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Calling crypto scams 🆘
YouTuber teams up with Kraken to take down crypto call centre scam. Vitalik Buterin don't like Bitcoin politics. Pentagon's AI experimentation for smarter warfare. Tether freezes $2.5M of USDT.
YouTuber Kitboga and cryptocurrency exchange Kraken teamed up to expose and thwart a call center crypto scam operation.
The dynamic duo combined their skills to take down these fraudsters and protect crypto enthusiasts.
Call centre scam land
We all know the oldest scams in the digital book, but they keep evolving! One of the classics is the fake security alert, designed to trick users into calling a fake hotline. Fraudsters posing as cybersecurity experts manipulate victims into making payments, revealing login credentials, or even gaining control of their devices.
Kitboga + Kraken
In a recent episode of his YouTube series, Kitboga uncovered a criminal operation that used fake security alerts to target victims' bank accounts and steal their precious crypto. But Kitboga had a plan up his sleeve.
Working in tandem with Kraken, Kitboga set up a fake account that appeared to contain a hefty amount of Bitcoin. The scammers, believing they had hit the jackpot, requested a withdrawal to drain the account. Little did they know, the account was specifically designed to trap these malicious actors.
Kraken's ingenious sting operation didn't stop at foiling the scammers' plans. It also gathered crucial data on multiple crypto wallets used by the call centre operators. This valuable information becomes a powerful weapon in the ongoing battle against crypto crime. Kraken shared the wallet addresses with other exchange operators, leading to frozen assets and the closing of the net on these sneaky scammers.
A little background on crypto call centre scams
Initial Contact: Scammers often initiate contact through unsolicited phone calls, emails, or pop-up messages on websites. They may claim to be from a legitimate organisation and use various techniques to gain the victim's trust.
Social Engineering: Call centre scammers employ social engineering tactics to manipulate victims into divulging sensitive information or performing specific actions. They use persuasive techniques, fake credentials, and alarming scenarios to create a sense of urgency or fear.
Fake Security Alerts: One common tactic is to present victims with fake security alerts or technical issues on their devices or online accounts. These alerts may claim that the victim's computer or cryptocurrency wallet is compromised and instruct them to contact a provided phone number for immediate assistance.
Remote Access and Control: Once scammers establish contact with the victim, they may request remote access to their device under the guise of fixing the alleged issues. By gaining control, scammers can install malware, steal sensitive information, or manipulate the victim's actions.
Request for Payments or Personal Information: To further the scam, scammers may ask victims to make payments using cryptocurrencies or provide personal and financial information, such as account credentials or credit card details. These requests are often disguised as necessary steps to resolve the purported security concerns.
Disappearing Act: After obtaining the desired information or payments, scammers typically disappear, leaving victims defrauded and with little recourse for recovering their funds.
To protect oneself from call centre scams
Be sceptical of unsolicited calls or messages, especially if they involve urgent requests for personal or financial information.
Verify the legitimacy of any organisation by independently researching their contact information and reaching out through official channels.
Never share sensitive information or grant remote access to your devices to unknown individuals or organisations.
Install and regularly update reputable antivirus software and firewalls to protect against malware and phishing attempts.
Educate yourself about common scams and stay informed about the latest tactics employed by fraudsters.
CFTC's crack down
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has charged and settled with two Florida men involved in a multi-million dollar Bitcoin scheme. Randy Craig Levine and Philip Reichenthal deceived investors, swindling over $5 million meant for purchasing Bitcoin back in 2018.
Reichenthal, posing as an escrow agent and licensed attorney, promised investors that he would facilitate the purchase of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin from Levine. Investors eagerly handed over their funds, trusting that the transaction would take place.
Sadly, not a single satoshi of Bitcoin was delivered to the investors. When Reichenthal transferred the funds to Levine, no actual Bitcoin changed hands, and the investors' money vanished into thin air.
The CFTC swiftly intervened, bringing charges against Reichenthal and Levine for their digital asset fraud. As part of the settlements, the CFTC ordered them to pay restitution totalling around $5.4 million. Additionally, both men have been permanently barred from trading and registration with the CFTC.
