Published: December 07, 2021 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.
Scammers are at it again targeting the lovelorn by taking advantage of users. And of course, they are doing it in the most romantic way. They’re using a romance scam to coerce cryptocurrency payments and not to try to control hearts, but to try to assume remote control of devices. The European Union’s Interpol agency warned of an uptick in investment-based romance fraud taking place across dating apps earlier this year. Just recently, the FBI in the U.S. also issued a warning of romance scams involving investments, particularly with regard to cryptocurrency.
Who would do such a thing?
In this case, the scam artists, referred as CryptoRom by Sophos, target iPhone users who employ dating apps including, but certainly not limited to, Tinder and Bumble to help them in their quest for companionship. In this case, it appears to be a special gift for iPhone users, but do not count on it not working for Android and other devices soon, if it doesn’t already.
How it works
Scammers lure their matches on the dating platforms into downloading a fake cryptocurrency trading app. Once that is done, it gives hackers remote control of their devices. It’s that simple.
The app is downloaded from a fraudulent website that’s designed to look and feel like a legitimate app store, so people are tricked into thinking they’re downloading from a safe source. Then, victims are asked to purchase cryptocurrency through the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, and subsequently transfer the funds to a wallet via the fake trading app.
How to avoid the heartbreak
Cybersecurity advice columnists give the same recommendations to avoid being lost in love. Look for it in the right places, but not by sideloading apps. In other words, stick to the official stores like Google Play and the App Store. Apps downloaded from official stores have been through additional security checks to provide more protection from viruses and malware. If they are not from these stores, there is a more likely chance they can and will break your heart...and your smartphone.
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