Arguably the single most sought after form of digital currency, Bitcoin has been making headlines, but for reasons aside from its high valuations.
March saw an unprecedented feat when the price of the cryptocurrency rose above that of an ounce of gold.
Given that it is the first time to achieve such a feat, the demand for this valuable commodity expectedly surged almost immediately.
Hot on the heels of the Bitcoin gains was a concurrent rise in Bitcoin scams, though.
In fact, well into the tail end of March, the spike is worrying to say the least.
This is according to ZeroFOX, a cybersecurity watchdog that uncovered a disturbing 12,360 scams touching across websites and social media sites.
As it turns out, the ever-ingenious cybercriminals are out on the loose and are taking advantage of the popularity of Bitcoin to rob unsuspecting netizens.
This is purely motivated by the fact that Bitcoin will soon become an invaluable commodity and that there is limited savviness amongst those who are subject to the hype.
As a matter of fact, by the 3rd week of March, reported Bitcoin scams had reached a staggering high, with over 125 million malicious links shared across three major social media sites.
It goes without say that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram played a pivotal role in executing the whole activity.
ZeroFOX’s report showed that social media massively helped promote the scam, reaching thousands, or perhaps millions of people.
According to the cybersecurity firm, the malicious proponents use malware, phishing, flipping, and pyramid schemes alongside social media.
What’s bizarre about it is that the posts containing the URLs go viral with an average 24.53 shares every single day.
The scams target social media because in the midst of the massive population are many people who might see the tricks and lures as a swift way of making quick cash.
The second way of spreading the vice, according to the report, was phishing Bitcoin private keys with “Bitcoin flipping scheme” ranking third.
Through the flipping, a prospective investor is promised ridiculously high profits upon parting with the initial upfront fee.
According to Phil Tully, ZeroFOX’s senior data scientist, the fact that the price of Bitcoin is hitting all-time highs makes the idea of investing on them attractive, and thus the scams.
He adds that it further coincides with the seemingly widespread acceptance of Bitcoin in populous countries whose national currency is volatile.
The vice seems to be thriving in India due to her tight monetary policies and China who is experiencing a massive cash outflow problem.
“Ultimately, cybercriminals thrive on buzz,” Phil Tully.
Sadly enough, the scams wreaking havoc tend to appear somewhat unsophisticated, coming as installable malicious programs and apps for quick bucks.
Given that Bitcoinis both pseudonymous and irreversible makes it easy to make a quick kill.
These traits, along with how powerful social media has been, has triggered a massive loss within the last few weeks.
Precisely because cryptocurrency is the mode of business in illegal dealings (most notably on the dark web), decentralization, anonymity, and irreversibility makes the vices spread quickly.
No information is needed to transact, much like the absence of authorities in how the funds are exchanged.
All of these, as well as how Bitcoin price is rising, contributes to how valuable people perceive them – leading to the birth of successful scams.
If your Bitcoin safe is still intact, be sure to practice smart ways of keeping hold of them.
ZeroFOX recommends simple actions including never trusting anyone with regards to mining them.
Moreover, don’t visit any email links or suspicious websites, and by all means do not agree to transact via social sites and messaging apps.
Meanwhile, users should strive to report any scams to FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre, even though you know that you won’t get your precious Bitcoin back.
Canadian police advised those living in Ontario to be extra vigilant in the wake of the schemes while using the local Bitcoin ATMs.
Concerning social media, Tully sounded a word of caution; they are the most powerful and anonymous vehicles through which domestic and foreign netizens are quickly nabbed and robbed.
As such, everyone ought to remain vigilant.