Discovering the chain of fake crypto exchanges

2022-05-27
Mirsad

2022 is the year for cryptocurrency and blockchain as more and more people are interesting to involve to different aspects of this new technology. While most of us are still exploring how it works, scammers have already found a million ways to make a profit — by creating fake cryptocurrency trading websites and fake crypto wallet apps.

In this article we want to present, how we discovered the chain of fake crypto exchanges and how they work in order to keep you away from them.

How fake crypto websites work

Scammers create fake cryptocurrency trading platforms or fake versions of official crypto wallet to exploit victims. These fake sites tend to have similar, but slightly different domain names from the legitimate ones, sometimes making it hard for users to tell. What’s worse, some of these copycat websites even appear very high in search results and look exceptionally similar to the real versions. Also recently scammers started to use Google ads to promote their fake websites with higher ranking score.

How they look and what they offer

One of our users (LukeVeK) from Proton community reported that someone tried to scam him. Here is what he said:

So basically they will tell you, that you have certain amount of BTC, but the moment you try to withdraw it will ask you to cover fee or that withdraw balance is bellow minimum and that you have to deposit 0.15 BTC.

Here is a list of all fake websites discovered:

  • mon-bit[.]com
  • goldybit[.]com
  • bit-local[.]com
  • mount-trade[.]com
  • rhinocrypt[.]com
  • bit-trade[.]com
  • bit-grate[.]com
  • mount-traiding[.]com
  • waffebtc[.]com
  • earthxcoin[.]com
  • fastxbit[.]com
  • loop-coin[.]com
  • xeratrade[.]com
  • trade-wall[.]com
  • tiger-bit[.]com
  • second-wallet[.]com
  • bit-well[.]com
  • ebalbit[.]com

Do not open these websites, only if you are experienced security researcher and you are analyzing in secure environment.

All of websites look same, expect for logo and domain name:

Sometimes these scam websites will even let you withdraw a small amount of money at first. Initially, after you have received your first deposits and a handful of seemingly successful investments, the sites seem perfectly legitimate.

However, as you watch their investments continue to grow, you’ll feel encouraged to invest more money. It is then that the scammers spring the trap. When you want to withdraw the earnings, the website either shuts down or declines the request. If you contact “customer service” for help, scammers might even ask you to send deposit money. Of course, you won’t retrieve even one cent.

Alvosec is Block Producer for Proton

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