Internet users in Russia have been targeted in an email campaign advertising the launch of an alleged cryptocurrency issued by the state. Potential victims are encouraged to follow a link to the website of the fraudulent investment scheme, security experts said.
Thousands of Investment Offers Entice Russians to Put Money Into Non-Existent Cryptocurrency
Fraudsters have been sending emails to Russian residents claiming to be writing on behalf of a regulatory body about the upcoming launch of “the Russian state cryptocurrency,” the Tass news agency reported, quoting Kaspersky Lab.
“With such messages, attackers lure users to resources where they risk losing money,” the cybersecurity firm explained. Several thousands of these letters had been sent by the end of February, the anti-virus provider revealed.
The fraudulent emails claim that Russia is preparing to introduce a state-issued crypto and encourage recipients to follow a link to the website of the investment program for the coin. The site also presents a project purportedly developed by Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram, the most popular messenger in the crypto community.
The platform offers visitors a bogus chance to invest in the project and earn even more in the future. In reality, the deposits made by the victim go to the scammers. Investors would not get anything back and risk compromising confidential information shared with the website.
The anti-spam systems of Russian tech giant Mail.ru block over 200,000 emails from crypto-linked scams every day, according to the technical director of the group’s business unit. Around 15% of them are disguised as letters allegedly sent on behalf of regulators, Andrey Sumin detailed.
To avoid becoming victim to a fraud like these, experts recommend that users improve their digital literacy in the first place, use a security solution for their smartphone and PC, be careful with email content, and refrain from clicking on links from unknown sources or entering sensitive data on suspicious websites.
The Central Bank of Russia has been working on a project to issue a digital version of the nation fiat currency. The digital ruble will be the third form of Russian money besides cash and electronic bank money. It will be used for payments, not investments.
In February, the monetary authority announced it plans to start testing it with real users and transactions on April 1, aiming for a full launch in 2024. Russia has yet to comprehensively regulate decentralized cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.