Ukrainian police reportedly arrested four individuals for running six fake cryptocurrency exchanges that were used to swindle would-be users out of their funds, presumably through social engineering and phishing.
As reported by Bleeping Computer, the suspects, aged between 20 and 26, were arrested in the city of Dnipro and had “special knowledge and skills in the field of programming,” according to authorities.
These skills are said to have been used to create a “CMS-system for managing the content of exchange sites.” None of the group’s cryptocurrency exchanges remained up for long, and authorities revealed they’ve only managed to identify six exchanges.
The platforms’ domains are now expired, but it’s known users were attracted through fake reviews. Bleeping Computer used the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to look them up and a few were indexed. A look at one exchange’s homepage shows it looked somewhat legitimate.
Per the outlet’s report, the identified exchanges were:
Authorities have since revealed that this list isn’t complete, which means there were other fraudulent exchanges out there. They’re asking users to come forward if they have been tracked by similar schemes in the past.
The suspects were reportedly arrested after police raided their homes. During the raid computers, flash drives, smartphones and other materials were seized. These are now being analyzed to determine the size of the operation, and the losses users incurred.
Cryptocurrency-related scams are notably becoming increasingly popular. As CryptoGlobe recently covered, a malware dubbed “ClipboardWalletHijacker” monitors users’ clipboards to replaced coped bitcoin and ethereum addresses and steal funds.
An infected Android emulator has also been found. It reportedly comes with a hidden GPU miner that uses victims’ computers to mine cryptocurrency, and data suggests the company behind the emulator is behind the move.
The size and volume of these scams recently saw France’s financial markets regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), add four more companies to its growing list of illegal crypto-related businesses.