Crypto scams: How fraudsters target corona skeptics

Multiply your money in a short time and without any risk? It sounds too good to be true – and it usually is. Anyone receiving such an offer should be suspicious. Especially if the person making this offer remains anonymous.

In fact, many people fall victim to such scams every year, especially over the Internet. The total damage is enormous. Research from #Faktenfuchs shows that alleged fraudsters apparently also look for their victims in Telegram groups, which are otherwise about alleged vaccination injuries or criticism of the corona policy.

Suspected Crypto Scam: Multiply the Bet Tenfold?

#Faktenfuchs is an anonymous member of many such Telegram groups to get an overview of rumors and allegations circulating. About 20 new groups have been added to this research account since the beginning of this year.

They all look alike, mostly have a few thousand members, many have the word crypto in their name – and that says it all: whoever transfers one bitcoin, according to one group, will get three bitcoins back a week later. Or: “Invest 300 euros and earn 2,800 euros.”

The group descriptions often state that it is an “investment company” and that payments can be made at any time. Anyone wishing to invest should contact the administrators in a private message. They hide behind aliases, add “agent” or “manager” to their name. The profiles do not allow any conclusions about who is really behind this alias.

Some profile pictures can clearly be assigned to other people, for example a group administrator uses a picture of SPD politician Franziska Giffey as a profile picture.

If you register with one of these administrators, you will receive a link to a website and a request to create a profile there and deposit money.

Administrator refers to alleged trading portal – without imprint

At first glance, the website looks like a reputable crypto trading portal. However, there are some indications of a possible scam here as well. The website presents itself as complex and sophisticated, but there is only one main page. None of the links to supposed subcategories, contact pages or additional information are working.

There is no full footprint, the site only has a US address and phone number, and no verifiable information about individuals or companies.

A purported ticker to prove the numerous high sums paid out to customers turns out to be an animation. The same amounts run across the page for several days, another indication that payments are being proposed, and it’s probably not a serious offer.

#Faktenfuchs wrote to an administrator of the group who referred to this page via telegram message and pointed out the irregularities. The request remained unanswered at the time of publication of this article.

Research by the Indian branch of “Business Insider” suggests that crypto scammers on Telegram also use bots, ie. automated accounts to get their victims’ money. The chat structure in the German groups at least suggests that automated messages or chat participants could also be used here.

Telegram groups: Numerous members from the corona-skeptic scene

Because in the channels, alleged customers praise the seriousness of the offers. Many of these messages use phrases that read as if they had been automatically translated by software.

A casual examination of these publicly available profiles shows that many of the apparently “real” members of these groups are not bots, but instead come from an environment skeptical of corona or vaccination. A number of people exchange information about alleged vaccination injuries in a Corona channel, and in another group untruths are spread about the pandemic and corona measures, e.g.

An indication that members of the Corona groups were specifically added to the crypto channels. It is difficult to understand who is behind it. Since the #Faktenfuchs request remained unanswered, there is no statement from the administrator whether members of certain Telegram groups were added in a targeted manner.

The example of a group that followed a similar pattern shows that the crypto channels the #Faktenfuchs account was added to are probably scams. Telegram has now given it a red fraud warning and another channel has a permanently displayed field for reporting fraud over the chat, which is not the rule with Telegram.

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