Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, recently offered to assist a victim of scammers, who lost his life savings, held in BTC. CZ reached out to Eric Savics, a podcast host after he revealed scammers had made away with $113,000 worth of BTC via a fake Google Chrome store app.
The Plea for Help
Shortly after discovering he had been conned, Eric Savics took to twitter where he posted a heartfelt video. He explained that he lost 12 BTC, which is worth around $113,000 at current prices. According to him, the scammers managed to get hold of his crypto via a hard wallet phishing attack. Malware that was baked into the fake app asked for his seed phrase. The excuse was that his KeepKey firmware needed to be upgraded. As soon as he provided the seed phrase, the coins were moved out of his wallet into a single address.
Once CZ, the Binance CEO, became aware of the issue, he offered to blacklist the destination address where the crypto was sent. Soon after, Fanny Scott, the CEO of CoinCorner, a crypto exchange based in the UK, offered similar assistance. He said that the exchange was going to block the address associated with the transfer.
How He Lost His Coins
According to Savics, he mistakenly downloaded a malware-infested version of the KeepKey BTC wallet app. He thought he was downloading a corresponding app to his hardware wallet. However, it was a scam. The app was on the Google Chrome store and he was asked for the recovery seed phrase. As soon as he provided it, the BTC disappeared from his wallet.
Savics admitted that he was not a tech-savvy person and he should not have fallen for the elaborate scam. He then proceeded to request the scammers to give him some of his crypto back. According to him, he had been saving the crypto since 2013 and he had been close to achieving the goal of owning his own apartment before he lost it all.
Fake apps targeting the crypto sector are an ongoing problem. For instance, Google was forced to take down 49 fake Chrome extensions in April. According to an exclusive report by ZDNet, the fake extensions were infected with malware and they were targeted at crypto wallet users to steal their keys. A few days before the theft, ShapeShift, which owns the KeepKey wallet, issued a warning to users. The warning stated that fake apps were targeting KeepKey crypto wallets.
How the Crypto Community Reacted
When the two crypto exchange CEOs announced their decisions, some were not happy. They deemed the move as authoritarian and centralized control, similar to what happens in the fiat world. Others were touched by the news and they offered to donate crypto to Savics.
Due to the fragmented nature of the crypto sector, it is unlikely the scammers will be found. There are numerous avenues, including the dark web, where they can clean their stolen BTC. However, it should serve as a warning to those in the crypto sector. For one, if you have a lot of BTC, you should avoid storing all of it in a single wallet. Additionally, you should never enter your seed phrase into a web browser for any reason.
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