The Federal Bureau of Investigation has identified 244 victims in various crypto-related cyber frauds, with an estimated loss of $42.7 million, according to a document published on July 18.
The Bureau is now warning investors and institutions about fraudulent cryptocurrency investment applications or "apps" that claim to offer cryptocurrency investment services. The fraudsters encourage investors to download mobile apps with names and logos of other legitimate financial institutions.
Between December 2021 and May 2022, cybercriminals pretending to be legitimate businesses have defrauded at least 28 victims for approximately $3.7 million worth of assets.
"The cyber criminals convinced victims to download an app that used the name and logo of an actual US financial institution and deposit cryptocurrency into wallets associated with the victims’ accounts on the app," the document reads. "When 13 of the 28 victims attempted to withdraw funds from the app, they received an email stating they had to pay taxes on their investments before making withdrawals. After paying the supposed tax, the victims remained unable to withdraw funds."
Two other similar frauds are highlighted in the document.
The FBI is recommending that investors and institutions take proactive measures to prevent these frauds.
Some of these steps include: warning customers about the activity and steps they can take to report it, conducting online searches for your company's name and logo to see if it's being used elsewhere, being wary of unsolicited requests to download apps, and verifying an individual's identity before giving them personal information or relying on their investment advice.
© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.