consumers in 2022, a 5% increase from 2021.

Kaspersky, a cybersecurity company, estimates that 3, 80,000 of these files were found daily in 2021, and 122 million harmful files were found in 2022, an increase of 6 million from the year before.

The concerning news comes after the fiasco involving the Ethereum Denver Conference in February 2023, where the crypto forum’s website got duplicated by cybercriminals, who used it to start a phishing scheme that culminated in the theft of almost USD 300,000 worth of Ethereum, apart from hacking over 2800 crypto wallets.

The ETH Denver website became aware of the bogus website and sent out a tweet to alert its audience. The hackers reportedly had gone on purchasing a Google advertisement to promote the URL of their malicious website. After the legitimate ETHDenver website in a Google search, the fraudulent site was displayed.

In October 2022, a market manipulation attack on another crypto firm ‘Mango Markets’ occurred when a hacker acquired Mango tokens and artificially inflated their value before borrowing money from the project’s treasury without adequate collateral. The attack resulted in the reported theft of almost USD 110 million.

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