Crypto Crimes Soaring to $1.4 Billion in 2020; COVID-19 Related Frauds also Emerging

During the first five months of 2020, losses from cryptocurrency hacks, thefts, and frauds spiked to about $1.4 billion, as per the report from CipherTrace.

The crypto crime in 2020 is on track to be the second largest on record after last year’s $4.5 billion losses.

“Consumers, investors, and users continue to adopt cryptocurrency at a massive rate and it is by far the fastest-growing payment system on the planet,” said Dave Jevans, CipherTrace chief executive officer. He added,

“At one trillion dollars in annual payments, cryptocurrency payments have grown from zero to 7% in 10 years, making this volume of funds attractive to bad actors.”

The $1 billion Ponzi scheme by Wotoken in China was the largest contributor to crypto losses this year, which came into light in a criminal trial last month.

This scheme offered to generate returns for its investors through algorithmic trading bots and referral commissions to affiliates, however, the advertised trading software didn’t exist.

Source: CipherTrace

As per the findings of the report, for the third year in a row, Finnish exchanges received the highest number of BTC that were supposed to come from criminal sources. Just over 12% of corrupted BTC went through their trading platforms in 2019.

Coronavirus-related frauds demanding crypto payment

It has been back that the Crypto intelligence company started tracking cryptocurrency crimes and in its 2020 report, it found that coronavirus-related frauds that require digital currency payment have also started emerging during the pandemic.

However, the proportion was minimal and the report didn’t provide a specific figure.

Coronavirus-related fraud took place by luring victims off legitimate platforms into chat rooms where payment in bitcoin can be requested.


Red Cross BTC Scam

The report also shared that these COVID-19 frauds impersonate legitimate entities like The Red Cross to extract personal information and payment in digital currencies. There have been applications that claim to support the victims but are spying on users along with the sale of supposed treatments, bogus personal protective equipment, and testing kits.

The majority of COVID-19 products advertised on darknet markets didn’t result in many sales but they were able to successfully sell coronavirus phishing kits, CipherTrace said.

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