- A Bitcoin scam is leaking the personal details of its victims, with almost 250,000 revealed so far
- Victims’ details are posted in a URL if they click on a link in a text message
- Scheme was “significantly upgraded” from previous ones
A global Bitcoin scam has exposed the personal details of almost 250,000 victims, with names, phone numbers, and email addresses of the victims identifiable through personalized URLs used by operators of the fraudulent crypto scheme. Group-IB, a Singapore-based global threat hunting and intelligence company, made the discovery of the giant scam which took in users from the UK, Australia, South Africa, and more.
Bitcoin Scam Reveals Details in URL
The source of the Bitcoin scam uncovered by Group-IB has not yet been established, with the scam turning out to be a complex three-stage affair starting with an unsolicited text message. Anyone clicking on the link contained within the message was taken to a fake news report about how someone in their country has made huge money from Bitcoin, with mockups of real newspapers used which differed by country to make it more relevant.
The URL contained the personal data of the recipient, which could have been harvested by anyone wishing to do so, although Group-IB reports that it doesn’t seem to have been so far.
Individuals were then guided through a process of joining the fraudulent Bitcoin investment ‘scheme’, which involved them sending the Bitcoin to scammers, although Group-IB isn’t able to ascertain how much they have managed to steal so far.
British and Australians Disproportionately Targeted
British and Australian individuals were disproportionately targeted, with details of 147,610 UK citizens revealed and 82,263 Australians. The next biggest targets were South Africa, with details of 4,149 leaked. Group-IB founder and CEO Ilya Sachov noted the sophistication of the scam and the level of work involved:
…the scheme was significantly upgraded, and a tremendous amount of personal information was leaked. The bad guys got smarter in a bid to increase the success rate of their fraudulent operations. Using personal data allows them to carry out targeted attacks and make a victim’s journey easier and smoother, which levels up the overall effectiveness of the scheme.
Group-IB has handed all its information on the Bitcoin scam and the leaked data over to relevant authorities for investigation.