Scammers and impostors are trying to take advantage of the horrific war unfolding in Ukraine by tricking unsuspecting crypto users wishing to help the country through donations. Avast, ESAT, & BleeingComputer are working to identify and root out fakers.
These individuals and groups seem to be using any available means, including phishing webpages, forum posts, email links, and fake crypto donation addresses shared via social platforms to entice users to “help Ukraine” by donating digital assets.
Cybersecurity companies and consumer experts have identified a number of such scams.
For one, BleepingComputer has gained access to a number of phishing emails that appear to originate from official sources like npr.org or the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian (OCHA) domains.
The technology news outlet has also come across several forum posts trying to trick users by publishing fake crypto donation addresses.
“The attack on Ukraine brings a lot of trouble and death in our families! Fundraising to provide targeted assistance to those in need, regardless of their gender, age, citizenship,” reads one forum post. “Many people need food and clothes, someone is sleeping on the street!! Remember, every penny and every minute can save a life!”
The outlet has also spotted some dubious donation sites, one of which is UkraineGlobalAid.com, a legit-looking website that encourages donation but is filled with broken links. Notably, the website’s social media links are empty.
Prior to this, the blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, which is reporting Ukraine’s crypto donations, has warned about such scams.
“Scammers also appear to be taking advantage of the current situation by tricking unsuspecting users wishing to donate to Ukrainian causes,” the company said. “Elliptic has identified a number of fraudulent crypto fundraising scams which are exploiting the current situation.”
Furthermore, major cybersecurity company Avast also warned users of crypto scams trying to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine in a recent blog post.
“Avast security experts have detected scammers pretending to be Ukrainian nationals affected by the current conflict asking for Bitcoin on social media,” the firm said.
Avast mentioned that there have been similar scams in the past, adding that “these attackers do not operate ethically” and exploit each opportunity to get money out of other people.
However, many scammers are not particularly hard to spot as their accounts are largely bogus (usernames consist of letters and numbers with no profile picture or meaningful bio). Furthermore, they immediately mention crypto donations and share their addresses.
Security research firm ESET has also identified several examples of crypto scams trying to exploit the situation in Ukraine. The firm has shared two websites (help-for-ukraine.eu and tokenukraine.com) which are considered to be phishing attempts.
Additionally, there has been a lot of talk over the past couple of days about the incoming airdrop by the Ukrainian government for crypto donors. And while the airdrop itself is confirmed, nothing surrounding it is. This is a breeding ground for scammers.
Etherscan shows that 7bn of so-called Peaceful World (WORLD) tokens have been created on March 2, and sent to Ukraine’s crypto donation address. At this point, it’s important to note that, while many speculate this may be the airdrop in question, nothing related to it has been officially confirmed.
However, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation Mikhail Fedorov stated today that the airdrop has been canceled, as well as that there will be non-fungible tokens (NFTs) announced soon to support the Armed Forces.
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