Sophisticated scams sought out victims through identity fraud and instant messaging services
SiGMA is urging caution following a recent string of chatbot scams where cybercriminals set up financially-motivated extortion schemes under the guise of several SiGMA Group employee’s profiles.
A twist on phishing scams, the chatbot scam works to manipulate a trusted brand or person by creating a fake chat group run either by an automated bot or by actors who work together to build a deceitful narrative around the intended victim. Funds paid out are more often than not irretrievable, especially if a digital currency was used – a fact that is becoming more and more common as cryptocurrencies push towards the mainstream.
This boom has also coincided neatly with a rise in the use of instant messaging services, a collision which has helped boost adoption but also paved the way for increased criminal activity.
Telegram, for example, currently boasts 500 million monthly active users, projecting over one billion consumers by 2022 and has become a popular go-to for crypto enthusiasts, as well as crypto fortune seekers who target everyone from companies to inexperienced investors – particularly through pump-and-dump scams and fake trading bots.
Increasingly sophisticated, these scams generally bank on the fact that their stolen identities are often legitimate and trusted public figures or brands – ensuring scammers a fast-tracked path towards the appearance of authenticity and legitimacy.
While often complex in their creation, chatbot and website scams do carry a few tell-tale signs that all is not as it seems. Look out for URLs which try to imitate original sites – misspelled words and added characters can be easy to miss, low resolution logos, poor grammar and unclear language are also key indicators you may be using an imposter site. Any request to wire money, whether as payment or as support should be checked either in person or over the phone with the intended recipient.
If you suspect you may have been targeted, or notice anything unusual about a conversation you may have had with any SIGMA employee – especially a request for financial aid – please get in touch by emailing a SiGMA representative on [email protected], by calling the company’s Malta office on +356 2133 6670, or by visiting the contact page on the official SiGMA website.
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