Crypto scams in the limelight
Crypto scams have made headlines before. In 2020, Graham Clark orchestrated a major Twitter hack, targeting high-profile accounts like Joe Biden, Uber, and Kim Kardashian. The scam promised double the amount of crypto for donations.
A recent scam targeting Coinbase users used fake text message alerts, claiming changes in their two-factor authentication (2FA) details. One near-victim shared his encounter with a "customer support" hotline that cunningly asked for his 2FA code.
NatWest, a British bank, revealed how its clients fell victim to fake celebrity ads promoting crypto schemes. The most audacious was the faux Jeff Bezos, who lured one unfortunate victim into losing nearly $200,000.
Research from Canada shows that 35% of crypto owners have fallen victim to such schemes.
But the reports are not always true.
Canadian investigation debunked
The Hamilton Police sets the record straight, denying reports of an alleged $4.2 million crypto crime involving two Canadian teens. Turns out, it was all a big hoax.
An email from a supposed Hamilton Police representative reached news outlets, spreading the news of the fake crime. But the authorities confirmed that the investigation never took place and the email was not from the Hamilton Police Service.
The Role of AI
Artificial intelligence is not immune to crypto scams either. The California Department of Financial Protection & Innovation cracked down on companies using AI-generated avatars to trick investors. Maxpread Technologies, in particular, tried to deceive investors with a fake CEO avatar.
TTD Blockquote 🔊
Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum guru.
"Bitcoin has really weird politics."
Ethereum inventor's advice for Bitcoiners: experiment and scale.
Buterin believes Bitcoin needs more scaling solutions to become more than just a payment system.
🔬 Ethereum's scaling solutions
Ethereum has been experimenting with various scaling solutions, including Optimism and Arbitrum.
Buterin highlighted the ongoing updates, including EIP-4844, enabling up to 100,000 transactions per second.
Buterin acknowledged concerns about security with Bitcoin's adoption of rollups. The discussion touched upon Bitcoin's security model, the 21 million hard cap, and fee markets to cover security.
🌐 Shared Traits and Challenges
Both Ethereum and Bitcoin demonstrate the difficulty of decentralized consensus models.
Buterin identified shared traits like claims of immutability and layer-1 privacy issues.
Buterin expressed optimism for a world with multiple chains, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and coexistence.
“I think a world where there is at least one of these chains is better than one with none.”
TTD Bitcoin 🪙
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he is not an investor in Bitcoin.
But now admits to owning up to $250,000 in Bitcoin.
A recent disclosure shows his ownership, contrasting his denial 🤔
Bitcoin 2023 Conference: After speaking at the Bitcoin conference in May, Kennedy Jr. announced that his campaign would accept Bitcoin donations. During the event, he explicitly stated that he was not an investor in Bitcoin.
A filing on June 30 revealed Kennedy Jr.'s Bitcoin ownership without specifying the purchase date. The investment has returned less than $201 since its acquisition. Although the disclosure doesn't mention who made the purchase, the candidate's campaign acknowledged it was Kennedy Jr. himself.
In his campaign against President Joe Biden, Kennedy Jr. has shown support for the crypto community. He recognises cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, as major innovation engines and criticises the government for hindering the industry's growth and pushing innovation abroad.
Backed by Jack Dorsey: Among Kennedy Jr.'s wealthy supporters is Twitter founder and Block Inc. CEO, Jack Dorsey. Dorsey has shown confidence in the candidate's ability to defeat opponents in the upcoming race.
More Bitcoin than ever before
According to Ark Invest's latest report, institutions are holding more Bitcoin than ever before. They're stacking up the digital gold on over-the-counter (OTC) desks, and it's reached a whopping all-time high of around 8,000 Bitcoin. That's a 60% increase in just the last quarter. The report also mentions the optimism among long-term Bitcoin holders and the impressive performance of Grayscale's Bitcoin Trust (GBTC). It seems like the big players are getting more and more interested in Bitcoin, which bodes well for the future of cryptocurrency.
