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Scammers pilfered $55m from 40k victims in January alone, data shows

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Scammers pilfered $55m from 40k victims in January alone, data shows

Analysts at Scam Sniffer say bad actors stole $55 million worth of crypto and created over 11,000 phishing websites in January alone.

In an X thread on Feb. 9, Scam Sniffer revealed a trend observed in January, noting a rise in phishing attacks coinciding with heightened activity within crypto communities following a series of airdrops in the previous month.

🚨 ScamSniffer’s January Phishing Report 🚨

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in January, over $55M was stolen in phishing scams across EVM chains. Top 7 victims lost $17M!

— Scam Sniffer | Web3 Anti-Scam (@realScamSniffer) February 9, 2024

According to the data, scammers created over 11,400 phishing websites in January, impersonating Manta Network, Frame, SatoshiVM, AltLayer, Dymension, zkSync, Pyth, OpenSea, Optimism, Blast, and others. Apparently, their efforts paid off as cybercriminals pilfered nearly $55 million worth of crypto across Ethereum Virtual Machine-based networks, with the top seven victims losing $17 million.

“The majority of the thefts occurred on the Ethereum mainnet, followed by Arbitrum, BNB, Optimism, and Polygon.”

Scam Sniffer

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As per Scam Sniffer, a common method employed by hackers involved exploiting the ERC-20 Permit function, deceiving users into unwittingly transferring funds from their non-custodial wallets under the guise of legitimate operations.

Scammers pilfered $55m from 40k victims in January alone, data shows
Total crypto victims in January 2024 | Source: Dune

Additionally, perpetrators increasingly leveraged the increaseAllowance function, enabling them to manipulate token allowances granted to malicious smart contracts. Many people fell for scams because cybercriminals were actively posting fake comments on X pretending to be real projects like Optimism and zKSync, underscoring the persistent threat posed by fraudulent online presences.

As previously reported, illicit crypto addresses received over $24 billion worth of crypto in 2023, down from an estimated $39.6 billion in 2022. According to Chainalysis data, there has been a transition in the types of assets involved in crypto crime, with stablecoins now constituting the majority of illicit transaction volume.

Read more: Crypto hackers managed to steal $2b in 2023