FRAUD AND SCAMS

This is a small guide to prevent fraud and scams

Before sending any bitcoins please check these links if a given address has been registered as a scam. This does not give you the certainty that the wallet is safe the sites listed below are the result of reports from other users if you have any doubts contact us we will investigate for you. But please contact us before using our ATM and not after only in this way can we protect you . Thank you.

Pyramid or Ponzi schemes

1. Scammers create sites or ads often with fake screenshots or videos showing stratospheric earnings by investing in a certain financial product or service with payment in bitcoin or cryptocurrencies in general.

2. Scammers will instruct you on how to deposit bitcoins on their platform, often enticing you to buy them from third party services or simply with their own cash from any bitcoin atm.

3. The criminals will start making sure that you can view huge earnings on your smartphone for the sole purpose that you can deposit more and more by guiding you on where and how to buy them.

4. Demographics of the victims: elderly, recent immigrants, young people (students with little knowledge of legal systems) and workers who receive illegal payments.

Pyramid or Ponzi sales systems are scam schemes often used by cyber criminals to steal the money of people interested in Bitcoin or other virtual currencies. These schemes are not born in the digital world but in the sales of non-existent products or services.

Thanks to a sort of cascade system that works through the Sant’Antonio chain, anyone who brings a new customer into the system earns a percentage of the sales of that particular person. This system is also used for the sale of some crypto-currencies. Too bad that after months of investment and work we will not receive anything since there is no virtual currency behind the company that hooked us.

These scammers use emotion and stress to cloud the judgment of their victims. The scammers will do everything in their power to keep the victim with the desire to get more and more money. Pressuring the victim to act immediately and deposit more and more.

There are no guarantees or 100% fixed profits in a single day, week or month and there is no such thing in the world of cryptocurrencies that in order to withdraw bitcoins you will have to deposit other bitcoins. So it’s a blatant scam to avoid.

Virus ransomware

The word ransomware refers to a class of malware that makes the data of infected computers inaccessible and demands a ransom payment, in English ransom, to restore them. Technically they are cryptographic Trojan horses and their sole purpose is the extortion of money, through a “file seizure”, through encryption which, in practice, makes the PC unusable. Instead of the classic background we will see a notice appear that appears to come from the police or another security organization and proposes an offer. In exchange for a password capable of unlocking all the contents, he orders to pay a fairly high sum of money: generally the currency used is bitcoin, the electronic currency. The goal of the bad guys is, therefore, to beat cash.

How to pay the ransom? Behind the ransomware industry there are not simple hackers, but real criminal organizations that have reached a high level of efficiency and organization: therefore, after having encrypted all the files, they will make a screen appear on the attacked computer where detailed instructions are given. (often in good Italian!) to access the TOR network and pay the ransom.

One of the main channels for spreading ransomware is the banner ads of sites with adult content. But emails are also used (very similar to phishing emails) that invite us to click on a certain link or download a certain file: email that is masked so that it is sent by someone we trust, for example a work colleague. Furthermore, cybercriminals do not reserve the right to exploit vulnerabilities present in various programs – such as Java, Adobe Flash and Adobe Acrobat – or in various operating systems. In the latter case, the malicious software propagates itself without the user having to take any action.
The vectors of infection used by ransomware are essentially the same as those used for other types of malware attacks:

The most common, because unfortunately it works very well, are phishing emails: through this technique, which uses social engineering (social engineering), more than 75% of ransomware are conveyed. All of us will have ever received emails from shippers, or with fake bills attached. They are obviously phishing emails, but statistics tell us that in 30% of cases these messages are opened by users and even attachments or links in emails are clicked in over 10% of cases, thus allowing the infiltration of malware!

Despite the virulence and spread of ransomware, there are simple rules of thumb that can help us avoid them. We will list them here in summary:

  • Never open email attachments of dubious origin. If in doubt, it is advisable to ask the sender if that email is authentic!

  • Beware of emails also coming from known addresses (they may have been hacked in a way known as “spoofing”).

  • Enable the “Show file name extensions” option in the Windows settings: the most dangerous files have the extension .exe, .zip, js, jar, scr, etc. If this option is disabled we will not be able to see the real file extension.

  • Disable the automatic reproduction (“autorun”) of USB sticks, CDs / DVDs and other external media and, more generally, avoid inserting these objects into our computer if we are not sure where they come from. This attack mode is called “Baiting”: it consists in using a bait for a person able to access a specific computer system (a sort of Trojan horse). In practice, a storage medium such as a USB key or hard disk containing malware (which will activate as soon as the object is connected to the computer) is left unattended in a common place (company entrance, canteen, public bathroom). And human curiosity makes this bait work in many cases and the person inserts the unknown key into their computer …

  • Disable the execution of macros by Office components (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). A malicious macro could be contained in an attachment in Office format and be automatically activated following our click.

