Ethereum Scam Targets South Korean Crypto Community with Phishing Texts

Key Insights:

  • South Korean crypto users receive phishing texts claiming their Ethereum will be burned on May 22 if they don’t act fast.
  • Scammers impersonate a global cryptocurrency exchange, urging users to withdraw funds to avoid losing them.
  • Authorities report a rise in virtual asset-related cybercrimes, emphasizing sophisticated methods like using daepo phones and phishing attacks.
Ethereum Scam Targets South Korean Crypto Community with Phishing Texts
Ethereum Scam Targets South Korean Crypto Community with Phishing Texts

South Korean crypto users are facing a new Ethereum-themed phishing scam. On May 21, token holders reported receiving alarming text messages claiming their ETH coins would be “burned” on May 22 if they did not act quickly.

According to the South Korean media outlet Asia Time, the scammers send text messages to smartphone users, warning them about the imminent burn of their Ethereum holdings. These messages urge recipients to take immediate action to safeguard their funds.

Phishing Messages from Bogus Exchanges

The scam involves phishing text messages claiming to originate from a ” cryptocurrency exchange” named Bit-Finance. The messages warn recipients that due to their “long-term inactivity,” their Ethereum holdings will be burned on May 22. The message urges crypto holders to make withdrawals as soon as possible to avoid losing their funds, prompting them to click on a link for further instructions.

Community members have taken to online forums to alert fellow token holders about the circulating phishing messages. One post warned, “You could easily fall for it, so be careful.” Others cautioned that scammers are using technology that allows their messages to bypass spam filters, increasing the risk of users falling victim to the scam.

This scam comes amid a reported increase in cybercrime related to virtual assets in South Korea. Police and regulators have noted a rise in such activities, with the National Police Agency reporting 167,688 cyber fraud cases in the previous year, a 7.68% increase from 2022. Crimes involving virtual assets accounted for 38.3% of the total cases in 2023.

Citizens have also filed 2,209 reports with the Financial Supervisory Service from January to April this year, claiming financial losses due to crypto scams. The regulator highlighted that 17.7% of these cases were related to phishing attacks, emphasizing that crypto-themed phishing is rampant in South Korea.

Authorities and Community Efforts to Combat Fraud

The South Korean police and regulators are actively working to combat this growing threat. An official from the Cyber Investigation Unit at the National Police Agency explained that fraudsters are increasingly using sophisticated methods, such as daepo phones, cell phone numbers created using stolen identity credentials, and popular chat apps like KakaoTalk and Telegram.

“Recently, fraud has become more sophisticated. There has been an increase in virtual asset-related crimes using daepo phones and chat apps. However, we are fighting back. We are using investigation methods that track the flow of transactions,” the official stated.

In recent months, South Korean crypto markets have seen increased activity spurred by many exchanges offering commission-free trading. Unfortunately, this surge in transaction volumes has led to a rise in phishing attacks as scammers seek to exploit the growing interest in cryptocurrency.

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