Crypto Cons: Scammers Make a Killing off War in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine is a global tragedy that has taken thousands of lives, with no end in sight. But for various groups of high-tech scammers, the grisly conflict has been a goldmine.

With over $900 million raised by Ukraine and Ukrainian charities since Russia’s February 24 invasion began, fraudsters from around the world have been looking hungrily at the money flowing in. They want to get their hands on it, and they have been doing their best to do just that.

Digital identity theft, widespread fraudulent email campaigns, and clever cryptocurrency cash grabs have fooled thousands of people around the world into giving their hard-earned money to con artists, convinced they were aiding Ukraine’s efforts against Russia.

First, there are the predictable scams: fake pages on social media pretending to be the Red Cross and other legitimate aid organizations, routine malicious spam and phishing cons, as well as the hacking and cloning of legitimate fundraising accounts on Twitter and Instagram to redirect funds to fraudsters.

Then there are fake crowdfunding pages that try to profit off of legitimate deaths and attacks, direct phone calls pleading for money for Ukrainians displaced or wounded by the war, fake web pages set up claiming to be from victims of the war, and much more.

The scams then range into the more advanced category, with scammers pretending to represent cryptocurrency exchanges that want to send funds to Ukraine or claiming to be collecting crypto to send to the besieged country. It is true that Ukraine’s government has raised over $100 million via crypto, soliciting donations for Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Tether since early on in the conflict. At the same time, scammers have been hard at work making sure people who thought they were sending crypto to aid the war effort actually sent it to their pockets. By mid-April, experts had already identified around 2.8 million fraudulent emails and crypto scams related to the Russo-Ukrainian War.

One example…


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