Couple Who Lost $700,000 Attack Coinbase
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Couple Who Lost $700,000 Attack Coinbase

2 years ago

The exchange is now launching 24/7 phone lines for customer service — but a couple who lost their life savings in a phishing attack say much more needs to be done.

Couple Who Lost $700,000 Attack Coinbase


One ongoing bugbear surrounding centralized crypto exchanges often lies in how it can be difficult to speak to a customer service representative on the phone. 

Robinhood recently tried to get ahead of the curve by announcing that was launching a 24/7 hotline for its customers — staffed by specialists in specific fields.

Coinbase has also vowed that it will follow suit by the end of this year, amid reports that the company has received thousands of complaints. Phone support will be available in the U.K., U.S., Germany and Japan to begin with — and further expansion is planned for next year.

But according to one couple from Los Angeles, even this new phone line isn’t up to scratch as they try to deal with a devastating phishing attack that caused them to lose their life savings. 

Erick and Molly Richardson told CNBC that they had received a message, purporting to be from Coinbase, that claimed someone had logged into their account. After clicking on it, he was then notified that his two-factor authentication had been changed. 

The pair had $1.1 million saved in their account — and a fraudster managed to withdraw all of their Bitcoin, worth about $700,000 at the time.

Unfortunately for the Richardsons, the incident happened over the summer, meaning that they couldn’t call a Coinbase representative even if they wanted to. But two months later, when the exchange’s phone line first opened, they tried to get someone to look at their case.

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‘They Just Can’t Help Out’

Erick Richardson said the agent he spoke to on the phone at Coinbase didn’t have access to his case file — and the 10-minute call left him feeling more frustrated. He added:

“It was a joke; it just makes me a little more angry. And there’s nobody who has any decision-making power at customer service. They just can't help out a lot. You know what Coinbase did two days after I got hacked? They sent me a customer survey and they asked me to rate their service.”

Coinbase says the Richardsons aren’t entitled to compensation because their losses aren’t covered by the company’s policies.

However, earlier this year, the exchange did reimburse more than 6,000 customers who lost funds as a result in a flaw in Coinbase’s SMS account recovery process.

People are now being urged not to store their crypto on an exchange, and to rely on cold storage such as a hardware wallet instead.

Although the Richardsons have now had access restored to their account, they were appalled when they received just $500 of Bitcoin from Coinbase for the inconvenience. Erick added:

“It felt like they kicked sand in my face. Is there even anybody senior at Coinbase looking at this? Somebody made a calculation and said, ‘OK, this is what happened to this guy. He lost 21 Bitcoin. Let’s give him $500.’

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