Thursday, November 14, 2019

Scammers Pose as CIA Agents to Steal Bitcoins

Grace Joseph
Freelance Writer, Blogger, and Crypto Enthusiast. Studied Computer Science in University and Undergoing a Masters Degree Programme in Computer Engineering [email protected] [email protected]

Fake Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents are now parading to steal Bitcoin from unsuspecting people. In a letter emailed to one of the victims, they were asked to send Bitcoin to a specified address in order for their details to be removed from a list of suspected Pedophilia in 27 countries.

Content of the Message Impersonating the CIA

A Redditor recently published a snapshot of an email they had received which masquerades as one sent by the CIA. According to the content of the message, Hong Lees, a technical collection officer working for the CIA has stumbled on case #97416285.

Case #97416285 is an international operation that is set to arrest 2,000 people in 27 countries by April 8, 2019. These are people who have gotten materials that promote sexual abuse in children. The case also comprises of their details including their email address, home and work address, and information about their relatives.

Criminals Discovered Through Internet Search History

Furthermore, the alleged criminals have been discovered based on their web browser search history, nature of their chats in online forums, DNS queries and connection logs, as well as social media activity log. Accordingly, the recipient of the message was one of those whose details is on the list.

The impersonating CIA officer went ahead to request for $10,000 (2.5 BTC) from the recipient stating that they (Hong Lees) have enough security clearance and as such can wipe their details from the file. They added that the payment has to be made before March 27 in order to give them enough time to access the system where the data is stored in order to remove it.

Bitcoin Address in Message Differs Per Individual

The Bitcoin address attached to the message differs per individual and it is uncertain if anyone fell to the scam. It is worthy to note that the means of payment were explicitly defined and the suggested use of the Bitcoin network in order to ensure faster delivery.

A scam of this nature is also not the first of its kind and it has the same reason others do. For instance, part of the message read: “I know you are a wealthy person who may be concerned about your reputation.”

The latter ploy, known as ‘sextortion’ has been used to solicit funds from people, giving them the impression that the attacker has a video of them visiting sites promoting adult content. The major targets are high income earners and a report from Digital Shadows revealed that a victim may be willing to pay as high as $768,000 a year in order to appease a blackmailer.

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