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After being targeted by phishing attacks, Binance accounts lose nearly $450,000 to scammers

  • Scammers have stolen $446,835 from 11 Binance accounts in the last two weeks, Hong Kong police reports.
  • Attackers leveraged phishing text messages asking wallet holders to click links for identity verification.
  • Hong Kong police have urged investors to trade using licensed cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the region for better protection.
  • Only two cryptocurrency trading platforms – OSL Digital Securities Limited and Hash Blockchain Limited – have been licensed to serve.

Binance accounts have been victims of multiple phishing attacks over the past two weeks, with Hong Kong police reporting multiple cases and urging users to exercise caution.  It comes at a time when the crypto industry has witnessed multiple attacks of different demeanor, spanning from DNS attacks to hacks, with key personalities including Billionaire Mark Cuban also falling victim.   

Also Read: Galxe, Balancer DNS attacks reveals many crypto enterprises are vulnerable to subdomain/domain hijacking

Binance accounts lose HK$3.5 million

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Binance users in Hong Kong have reported losing a combined total sum of H$3.5 million (worth approximately $446,835 at current rates). According to local police, the 11 victims were enticed with phishing text messages, which they thought originated from Binance, the world’s largest crypto trading platform by trading volume.

Specifically, the messages asked the account holders to click on the link provided to verify their identity before a certain deadline. “[The fake message warned] their accounts will be disabled if the users fail to do so,” read the police report. Upon interacting with the links, the exploiter got details of the users, including passwords, and used them to steal virtual assets from the accounts.

The Hong Kong police have issued a warning on its CyberDefender Facebook page, reminding users of the need for vigilance.

Go for licensed crypto exchanges, Hong Kong police

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With these reports, the Hong Kong police have urged users to go for licensed crypto exchanges as they offer better protection. On this note, it is worth mentioning that only two crypto trading platforms have been licensed to serve Hong Kong retail customers since the new Securities and Futures Commission virtual asset rules were implemented on June 1. These are OSL Digital Securities Limited and Hash Blockchain Limited.

Further, the authorities have also encouraged the use of offline cold wallets, including external storage devices when large amounts of virtual assets are concerned, to limit the risks of hacking attacks. More on precaution, the police encouraged Hong Kongers to leverage the force’s Scameter search engine, which is available for public use on the CyberDefender website. This tool checks for scams by providing data useful in identifying “suspicious web addresses, emails, platform usernames, bank accounts, and mobile phone numbers or IP addresses.”

As a side note, the Hong Kong police handled almost 20,000 fraud cases in the first half (H1) of 2023, representing a 52% increase from what was indicated in H1 of 2022. The total value of losses in 2023 has reached HK$2.69 billion (approximately $345.5 million), representing a 28% increase from 2022’s HK$2.1 billion, or $268.17 million.

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