February 23, 2024

A phishing scam promoted through Google Ads has solicited more than $4 million from unsuspecting crypto users.

Blockchain analysis and data from Google Ads shows that 3,039 unsuspecting cryptocurrency users have fallen victim to a phishing site promoted on Google, resulting in the theft of more than $4 million.

Data from Web3 anti-fraud company Scam Sniffer, revealing a recent spike in Google Ads searches for malicious ads for phishing sites. The address or URL (Uniform Resource Locator) takes the user to a website created by the scammer, which solicits a login signature request that grants the scammer access to the user’s wallet address.

Fraudsters make subtle changes to a website’s official URL to trick users into clicking malicious links.

DeFi is once again the target of scams

According to ScamSniffer, major DeFi projects, websites, and brands have recently been targeted. Notably, the scammers focus on Lido, Zapper.fi, Stargate, DefiLlama, Orbiter Finance, and Radiant.

Analysis of ScamSniffer metadata revealed that many of the phishing sites were associated with Canadian and Ukrainian scammers.

Fraudsters use a number of different methods to bypass Google’s ad review process. This includes spoofing Google Click ID, which allows scammers to display legitimate websites while Google is reviewing ads.

Harmful ads have proven to be a very lucrative endeavor for scammers. ScamSniffer shows that the average CPC for related keywords is between $1 and $2. 7,500 consumers clicked on the malvertising, with a conversion rate of 40%, and the scammers spent nearly $15,000 on the ads. In total, $4 million has been stolen so far, with a return rate of 276%.

Technological developments lead to more sophisticated scams

While scams targeting cryptocurrency users are by no means new, technological advancements in the field of artificial intelligence mean scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

California regulators recently revealed that scammers are profiting from the AI ​​hype by deceiving investors into investing in companies with AI-generated CEOs. California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) has issued cease and desist letters to at least five companies that claim to profit from using artificial intelligence-assisted trading technology.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It does not provide or be intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial or other advice.