Social Engineering in Crypto Scams
Since the birth of humanity, there have always been scammers. Although these scams are old, their implementation over the years has evolved. Thanks to the internet, the world has come closer; however, so have the scammers.
Scammers can rip off their victims from any corner of the globe. Combined with the fact that customized apps are available for a few dollars, the threat of scammers has been increasing ever since.
The term social engineering in crypto scams refers to scammers skillfully collecting sensitive data from their victims through various nefarious methods without their knowledge.
In this article, we will mention various social engineering methods that are popular with scammers. We have listed them below for your benefit so that you can avoid falling victim to such scams.
Common Social Engineering Scams
One of the most common and effective social engineering scams to collect sensitive data from their victims is phishing. Just as fishers use bait to lure in their catch, scammers employ the same method by baiting their victims.
Scammers will send random messages in the hope that someone will take them seriously and fall for their scam. Scammers will mislead their victims into revealing sensitive data like their full name, date of birth, social security number, bank account, and so forth.
E-mails, texts, and messages on social media accounts are sent to victims with the hope of attracting their attention. These messages will have a link in them, prompting their victims to click on them, which directs them to a website. The website prompts victims to type in all their sensitive information.
The data fed into the webpage directly goes to scammers, as they control the website. After complete data is provided to these scammers, they will start using the identities of their victims to commit fraud.
Phishing scams can be differentiated into several types depending on their nature. They are as follows: spear phishing, ice phishing, malicious airdrops, evil twin attacks, DNS Hijacking, fake browser extensions, and SEO phishing.
Scammers lure in their victims by exploiting their curiosity and greed. Scammers will send mass messages or emails to company employees. These messages are regarding salary hikes, vacations, the holiday calendar, and so forth.
Being curious, they open up the message, which has an innocent-looking file that has the relevant promised information. The “file” is malware that, when opened, installs a virus on the device.
Another popular way of controlling their victims is through scareware. For example, when a victim opens up a web browser, a small window pops up. The message reads that the device is under malicious virus threat and prompts the user to take the necessary actions.
Since victims get scared after reading the message, they follow the instructions. After clicking on the message to remove the supposed “virus,” victims are prompted to click on the button or download a specific piece of software. By taking such action, a real virus infects the device.
Tech Support Scams
These scams are also called quid pro quo attacks. Scammers will impersonate a tech support agent and rip off their victims. When scammers contact their victims, they will ask them to open up their online banking app.
Scammers will convince their victims that they have overpaid their company and that the excess money has been refunded. However, the accountant in the company has refunded more than the amount that was supposed to be paid.
To show that victims have been paid more, they are prompted to open up their online banking applications. The overpayment is reflected on the bank statement. These victims panic and pay these scammers the overpaid amount.
In reality, scammers have not made any payments. Scammers request victims give remote access to their computer devices and alter their bank statements. As law-abiding citizens, they end up paying these fake tech companies for some service that they never signed up for in the first place.
Scammers impersonate high-level government officials or private agencies. They will pose as high-ranking officials and ask the victims a series of questions in the hopes that they will reveal all their personal information because these scammers know that when they confront them, the victims will sing like canaries.
Victims do not know that even if a government official contacts them, they cannot be cross-questioned regarding sensitive data. Even the government knows that civilians cannot be grilled to reveal sensitive data like social security numbers, birth dates, bank accounts, and so forth.
Business Email Compromise
Scammers will send bogus emails to victims and prompt them to transfer money or crypto.
These emails are simple, and they demand upfront money from their victims. These emails seem legit and bear the original company logo. For example, you might receive an email from Netflix, an entertainment platform, suggesting that they will cancel your subscription.
You might get scared, and on further reading, the email will ask you to make a payment through a link provided in the email. When you click on the link, you get directed to a webpage that looks and feels like the original Netflix website. You might be confused, and to retain the subscription, you pay upfront through the payment gateway provided on the webpage.
Scammers have found a devious way of enticing their victims into their web. Scammers and hackers will place a malicious virus disguised as code on a legit website. As visitors visit the website, they fall victim when they download the code.
By now, you might be wondering how you can protect yourself from falling victim to such a scam. It becomes challenging for untrained eyes to detect such scams. However, a bit of pain on your end can help you save yourself from losing money and your identity to such scammers and hackers.
Guarding against Social Engineering Threats
Most business entrepreneurs are always at risk of falling victim to such scams. They do not have the resources and technical human resources that big giants can afford.
However, there are a few steps that you can take to ensure that you do not fall victim to such scams.
You should implement stringent security policies in your organization. Your computer and mobile devices should have an updated antivirus protection service installed. You should also encourage your workers and co-workers to lock their computers when they leave their workstations.
You should educate your employees about the risk that an innocent-looking attachment might bring to the business if it is opened. You should teach them how to tell a legit message from a fake one. You should also teach them to tell a legit website from a bogus one.
Social media platform
In this digital age, most businesses use social media platforms to promote their businesses. You should monitor your social media channels frequently to detect any suspicious activities.
Although scammers will keep evolving their methods of scamming people, a few steps taken from your end will ensure that you do not end up becoming a victim of such scams. Keep yourself updated with the latest online scams that take place.
If you run a business, then educate your subordinates regarding the consequences of these scams and how they could impact your business.
Scams will keep evolving, and our only best defense is to educate ourselves about the latest scams around the globe.