April 19, 2024
Crypto Catfishers Shift To Approval Phishing, Chainalysis Warns
Latest Cryptocurrency News

Crypto Catfishers Shift To Approval Phishing, Chainalysis Warns

Romance scammers targeting individuals for cryptocurrency theft are employing a new tactic known as “targeted approval phishing,” according to on-chain analytics firm Chainalysis. This method, witnessing significant growth in the last two years, involves convincing victims to sign transactions, granting scammers access to wallets, and enabling fund drainage.

While romance scams, also called pig-butchering scams, traditionally involve a slow build of trust before extracting funds, the new approval phishing approach is more immediate, requiring victims to sign a transaction swiftly.

The pig-butchering technique typically starts on dating sites, with scammers establishing trust over weeks or months and convincing victims to invest in fake schemes.

The term refers to scammers gradually extracting maximum funds from their targets over time. The evolution to targeted approval phishing marks a departure from the gradual approach of traditional pig-butchering scams.

“Once targets are identified and trust is built, the scammer subtly mentions a crypto investment website with which they’ve had personal success. Over weeks or months, scammers coach victims on how to use these fake sites, convincing them to invest everything they possibly can.”

MetaMask lead product manager Taylor Monahan identified over a thousand addresses associated with targeted approval phishing scams, estimating a total theft of $1 billion since May 2021.

Romance scams are often underreported, suggesting the actual figure could be higher, as noted by Chainalysis. The report highlights that one of the most successful approval phishing addresses has likely profited $44.3 million from numerous victim addresses.

The top 10 approval phishing addresses account for nearly 16% of the total stolen value during the analyzed period. Chainalysis concludes by advocating for industry efforts to educate users about the risks of signing approval transactions without complete trust in the entity on the other side.

Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik

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