It seems scammers are leveraging the current situation surrounding COVID-19 pandemic to swindle more people as more users filed reports on Bitcoin extortion last month. Reports filed by users of BitcoinAbuse.com database surged by 1,300 percent in April.
People are allowed to report suspected criminal cases related to Bitcoin extortion on BitcoinAbuse.com. According to the website’s founder Alan Reed, the website was established in response to the WannaCry ransomware. Since the beginning of this year, 68,000 reports with 21,000 unique Bitcoin addresses have been submitted.
The huge increase in the number of reports from March to April is majorly due to the explosion in sextorsion cases, said Reed. Reed said scammers may be leveraging the stay-at-home orders or they may be attempting to get more money this period. He thinks it has nothing to do with the recent hacks since thepasswords used by the scammers are quite old.
Reed’s attempt to make cryptocurrency exchanges use his database to prevent exchange users from sending coins to known scammer addresses has been futile. He has been calling on them to utilize his database but there are no positive responses.
According to him, he contacted Coinbase and a few other exchanges but Coinbase’s only response is “we’ll look into it, we’ll think about that,” and nothing confirms or indicates that they are really looking into it.
Many people continue to fall victim to various dubious schemes by scammers, despite several warnings that they should never send Bitcoins to anyone without research. However, scammers keep finding new malicious means of obtaining Bitcoins from the cryptocurrency space.
Reports had it that the latest trend appears to be streaming speeches by renowned public figures on YouTube to make it seem like they are giving away Bitcoin. Reed advised people to check Bitcoin addresses on his website in case they receive emails containing such addresses from scammers.