The YouTuber and streamer Kitboga recently joined forces with Kraken to take down fraudsters operating a call center crypto scam.
In a video posted to his YouTube channel on Saturday, Kitboga details how he teamed up with the cryptocurrency exchange to catch the scammers and bust their operation.
Call Center Scammers Target Crypto Exchange Users
It’s one of the oldest digital scams in the book. And yet, the fake security alert has evolved with the times and remains a popular way for criminals to defraud their victims.
The premise of the attack is pretty simple. A popup is designed to look like a real security alert. But instead of warning users about a threat to their computer, it asks them to call a fake hotline. At the other end, fraudsters posing as cybersecurity experts manipulate callers into making payments, handing over login credentials, or even control of their devices.
In a recent episode of his YouTube series, Kitboga exposed a criminal operation that used the security alert method to target victims’ bank accounts and steal their crypto.
As the video demonstrates, once they gained control of his computer, the scammer on the phone asked him to log in to his online banking and check his Kraken account to see if anything had been stolen.
But unknown to the caller, Kitboga was working with Kraken to help bring down their whole crypto scam operation.
Kraken Helps Bait Crypto Scam Operators
Prior to contacting the scam call center, Kraken helped Kitboga set up a fake account that would appear to the hackers as if it contained a large amount of Bitcoin.
Under the pretense that they were working to protect his coins, the con artists requested that their victim initiate a withdrawal request that would drain the account of all its funds. However, each request failed because the account had been purpose-designed to ensnare such malicious actors.
In fact, Kraken’s sting operation cleverly worked to gather data on multiple crypto wallets used by the call center operators. This kind of information is extremely useful in the battle against crypto crime. In this instance, Kraken was able to share wallet addresses with other exchange operators to freeze assets and close the net on the perpetrator’s crypto laundering operation.
Crypto Thieves Roll With the Times
The latest team-up between Kraken and Kitboga highlights how criminals have adapted their tactics to the trend of crypto ownership.
In fact, far from being immune to online scams, crypto owners are among the most likely victims. For example, in Canada, research has shown that 35% of crypto owners have fallen victim to such scams.
The Kraken case also shows how criminals use social engineering to manipulate their targets. This allows them to overcome the various security measures exchanges and wallets implement.
For example, a scam targeting Coinbase users was observed using fake text message alerts. These warned users that their two-factor authentication (2FA) details had changed. One near-victim of the scheme reported speaking to a “customer support” hotline who asked for his 2FA code. It was only then that he became suspicious and hung up the phone.
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