Bitmain just released a statement claiming they are aware that a number of their customers have been targeted by a phone scammer claiming to be from Bitmain and offering advanced hardware that is not yet on the market. Specifically the scammers offer the potential victim a chance to purchase an “S11” miner. Phone scams have also been appearing regularly and targeting cryptocurrency holders.
Crypto Scamming Continues
One of the unfortunate side effects of cryptocurrency is that it provides scammers a way to extract money from victims in a way that is largely untraceable and is completely irreversible. Recently, the “free ETH” scam has been saturating Twitter, and it is nearly impossible to avoid the messages.
The scam works by creating a fake look-alike account of a well-known cryptocurrency Twitter handle and promising that anyone who sends Ethereum or sometimes bitcoin to a specified address will have 10 times that amount returned to them in minutes. These posts are usually followed by more fraudulent posts claiming to have received large amounts of cryptocurrency for doing effectively nothing.
The Blockonomi Twitter has been hit by the scammers
These types of scams are quite easy to identify, but unfortunately they must be working because the scammers don’t appear to even be slowing down in their attempts to blanket the Internet with their fraud.
This attack on Bitmain is quite unique, however, as it involves phone calls being placed to Bitmain customers. This suggests that the scammers were somehow able to get access to Bitmain customer records, though the company has yet to officially make that claim.
Bitmain Phone Scam: How it Works
According to the official statement which was emailed to Bitmain subscribers, “Someone has been calling Bitmain customers. The phone number appears to be our customer service number in China. The caller claims to be offering an S11 miner.”
The email then claims that there is no such device available on the market, and anyone claiming to be selling one is a scammer. Further, they state that “Bitmain never contacts customers by telephone to announce new products”. Indeed they don’t need to, as most Bitmain shipments sell out in a matter of hours or even minutes in some cases.
The email does not contain any further details, but it’s safe to say that the scammers will likely attempt to convince the potential victim to order at med as many of the fictional devices as possible through a payment method like cryptocurrency or possibly a credit card.
Crypto Phone Scams on the Rise
While phone scams for bitcoin are still unusual compared to online scams such as the one targeting Twitter, they are still becoming increasingly common.
In March of this year, the FTC reported that they had stopped four men who were calling people and promising they could get them rich quickly using bitcoin. The system used what’s known as a “chain referral scheme” which in many ways is similar to a pyramid scheme. According to a report in Time magazine, the scammers claimed that they could turn any investors “0.1 bitcoin into 84 bitcoin” every month. The group operated under the names Bitcoin Funding Team, Jetcoin and My7Network.
In Canada, CBC news reported that criminals have been targeting Canadian citizens by posing as tax officials and demanding payments in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. This particular report was from December of last year, when bitcoin was experiencing its meteoric bull run.
Another report from Global News Canada from April of this year reported that small businesses were targeted with scammers that claim to be from utility companies. The scammers would demand bitcoin or else utilities like power would be cut off immediately.
It’s important to remember that as bitcoin adoption increases, so will scam attempts, as well as the ingenuity of the scammers. That’s why it’s of critical importance to always be on your guard, and be suspicious of anyone asking for bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies over the phone or email.
It’s also important to be able to spot the scam when you see one. When you see anyone who promises to “10x” your money in minutes or make you get rich quick, you can be assured that you are looking at a scam attempt in progress.