Crypto Scammers Take Advantage of War Afflicted Ukrainians
- Fraudsters looted thousands of Ukrainians as they tried to grab a part of the country's crypto donations.
- The nation has raised over $900 million in donations.
Russia’s war on Ukraine has robbed thousands of Ukrainians of their homes, loved ones, and even their lives.
The rest of the world has been trying to help out. And one of the ways many people are helping is through cryptocurrency donations.
Unfortunately, this situation has created a breeding ground for crypto scammers.
Scammers eyeing the jackpot
Since the war commenced on February 24, over $900 million has been raised through donations. Ever since the funds started flowing in, the scammers have been trying their best to siphon off part of the funds.
Thousands of people have been tricked by scammers into aiding affected Ukrainians through fraudulent email campaigns and digital ID theft.
The scammers have been quite creative in establishing new scam campaigns.
Scammers range their attacks from fake social media pages appearing to offer support to mimicking real aid organizations to carry out spam and phishing attacks.
Looting money in the name of sympathy
Then there are some crowdfunding pages that utilize legitimate deaths and attacks to plead for money to fund the affected Ukrainians. The scammers set up fake websites impersonating war-affected victims to pull in donations.
There are also scammers taking their efforts to the next level. They pretend to represent cryptocurrency exchanges that are collecting funds to send to Ukraine.
As Ukraine has already received over $100M in crypto donations, and thanks to the nature of blockchain’s anonymity, this has been a popular vector of attack.
In April, analysts identified over 2.8 million crypto scams revolving around the war. One of the well-known scams popped up during the early days of the war.
The scammers set up fundraising in the name of Peaceful World, which is a Uniswap currency exchange. This scam managed to generate over $50 million before being identified as fraudulent.
Some scammers also use advanced morphing and deepfake technology to alter photos and videos to portray an image that they lost their loved one and that they are in urgent need of money.
These requests usually will have an urgent time limit which will urge the people to donate asap.
Rising number of scammers representing charities
The most obvious and common approach is through the impersonation of a charity. A scammer who looted over $91,000 in the name of Ukraine used the same wallet before to raise money for the Afghan victims and Palestinian refugees. The modus operandi and the wallet remain the same.
A Ukrainian charity called Nova Ukraine reported that numerous people represent the charity to collect donations. By copying similar email formats, fake mobile numbers, and IP addresses, the scammers never seem to rest.
The scammers' pathetic actions to loot the donations by utilizing the war in Ukraine are unacceptable. With the numbers still unclear, we can assume that several scams might have gone unnoticed and unreported.
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