Unknown scammers organized a fake Bitcoin giveaway through a Russian government website they hacked. News of the attack comes after a recent report revealed that crypto fraud damage in Russia reached $ 30 million in the first half of this year.
Regional government website in Russia hacked by scammers
The main website of the local administration in the Russian city of Ryazan, around 200 km southeast of Moscow, was attacked twice by hackers in a single day, reported Rzn.info, quoted by the crypto news agency Forklog. The unidentified attackers posted an ad offering cryptocurrency to those who download a specific application.
The scammers initially promised to send 0.025 ВТС to every visitor who installed the app. They later changed the offer to a price of $ 1,000 in Bitcoin for each of five randomly selected participants in the “Ryazani Online Lottery” advertised. Both ads have already disappeared from the mayor’s website, but the local news agency released a screenshot of one of the ads.
$ 30 million worth of crypto scams in Russia this year
The volume of cryptocurrency-related fraud around the world increased significantly in 2021. In the first half of the year, the losses amounted to an estimated 1.5 billion US dollars, which is two to three times more than the total recorded in the same period last year, experts from IT security company Zecurion told Russian daily Izvestia.
According to the report released earlier this week, the Russian Federation accounts for 2% of the global amount – about $ 30 million, or almost 2.2 billion rubles. Analysts believe the main reasons for the surge are the increasing exposure of users to digital assets as well as the desire to make quick profits in an expanding sector with limited regulation given the volatility in traditional financial markets. They also expect crypto scams to continue growing this year, resulting in a 15% annual increase.
In July, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) announced that it had identified 146 financial pyramid schemes in the first six months of the year. The number is 1.5 times higher compared to the same period in 2020. Fraudsters often lure people with poor financial literacy into investment fraud related to cryptocurrencies or crypto mining, the regulator said. The CBR attributed the increase to increased activity by “unfair market participants” and investment demand in Russia.
Blockchain forensics company Chainalysis announced this week that crypto addresses based in Eastern Europe sent $ 815 million in digital currency to scammers in a single year. More than half of the money sent to fraudulent addresses in the region went to the Russia-based Finiko Ponzi program. The pyramid targeted crypto holders in Russian-speaking populations in the former Soviet space with promises of 30% monthly returns before collapsing in July.
Do you agree with the experts’ expectations that crypto fraud will continue to grow this year? Do share your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.
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