The number of Bitcoin extortion (BTC) claims filed by users of the BitcoinAbuse.com database increased by 1,300% in April, perhaps because many scammers took advantage of the quarantined population.
BitcoinAbuse.com allows anyone to report cases of criminals trying to extort money with Bitcoin. Alan Reed told Cointelegraph that he founded the website in response to the ransomware WannaCry. According to him, since early 2020, there have been 68,000 reports with 21,000 unique Bitcoin addresses submitted.
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Number of complaints per month. Source: BitcoinAbuse.com
Swindlers take advantage of the quarantine
There were 48,370 reports submitted in April and 3,684 in March. Much of this surplus was caused by the increase in cases of sexual extortion, commonly known as „sextorsion“. Reed told
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that con artists may be trying to take advantage of people who are quarantined in their homes:
„There’s no specific reason for that, as far as I know. Maybe they’re trying to take advantage of people trapped at home during quarantine or trying to make extra money during that blockade. „
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The strange use of old accounts
Reed doesn’t think these facts are connected to recent hacks, since the scammers‘ e-mails are old.
„The passwords used are very old. […] So I suspect that these scams are using very old accounts or possibly old data pools are being found on the darknet for free. I don’t think they’re paying for these old accounts.
Number of reports per month per type. Source: Cointelegraph, BitcoinAbuse.com
No cooperation from Coinbase
Reed has been contacting exchanges asking them to use their database to prevent users from sending Bitcoins to the addresses of known scammers, but to no avail:
„We contacted Coinbase and a few other exchanges to ask them to do this. And the only response I got was from Coinbase saying: we’ll take a look. Let’s think about it. And there’s no confirmation or any indication that they’re actually doing this. „