As the digital asset economy becomes popular and a number of crypto companies become well-known, copycat scammers are appearing in greater numbers. There are a number of websites which are clones of the official business webpage that offer mining device sales, wallets, full nodes, paper wallet tools, and popular trading platforms.
Just recently news.Bitcoin.com wrote a report on mining devices, and one of the links we found appeared to be from a reliable mining maker, but the URL is really going to a copy site that seemed identical to the original url. People make mistakes and the fact is that some of these scams can be extremely difficult to spot. This is because often these web pages look exactly like the official website with a few details.
Some shady websites are pretty obvious, like when Terence Zimwara from news.Bitcoin.com wrote about Bitcoin Inc. and conspicuous fractional stock tokens. However, some web pages are direct copy web pages and are almost identical to the official page. For example, there is a copy website of the official page of mining rig maker Strongu. As it happens, Google continues to display the fragmented website at the very top of the results page.
The site is called “strongutech.com” and the real web page is actually called “strongu.com.cn/”. The copy website, which uses the word “tech” in the name, was created to be a bogus sales site. It also managed to top Google’s browser results with little effort. You should know that the impersonator site is not the official mining store of the company. News.Bitcoin.com reported this to Google’s anti-phishing page which allows people to report suspicious websites.
The spoofing of reliable crypto company websites has been happening for years. For example, six years ago the popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has been usurped by a webpage called “coinbase.re/”, and everything was real except the login button. Which means that after an unsuspecting Coinbase customer uses it, the hacker would steal the login credentials. The website was also the very first “sponsored” post at the top of the Bing browser results page.
Last summer, the police in Europe stopped a group that usurped the Blockchain.com site. The hackers managed to empty the wallets of 4000 victims. All the malicious actors have done is take advantage of a technique called “typosquatting,” which uses a domain name but with a small typo. There are fake paper wallet generator sites that people have been to complain approximately over the years. Three months ago, a Reddit user also reported on a fake Ian Coleman BIP39 page at the top of Google results.
Day in and day out, crooks are using scam websites and typosquatting to steal people’s cryptocurrencies. Scammers are also appearing on Google’s Play Store copying reputable brands and creating fake apps. Just recently Satoshilabs, the company that makes the Trezor hardware wallet, tweeted about an Android app claiming to be the official app.
“A warning to all Android users with Trezor devices,” the company said tweeted on December 2, 2020. “This app is a scam and has nothing to do with SatoshiLabs and Trezor. We have already reported it to the Google team. Always confirm any action on your device and never type any start words until ‘whatever your Trezor asks you,’ added the hardware wallet maker.
The point is, as cryptocurrencies become more popular, copiers, scammers, and website thieves will increase in number. Always make sure the URL is 100% correct when accessing the wallet, exchange, mining company, or any service you use with crypto. There have been many instances where Google, Bing, and other popular browsers allow scam websites to copy at the top of the results page, and some scams are even sponsored.
You can report phishing websites to Google and other browsers, so that other people can have a safer browsing experience while surfing the web. Additionally, many crypto companies like Coinbase provide methods for users to report phishing and impersonation sites as well.
What do you think of the growing number of copier and fake crypto sites? Let us know what you think of this topic in the comments section below.
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