Cybercriminals trying to take advantage of Ethereum (ETH) users have seemingly managed to rake in $36 million worth of the cryptocurrency last year, more than doubling the $17 million they managed to acquired back in 2017, the year the crypto market experienced exponential growth.
According to a report published by blockchain research firm Chainalysis, only about 0.01% of the total amount of circulating ether was stolen by scammers last year. Although the number of scams targeting users went down, the report notes, revenues went up.
Chainalysis details that ether has “long been known as the cryptocurrency of choice for scams” for a “variety of reasons,” and that from late 2016 to the end of 2018 the firm found over 2,000 scam Ethereum addresses that received funds from over 40,000 unique users.
Notably, the report notes scam activity “dramatically in 2018 with nearly 75% of scamming activity taking place that year.” The most popular types of scams, per the firm, are phishing, Ponzi schemes, and initial coin offering (ICO) exits.
Last year, the firm notes that after 2017’s phishing scam successes “more criminals jumped on the bandwagon,” saturating the market. Despite the move, “fewer users took the hook,” which means the tactic was less effective during the bear market. The post adds:
In 2018, the median amount sent to a scam was around 50% less than in the prior year. A smaller group of innovative criminals executed more complex ponzi and ICO exit scams that generated millions of dollars in income. These more sophisticated schemes dominated the second half of the year
Authorities have notably been cracking down on cryptocurrency scammers. As covered Taiwan has recently indicted seven for allegedly running a fraudulent crypto investment scheme, while Europol has announced the arrest of the suspected thief of $11 million worth of IOTA