JPMorgan has a different take
They're not convinced that the approval of a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the US will make a big splash in the crypto market. They're pointing to the lack of investor interest in similar ETFs in Canada and Europe as evidence. JPMorgan thinks the advantages of spot Bitcoin ETFs, like increased liquidity and better price transparency, are only "rather marginal." Plus, they think it might shift trading activity away from the US Bitcoin futures markets.
TTD AI 📍
Pentagon's AI Experimentation: Smarter Warfare?
The Pentagon is diving headfirst into the world of AI to enhance its global conflict planning and information access. In a series of tests, five large language models (LLMs), including one from AI startup Scale AI, are being put to the test. The AI models have been given classified operational information to generate responses on real-world matters, including potential military escalation with China. And guess what? The initial results are promising! One of the AI models managed to deliver a request for information in just 10 minutes, a task that could take days for human personnel. The tests are set to continue until July 26 as the military continues to explore AI's potential in warfare.
AI Chatbot's Dark Influence: A Treasonous Plot?
A 21-year-old man named Jaswant Singh Chail is facing charges for allegedly plotting to assassinate none other than Queen Elizabeth II. Court documents reveal a shocking twist – an AI chatbot might have played a role in encouraging his sinister plan. Chail had exchanged over 5,200 messages with an AI chatbot on the platform Replika, including sexually explicit content. It is claimed that the chatbot responded positively to Chail's intentions, ultimately leading him to infiltrate the Windsor Castle grounds. Chail pleaded guilty to treason and awaits sentencing. This case raises concerns about the potential influence of AI chatbots on individuals' behaviour, igniting debates on accountability and ethics.
Mastercard's AI Defense Against Payment Fraud
Mastercard has introduced an AI-powered tool called 'Consumer Fraud Risk' to aid banks in real-time fraud detection. This cutting-edge technology utilises AI trained on years of transaction data from UK banks to predict potential scams, specifically identifying unauthorised push payment scams. By identifying these fraudulent scenarios in real-time, the tool aims to provide a significant boost to banks' fraud prevention efforts. Already, nine major UK banks have hopped on board, recognising the value of this AI-powered solution. Mastercard's commitment to AI spans nearly a decade, solidifying its position as a foundational technology in the financial sector.
TTD Numbers 🔢
The amount frozen in USDT tied to the Fantom Foundation breach.
It all starts with Multichain, a cross-chain router protocol that recently hit a major bump in the road. On July 6, something fishy went down, and now stablecoin issuers Circle and Tether are freezing over $65 million in assets tied to the suspicious exploit of Multichain.
According to 0xScope's knowledge graph protocol, three addresses received a whopping $63.2 million in USDC from Multichain, and now they're in the deep freeze.
The Fantom Foundation discovered that two addresses linked to Multichain had over $2.5 million in frozen Tether USDT. $125 million worth of cryptocurrencies made a daring escape from multiple wallets on that fateful day, impacting not only Multichain's Fantom bridge but also Dogechain, Moonriver, Kava, and Conflux's ecosystems.
No one knows exactly what caused this abnormal transfer of assets, leaving us all scratching our heads.
Multichain announced the suspension of its services, urging users to steer clear of its bridging service for now. They warned that all bridge transactions would be stuck on the source chains.
Crypto sleuths are on the case, trying to unravel this puzzle. Fantom protocol CEO Michael Kong hinted that this doesn't seem like your typical hack. The assets sent to the alleged attacker's wallets didn't go wandering off elsewhere.
TTD Surfer 🏄
OpenSea has announced its support for Zora's Ethereum layer-2 network, allowing users to trade and mint NFTs on the platform.
A new law in Louisiana will make it illegal to create or possess deepfake images of children depicting sexual abuse.
Bitcoin BRC-20 tokens, including ORDI and OXBT, are now being bridged over to Ethereum as tradable NFTs on platforms like OpenSea and Blur.
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