  • Always update operating systems and browsers. In general, it is a good rule to always and immediately install the security “patches” (updates) that are proposed to us by the manufacturers of the software we have installed.

  • Use – when possible – accounts without administrator rights: if an account with administrator privileges and access is breached, the attacker can use the same privileges to perform more actions and do more damage. Conversely, a non-administrator user has limited privileges and the same limitations will be transferred to the attacker

  • Install effective and advanced Antispam services. They will not be able to block all phishing emails, but the best ones still manage to achieve an efficiency higher than 95%.

  • Implement “User Behavior Analytics” (UBA) solutions on the corporate network (web traffic anomaly analysis). These tools represent the most advanced protection against ransomware today. In fact, it is known that these malware exhibit a series of typical behaviors (access / write to system folders, connection to external servers for downloading encryption files, etc.). The UBAs therefore analyze the behavior of each computer in the company and are able to understand if “anomalous” events are occurring (such as for example an above average data traffic, access to IP addresses classified as malicious, and writing to system folders that should not be used). Upon detection of anomalous and suspicious events, they can isolate the offending computer and block (at least limit) the attack.

  • Implement the use of Sandboxing: these tools are generally present in UBA systems (referred to in the previous point) and allow you to analyze suspicious incoming files in an isolated environment (precisely the “sandbox”).

  • Make sure that the plugins you use (Java, Adobe Flash Player, etc.) are always up to date. These plugins – it is known – represent a preferential entry route for most cyber attacks. Keeping them up to date reduces the vulnerabilities they are affected by (although it does not completely eliminate them).

  • Always be careful before clicking on banners (or pop-up windows) on unsafe sites. As I have already explained, ransomware can strike us not only through phishing, but also by visiting sites that have been “infected”, with the so-called “drive-by download” method.

  • Frequent backup of your data. This is a fundamental rule: if despite everything a ransomware manages to hit us, the only salvation is to have your data saved in another place. And it is important that the backup is performed frequently and completely. In the absence of a backup, only the option to pay the ransom remains, which we strongly advise against since you will never know if they will actually unlock everything or ask for more money. The advice we are also is to always report everything to the police.

To withdraw you must deposit

1. Scammers create sites or ads often with fake screenshots or videos showing stratospheric gains by investing in cryptocurrencies.

2. The scammers will instruct you on how to download a wallet (often blockchain wallet) and help you set it up so that they can access it too.

3. The criminals will start making sure that you can view huge earnings on your smartphone for the sole purpose that you can deposit more and more by guiding you on where and how to buy them.

4. Demographics of the victims: elderly, recent immigrants, young people (students with little knowledge of legal systems) and workers who receive illegal payments.

Once the scammer has convinced his victim with screenshots and screencasts (fake), he will be led to believe that the proceeds will be sent to his personal wallet but in reality the QR CODE provided will be that of the scammer himself.

After completing the transaction, the bitcoins (or altcoins) will be sent to the address of the scammer’s bitcoin wallet. Once the bitcoins have been sent, you will see stratospheric figures on the fake wallet but in reality you will not have anything on the wallet and so the scammer will tell you that to unlock that figure it will be necessary to deposit more bitcoins, but this is obviously false and therefore the person less experienced will be tempted by greed and the desire to have those figures so as to be willing to deposit more and more money without ever actually being able to withdraw.

The transaction can be viewed on the blockchain, which is the decentralized public ledger of all bitcoin transactions. However, it is impossible to act on this information alone as the transactions are not linked to identities, but to a string of codes.

These scammers use emotion and stress to cloud the judgment of their victims. The scammers will do everything in their power to keep the victim with the desire to get more and more money. Pressuring the victim to act immediately and deposit more and more.

There are no guarantees or 100% fixed profits in a single day, week or month and there is no such thing in the world of cryptocurrencies that in order to withdraw bitcoins you will have to deposit other bitcoins. So it’s a blatant scam to avoid.

Called by the Public Administration

1. The scammers will claim to be the Pubblic Amministration and, in an attempt to gain their trust, provide personal information about the target.

2. The scammers will state the target owes a large sum of money in taxes to the Pubblic Amministration.

3. The criminals will claim that, should the target fail to immediately pay their taxes through the bitcoin ATM, they will be sent to jail.

4. The scammers will do everything they can to keep the target on the phone in order to pressure them into making the transaction.

5. Demographic of targets: The elderly, recent immigrants, the young (students with little knowledge of legal systems), and workers who receive payment under the table.

