Venezuelan gets ripped off and loses over $700,000 in bitcoin
I fell for being innocent: I lost my bitcoins to a pishing using the image of the Binance CEO
A con man posed as Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao on Instagram.
Over $700,000 was stolen through the fraud.
José Ramón Armas is a 29-year-old Venezuelan who has been living in Florida, USA, for some time now, where he lives with his family. The economic situation of his country forced him to emigrate about 2 years ago. As a trader, he regularly buys and sells financial assets, managing to profit from the operations. Recently, however, he was the victim of a pishing scam that took all his funds, some 91.57 bitcoins, approximately USD 739,000 at the time of writing.
Armas told CriptoNoticias about his experience, how he fell prey to one of the most used methods by cybercriminals to defraud and obtain confidential information in a fraudulent way. At the same time, she pointed out that her story could be valuable in alerting others, who should also know the importance of implementing techniques to protect themselves.
Who could have imagined that a photo posted on Instagram could capture the attention of Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao himself? The truth is that this is what happened to Jose Ramon Armas, whose excitement at having a conversation with the founder of one of the world's leading currency exchange houses, blinded him in such a way that he forgot to take all the precautions that would have saved him tears for losing all his funds, product of the study and time dedicated to take advantage of the fluctuation of the bitcoin market.
Excited by the creativity of his son, who is beginning to demonstrate business skills, Armas published in his Instagram story a photo of his little boy, who at just 9 years old, set up a lemonade and cookie sale receiving bitcoins as payment. The photo was commented on by family and friends who applauded the boy's entrepreneurial attitude: "like father, like son", wrote one person, referring to the popular saying used when a child shows similar aspects to his parents.
The excited father also received a reaction from an Instagram account identified with the name of the renowned Changpeng Zhao, who barely answered the story with an emoticon that expressed applause. Observing the reaction of the alleged CZ, Armas asked him to comment on the photo posted on his profile, which he agreed to. "Future. Slowly but surely," he wrote in a commentary that he apparently erased but Jose Armas managed to capture in an image. The two later had a conversation that revolved around Binance. Armas pointed out that he had been a user of the exchange house for two years and gradually became more confident and agreed to answer all the questions asked by the alleged Changpeng Zhao.
Armas had received a link to download an application after the alleged CZ told him they were thinking of including that project in Binance. Even Jose hesitated and asked if it was cloud mining or if he could receive refunds with his currency movements. The answer he received was that it was a direct job with Binance, LocalBitcoin, Coinbase, Huobi and Blockchain, something he found reliable.
What Armas did not realize is that CZ does not seem to have Instagram, because although there are several accounts in his name, none are verified, which is the mechanism Instagram uses to confirm that the account of a public figure, brand or celebrity is authentic.
What can you do to avoid becoming a victim?
Pishing basically consists of creating web pages and emails with identical format, logos and images as those of real organizations and companies in order to request (and steal) users' credentials, which in many cases also involves stealing their funds. In this case, an Instagram account identified with the name Chang Peng Zhao shared a link to hack, by means of pishing, the computers that allowed him to access the wallets in which the funds were deposited in bitcoins.
The golden rules to avoid pishing that could take away your funds in bitcoins or other crypto currencies, start by never giving out personal data that has been requested by email or social networks, much less clicking links that could download malware aimed at stealing passwords and other personal information. If you suspect you have been a victim of phishing, change all your passwords immediately.
If you doubt the veracity of the email or the shared link, never click. If you receive a phishing email, ignore it and never respond to it, don't put your bitcoins at risk. Also check that the web pages you have entered correspond to a secure address. Make sure you always type the address of the website you want to visit correctly, as there are hundreds of attempts to trick the most popular pages by just one or two letters.
Keep in mind that crypto currencies make excellent bait for hackers around the world, who have no doubt found various methods to be able to steal a few crypto actives without having to leave home. Check out other methods that hackers can use and how you can defend yourself.
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