Alexandre Masmejean, CEO of Showtime, a crypto marketplace for creators, said in an X post on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, that he was contacted by FBI agents from the Los Angeles department by phone, who strongly advised him to turn off his WiFi, rotate his wallets, change all his passwords, move all files to a hard drive, and entirely wipe out his compromised MacBook.
I was the target of Asian cybercriminals who got a malware running on my computer, I was told [by the FBI], and was strongly encouraged to turn off my WiFi, rotate my wallets, change all my passwords, move my files to a hard drive and entirely wipe out my compromised MacBook.Alexandre Masmejean
FBI comes through for a distressed crypto trader
As the allure of decentralized platforms and blockchain-based financial instruments grows, so does the ingenuity of malicious actors seeking to exploit the vulnerabilities within this burgeoning ecosystem. But the FBI, was at watch this time around.
Masmejean stated he realized his computer had been hacked after downloading software supplied in the form of a video link from a fraudster on Telegram impersonating Chao Deng, Head of HashKey Singapore Group, after verifying the callers’ identity with the FBI Los Angeles office.
Three weeks prior to this call, a Telegram user “Chao Deng” “@/chaodeng” claiming to be from the known fund Hashkey signaled interested in investing in Showtime. I somehow remembered that fund name and thought nothing more of it.
Long story short, that impersonator refused to join my Google Meet and proposed me to chat via a VPN-friendly “alternative” video link, which contained a script that I ran, like an idiot, in an effort to not be late.Alexandre Masmejean
According to recent reports, scammers are increasingly attempting to steal data and crypto by posing as venture capital firms.
Avichal Garg, co-founder of Electric Capital, warned the crypto community about the new strategy, claiming that scammers are organizing meetings and “asking people to send them money before investing.” The CEO of Electric Capital emphasized that the Palo Alto-based company “will never ask you to send money before receiving an investment.”
Alexandre Masmejean has also echoed this sound advice:
I also warned by another technical figure in crypto that beyond money, I should assume all of my data has been compromised, which is how the FBI identified me. The agents say hackers may contact my family, colleagues and friends, and I should warn everyone, which is why I’m writing this post.Alexandre Masmejean
Telegram crypto scams
Telegram, one of the most popular messaging services in the world, is frequently used in the crypto field because to its privacy protections and rich community features such as channels and groups. However, because of its broad reach, it has become a target for scammers looking to steal personal or financial information from unsuspecting users.
Scammers have spread so widely on Telegram that becoming a victim of at least one is nearly unavoidable. While their deceptive promises may appear alluring, anything that appears to be too good to be true usually suggests a fraud.
After impersonification — fake admin accounts discussed above, the industry is left to deal with:
Crypto Giveaways – Scammers frequently use fake Telegram giveaways to dupe users. They pose as representatives from crypto exchanges and demand banking information, personal information, wallet access, or a fee. Remember that true giveaways always necessitate some form of activity on your part. If you did not enter a giveaway, it is most likely a sham.
Phishing with Telegram bots – Telegram bots use natural language processing and artificial intelligence to have realistic conversations. They can be very persuasive, making it difficult to tell if you are being duped. Bots are used by hackers to contact consumers and encourage them to provide personal information, bank account logins, passwords, and even two-factor authentication (2FA) tokens.
Fake Telegram channels and groups – Scammers frequently create fake Telegram channels that resemble trustworthy crypto project channels. They use names, profile images, and pinned messages that are identical to the actual ones, and their administrators have usernames that are quite similar to the real ones. These channels are typically configured to “broadcast only,” which means that users cannot send messages in the conversation.
These accounts frequently promote giveaways, prizes, pre-launch token sales, and other fraudulent offerings.