Once the scammers have convinced their target that they owe money to the government, a QR code will be sent to the target via SMS or email. This QR code is the scammers’ Bitcoin wallet address, to which the bitcoins will be sent. Once the QR code is scanned by the ATM, the target will be told to deposit their cash into the  machine, to convert it to bitcoins.

After completing the transaction, the bitcoins will be sent to the scammers’ Bitcoin wallet address. Once the bitcoins have left an ATM, it is impossible to recover the funds; Bitcoin transactions are anonymous, irreversible, and virtually untraceable.

The transaction can be viewed on the blockchain, the decentralized, public record of all Bitcoin transactions. However, it is impossible to act on this information alone since transactions are not linked to identities, but to anonymous addresses.  

This scammers use emotion and stress to cloud the judgement of their targets. The scammers will do everything in their power to keep the target on the phone, for as long as possible, to ensure they do not try to contact help. By pressuring the target into acting immediately, the scammers often get results quickly, before the police can become involved.  

The Public Amministration will never ask for payment in bitcoins. Should the caller demand payment in bitcoins,hang up immediately then contact the authorities. If you are unsure, tell the scammers on the phone you will call them back when you have some time. Do not provide the callers with any personal information.

Called by Police

1. They will convince the target that they are indeed the Police.

2. The scammers will claim to have one of the target’s loved ones in custody.

3. The criminals will explain that the only way for the family/friend to be released is if the target transfers a set amount of bitcoin to the QR Bitcoin address provided.

4. Demographic of targets: The elderly, recent immigrants, the young (students with little knowledge of legal systems), and workers who receive payment under the table.

Scammers use technology to mask their actual phone number; the caller ID will often show a legitimate Police phone number. The scammers will attempt to scare their target into paying the “police” a large sum of bitcoins in order to have their loved one “freed”.

Once the scammers have convinced their target to pay for the release of said loved one, the scammers will send their Bitcoin wallet address in the form of a QR code. The QR code will be sent to the target via SMS or email. When the QR code is scanned by the ATM, the target will be told to deposit their cash into the machine, to convert it to bitcoins. Once the bitcoins have been sent to the QR address the transaction cannot be stopped or reversed. At this point, the scammers will often make additional excuses or reasons as to why the target must send additional funds to the QR address.

Absolutely no part of the government (including the Police) requests payment of bail (or similar) in the form of bitcoins.

If you suspect that the individual with whom you are speaking is not a legitimate police officer, be sure to ask for their name and badge number. Hang up the phone, then contact the police to confirm the validity of the caller’s identity.

In some instances, the scammers will have a very sophisticated network, and may even provide the information of a real police officer. Under no circumstance should you provide the caller with any personal information. Inform the scammer that you will cooperate with the authorities by providing the requested information, in-person, at a police station.

Job/Employment Scam (with bank account or paypal account)

1. The job/employment scam takes advantage of those who are seeking work.

2. Individuals are offered a job without needing to have an in-person meeting with the employer. The target is asked to receive money from an unknowingly-compromised bank account or paypal account.

3. They are then asked to withdraw cash in order to purchase bitcoins.These bitcoins are, in turn, sent to the wallet address of the scammer.

4. Demographic of targets: The elderly, recent immigrants, the young (students with little knowledge of legal systems), and workers who receive payment under the table

The scammer will contact a job seeker through an email, or phone call, and offer them a job. If the job seeker believes that this job offer is legitimate, they will accept their offer and follow the scammers’ subsequent instructions.

The instructions will involve funnelling money from a compromised bank account controlled by the scammer, into the target’s bank account; this is done via Interac e-Transfer. The target will then be instructed to withdraw most of the transferred money, with the difference being the target’s compensation. The target is then requested to use the withdrawn money to purchase bitcoins at a Bitcoin ATM, and send them to the scammer’s wallet address. When the compromised bank account’s or paypal holder discovers money missing, they will report it to their local authorities, who will ask the bank to reverse the transaction. After the transaction is reversed, the target will be left at a loss, having already withdrawn the money sent to them.

The majority of jobs will require a physical presence for an interview. Always be skeptical when being offered a job. Be particularly cautious of any jobs that claim to be ‘remote’ or ‘work-from-home’. Be wary of any job offers made on-the-spot, through an email or a phone call, and without an interview. It is also very important that you never accept money transfers from anyone you do not know. Most certainly, the chances are that the funds are coming from a compromised bank account. A job will also most certainly never involve conducting business out of a target’s personal bank account. Any job that is easy to obtain, with easy pay, is most likely too good to be true. It is always good to have a healthy dose of skepticism.