Using Crypto, Romance Scams Get More Sophisticated
Market Musings

Using Crypto, Romance Scams Get More Sophisticated

By Connor Sephton
1w ago
2m

Cybersecurity researchers say scammers are attempting to dupe loved-up victims into investing in cryptocurrencies — but they'll never see their funds again.

Using Crypto, Romance Scams Get More Sophisticated

Table of Contents

A new wave of romance scams are attempting to swindle money from unsuspecting victims in a whole new way, according to Sophos. 

The cybersecurity firm says fraudsters are now using dating sites to invite their prey to join an “unbeatable” investment opportunity that typically involves cryptocurrencies.

“Cryptocom crooks” often encourage people to download crypto trading apps that look official but bypass Apple’s App Store entirely — and already, Sophos estimates that victims in the U.S. and Europe have lost at least $1.4 million.

This is a sign that scammers are beginning to get more sophisticated, with dating app users repeatedly warned to proceed with caution if someone asks them to send a wire transfer. 

How It Works

According to Sophos, this latest ruse involves scammers receiving administrative power so they can infiltrate victims’ phones with unauthorized apps. But the company warned:

“There’s no trading platform behind it; your ‘investments’ aren’t used to buy any sort of cryptocurrency, not even a volatile or little-known one; any ‘trades’ and ‘profits’ reported by the app are imaginary; if you are ever allowed to withdraw any of your ‘profits’ in order to build up trust, the crooks will simply give you a tiny bit of your own money back; and when you want to cash out your ‘investment’ you realise that it’s all smoke and mirrors, what’s known in the jargon as a pyramid or Ponzi scheme.”

Overall, romance scams tricked victims out of $300 million in 2020 — up 50% compared with the year before — and that’s in the U.S. alone.

Sophos is urging people to think twice when messages on dating apps begin to turn from flirtation to financial matters, to never give administrative control over a device without good reason, and to listen carefully to family and friends who might be trying to warn you about what’s happening.