Crypto phishing scams took almost $300M from 324k victims in 2023: Report

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Over 324,000 crypto users fell victim to phishing scams in 2023, with around $295 million in digital assets lost to wallet drainers.

In its 2023 Wallet Drainers Report, blockchain security platform Scam Sniffer analyzed the trends surrounding drainers used in crypto phishing scams. The platform highlighted that there has been a continued growth in phishing activities throughout 2023. 

Notable wallet drainers that were active in 2023. Source: Scam Sniffer

In addition, Scam Sniffer also reported that despite drainers closing down, “phishing gangs” just take their business elsewhere, as there seems to be no lack of platforms providing services for scammers. 

On March 2, the infamous Monkey Drainer, responsible for high-profile phishing exploits, closed its business. Scam Sniffer estimated that Monkey Drainer stole around $16 million in digital assets before it closed down. However, phishing continued as the drainer recommended a different scam service to their criminal clientele.

Similarly, Inferno Drainer also closed down in 2023 after stealing about $81 million in digital assets. According to Scam Sniffer, Angel Drainer seems to have taken over after Inferno Drainer closed down. 

Wallet Drainers’ phishing activities throughout 2023. Source: Scam Sniffer 

Meanwhile, Scam Sniffer also analyzed how phishing sites get traffic. One of the methods these crypto thieves employ is hacking official Discord and X (Twitter) accounts of official projects. After taking over the official social accounts, the hackers then spread phishing links through posts. 

Related: Redditors report deepfake Ripple scam on YouTube

Besides hacking, phishing websites get organic traffic by conducting fake airdrops of crypto assets or nonfungible tokens (NFTs). They also take over expired Discord links and perform spam commenting and mentioning on X. 

In addition to organic traffic, the scammers manage to bypass Google and X’s advertising guidelines. Their phishing websites can put out paid Google search ads and Twitter ads, according to Scam Sniffer. 

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