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Home » Cyber Security News » CloudSEK uncovers sophisticated scam network targeting India & beyond – ET CISO

CloudSEK uncovers sophisticated scam network targeting India & beyond – ET CISO

CloudSEK uncovers sophisticated scam network targeting India & beyond – ET CISO,imgsize-34770,width-1200,height=765,overlay-etciso/cybercrime-fraud/cloudsek-uncovers-sophisticated-scam-network-targeting-india-beyond.jpg

<p>Representative Image</p>
Representative Image

CloudSEK, a leading threat intelligence firm, has released an extensive report detailing the alarming rise of investment scams in India peddled through social media messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram.

Since the beginning of 2024, CloudSEK has identified a massive volume of malicious content on social media and messaging platforms. Findings reveal over 29,000 malicious investment advertisements on Facebook along with a staggering 81,000 fake investment WhatsApp groups. Additionally, the report highlights the troubling tactic of impersonation, with 81,000 Twitter accounts masquerading as known financial institutions to lend legitimacy to these scams.

The detailed report uncovers sophisticated tactics used by fraudsters who impersonate reputed financial institutions and professionals to lure unsuspecting investors into fake investment groups, promising quick and substantial returns. The scam operation involves stolen data, fake profiles, and rigged trading platforms to steal money from unsuspecting victims. (For More Information, Read Full Report)

Key Highlights from the Report:

  1. Targeted countries:
    • India, Malaysia, USA, Thailand, and Vietnam are the primary targets of these investment scams.
  2. Data purchase price:
    • Scammers purchase personal data at $100 for 10,000 lines of data containing phone numbers and names.
  3. Data payment range:
    • Scammers offer between 10,000 USDT to 30,000 USDT for a single site’s data.
  4. The scale of operation:
    • Since January 2024 – Over 29,000 malicious Facebook ads have been found
    • Over 81,000 fraudulent investment scheme WhatsApp groups were found.
    • More than 81,000 fake profiles were identified on Twitter misusing the name of financial institutions.
    • Estimated monthly consumer loss of $50,000 (over Rs 41 Lakh) from one scam operation.

Modus operandi:
The report details a well-organized structure where criminals purchase hacked stock trading data from brokers who source it from underground forums. These brokers sell the data to organized crime groups that operate large-scale trading scams. The crime groups employ handlers and actors to execute scams, posing as successful investors and using social media platforms to lure victims into WhatsApp groups.Within these groups, scammers manipulate victims by providing fake proof of earnings and promising high returns. They then disappear with the investments, leaving victims with significant financial losses. (For More Information, Read Full Report)

Types of Trading Scams:

  1. Crypto scams:
    • Victims are persuaded to invest in cryptocurrency through fake investment websites.
  2. Stock trading scams:
    • Victims are encouraged to invest in stocks with false promises of high returns.

Data acquisition & initial contact:
Scammers acquire data through various methods, including targeted social media ads, unsolicited direct messages, fake investment groups, and SMS invites. They often impersonate real financial advisors and organizations to build credibility and trust.Social engineering tactics:
Scammers use pre-scripted messages, fake training setups, and strategic group chat management to maintain control and manipulate victims. They exploit psychological pressure tactics, creating urgency and fear of missing out (FOMO) to push victims into investing more.

Detailed breakdown of scamming tactics:

  1. Impersonation:
    • Scammers create fake profiles or accounts mimicking real financial advisors, firms, or regulatory bodies like SEBI.
    • They steal real contact information and credentials to build trust with victims.
  2. Group Chat Management:
    • Multiple WhatsApp groups are created to manage a larger pool of victims.
    • Teams manage these groups with members playing specific roles such as impersonators, hype creators, and affiliates.
  3. Fake Training Setups:
    • Scammers create web applications that mimic live training platforms with scripted interactions.
    • They use legitimate trading training videos repurposed to appear as part of their scam training.
  4. Rigged Trading Platforms:
    • Scammers design fraudulent apps to mimic genuine trading platforms.
    • The apps show fake profits to encourage further investments but ultimately block withdrawals. (For More Information, Read Full Report)

CloudSEK’s report highlights the critical need for increased vigilance and awareness among investors to recognize and avoid these sophisticated scams. The detailed findings aim to inform and protect potential victims from falling prey to such fraudulent activities.

  • Published On Jul 2, 2024 at 01:43 PM IST

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