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The scammer emulates an SMS identifier to steal money from the Bitcoin user

June 3, 2020

A Bitcoin Peer-to-Peer (BTC) operation performed on the HodlHodl platform has failed. because a fraudster apparently used a SIM spoofing attack to make the seller believe that he would receive the money.

The episode was reported on June 2 by a Reddit user named Gandeloft. According to the victim, he wanted to withdraw his $ 0.1777 BTC Bitcoin savings of $ 1677 at press time. Via the HodlHodl platform, he found a dealer who was willing to offer 1650 euros or 1848 USD for bitcoins. This seems to have been higher than the current market price at this point in time as Bitcoin suddenly saw a price drop, with gains reversed less than 24 hours earlier.

The buyer offered to use the Revolut app to process the deal and asked for the victim’s phone number to make the payment. The victim later received a realistic text message, allegedly from Revolut, that the transmission was pending and would be effective in a few hours due to the “location difference”.

The scammer emulates an SMS identifier to steal money from the Bitcoin userThe scammer emulates an SMS identifier to steal money from the Bitcoin user

At first glance, the message came from the same identifier that sent two-factor authentication codes so that it appears real. While the user did not see the money in the Revolut app, the fraudster successfully pressured the victim to release his BTC from the escrow.

The victim informed Cointelegraph that Revolut had confirmed that the SMS was not from them, while the trading platform HodlHodl refused to provide additional data that could help catch the author. According to the victim, the platform replied, “We do not provide information about our users. You can contact your bank and find out all the details.” In this case, however, no bankable transactions were actually carried out.

Cointelegraph asked Revolut and HodlHodl for comments, but received no immediate response.

SIM-based attacks are becoming more common

Phishing attacks are generally easy to spot, but being able to fake official addresses can make them more credible. SIM spoofing is relatively easy to do and very difficult to discover, although the details vary from country to country. However, traders can understand the true origin of fake SMS.

Mobile networks are also susceptible to more serious attacks known as SIM exchanges. This can be accomplished by enticing customer support to exchange phone numbers with another provider, although there are several other methods.

Credit provider BlockFi recently suffered a data breach in which an employee’s phone number was changed to access internal records.

Exchange users have also been the target of such attacks over the years. A high profile case resulted in a suspected loss of $ 24 million as a result of a SIM exchange carried out on the ATT network.