Cybercriminals are now using fake rewards in so-called “play-to-win” mobile and online games to steal millions of cryptocurrency, according to an FBI warning Thursday.
To do so, they use custom-built gambling apps that promise huge financial rewards directly proportional to investments in potential targets with whom they have established a relationship of trust during long online conversations.
“Criminals contact victims online and build a relationship with victims over time,” the FBI said. said in a public service announcement issued through the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
“The criminals then present victims with an online or mobile game, in which players allegedly earn cryptocurrency rewards in exchange for certain activities, such as growing ‘crops’ on a bustling farm.”
To be able to participate in these big reward games, victims are asked to buy cryptocurrency and create a crypto wallet. The scammers tell them that the alleged rewards are higher the more funds the victim stores in this wallet.
Criminals will then tempt victims with fake rewards to trick them into depositing more and more funds, but will empty their wallets once the victim stops making deposits.
To make matters worse, scammers will tell victims that they can get their investment back by paying additional taxes or fees, but this is just a trick, with victims left empty-handed even after paying these fees. additional.
How to defend against these scams
Players are advised to remain vigilant and beware of unsolicited messages or game invitations promising unrealistic financial rewards.
You should never forget that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The FBI has shared the following tips to help potential targets defend themselves against such scams:
- If you want to participate in cryptocurrency-based games, create a unique wallet. This insulates your major cryptocurrency holdings if you unknowingly grant illicit actors access to your gaming wallet.
- Use a third-party blockchain explorer to independently verify your gaming wallet address balances.
- Periodically use a third-party token allocation checker to help you see which sites or apps you have inadvertently allowed to access your wallet funds and revoke those permissions.
The FBI urges all victims to report incidents through the Internet Crime Complaint Center to help stop these scams.
In October, the FBI also warned of an increase in “Pig Butchering” cryptocurrency scams stealing ever-increasing amounts of crypto from unsuspecting investors.
A previous FBI alert informed investors cybercriminals are using fraudulent cryptocurrency investment apps to target their funds.