Crypto romance scams: ‘Asian women’ on Twitter are coming for your ‘crypto wallets’

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Crypto romance scams: ‘Asian women’ on Twitter are coming for your ‘crypto wallets’

Twenty-eight-year-old Nikhil (name changed), a crypto investor based in Pune jumped on several dating apps, but had no luck. But one night this year, he received a message from a “beautiful woman” on Twitter, who claimed to be from Singapore. What followed was a better match than any dating site could offer. The duo discussed crypto, football, pizza and even exchanged WhatsApp numbers.

“…she was always talking about crypto, and that made me happy. She was discussing potential investments and airdrops, and I would love to chat with her,” Nikhil said. indianexpress.com. However, video calls were strictly no, as she would claim to be “uncomfortable”. About two weeks into their relationship, the woman sent him a link that looked like a NFT airdrop. But as soon as Nikhil clicked on it, his cryptocurrency wallet was hacked and NFTs worth Rs 10 lakh were stolen.

“I was devastated she blocked my number and her profile doesn’t even exist on Twitter,” he said. Unfortunately, Nikhil is not alone. Many crypto investors fall victim to “crypto romance scams”. Victims are attracted to stories of romance and affection so that criminals can gain access to their crypto wallets. And Twitter appears to be where many of these cybercriminals first contact potential victims.

Neel Sinha, a crypto enthusiast, shared a similar experience where scammers tried to lure him. He called these scams “a fake Asian girl crypto scam.” “First, you get a request to ‘Follow’ Asian women on Twitter. She talks about your crypto trading experience and proves you’re doing everything wrong. Next, she’ll tell you that she might have a better option trading,” he told indianexpress.com. Sinha noted that these scammers always talk about lucrative options like 60% monthly or even daily return.

Indianexpress.com has also seen some of these messages and fake crypto airdrops sent by profiles on Twitter.

However, the whole catch is when they share a link. “If you click and authorize this transaction, there is no way to go back,” he added.

Crypto comedian and influencer Garv Malik gets at least a DM or two a week. He claimed this happens every time he tweets something about NFT/crypto. “These fake profiles usually have Asian or Caucasian women, and an easy target for them are Indian men, who are not used to women messaging them first. The moment that happens, happiness takes away the part of rationality”, he underlined.

Indianexpress.com has also seen some of these messages and fake crypto airdrops sent by profiles on Twitter. Many profiles use photos of Asian women as a lure. And clearly, the rise of crypto-related scams is a global issue. Data shows that as the popularity of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies continues to rise, so do the associated online scams.

Crypto investors lost more than $80 million investment in cryptocurrency scams since October, a 1000% increase from fall 2019, according to data from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). People between the ages of 20 and 39 were particularly hard hit, accounting for about 44% of reported losses, the FTC said.

So how can crypto enthusiasts stay safe? “What makes these scams more dangerous is that it is difficult to locate these wallets, so once you lose your cryptos, there is no way to get them back,” explained Sourajeet Majumder, an expert. in cybersecurity.

According to him, it is better for users to avoid clicking on links because they can also lead to fraudulent exchange sites. His advice to users is to “be smart with your wallet credentials and never share your seed phrase (recovery phrase) with anyone.” He also recommended users to look out for bogus giveaways and that if a deal is too good to be true, it’s probably a hoax. “Check whether an NFT website is secure or not, you can use tools like Trend Micro, which is available for free,” he noted.

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