Sharp Rise in Dating App-based Crypto Mining Scams in South Korea
There has been a rise in scams that use dating apps to lure victims onto bogus crypto mining platforms, a South Korean security provider has claimed.
Per EDaily, the claims were made by the regulation technology developer and security provider Uppsala Security. The firm said that scammers are now posing as lonely hearts on dating apps – and prey on unsuspecting victims by trying to lure them onto fake crypto mining platforms.
When they visit these platforms, the victims are promised that they can expect to make huge financial profits – paid weekly or monthly – if they invest their funds in crypto-mining hardware.
The hardware, the victims are told, will be housed in special overseas data centers, where they will operate and generate “guaranteed” profits.
Fraudsters tell their victims that they have personally made large amounts of money using these mining programs. And, they claim, with the money they raise “together,” they will be able to live happy lives filled with luxury.
But, almost inevitably, after making a few modest payouts – usually designed to convince the victim that they should increase the size of their initial stakes – the fraudsters vanish with the victim’s money or crypto.
The security provider claimed that almost a third of all the crypto fraud-related crimes reported in South Korea now originate from dating apps. The company said dating app-powered crypto fraud had risen 10% in 2022.
Often, it is the fraudster who initiates contact “under the pretext” of “dating or marriage,” the firm noted.
The firm added that security breaches leading to the compromise of private keys were responsible for 22% of crypto fraud cases. Bogus initial coin offerings (ICOs) and fraudulent “crypto study” social media group chats or channels represented a combined total of 17% of cases.
The provider also stated that the majority (almost a third) of the scams involved Ethereum (ETH). Ethereum-based ERC-20 coins represented almost 30%, meanwhile, with Bitcoin (BTC) scams only accounting for 17%.
The provider took its data from a survey of 500 crypto fraud cases.
New Tactics: How Dating App Crypto Fraudsters Dupe their Victims
An Uppsala Security researcher was quoted as explaining:
“Romance-themed scams used to revolve around trying to persuade [dating app users] to make investments in a [bogus] coin. But recently that has changed into romance scams that attempt use crypto mining profits as bait. The goal is to convince victims to join a [fake] mining program.”
Last year, a woman was jailed for five years after she was convicted of drugging a man she met on a dating app – and stealing $87,000 worth of crypto from his wallet.
In December last year, a Japanese man lost “more than $90,000” to a “foreign woman” who he also met via a dating app. The woman convinced him to make a number of “crypto investments” – but vanished shortly after.