Cryptocurrency scammers, who search for unsuspecting victims on various social media platforms, are now extending their reach to the Google search engine. Taking advantage of people’s tendency to interact with ads on Google, these scammers are now exploiting the popular search engine to facilitate their own malicious crimes. This week, an individual lost $900,000 through an ad fraud scam, Web3 tracking tool Scam Sniffer identified recently. The incident has raised alarm bells and further analysis of the subject has revealed shocking details.
A network researcher, @0xngmi on X, has issued a warning about crypto criminals scamming people using legitimate websites on Google. 0xngmi is a researcher at Web3 DeFiLlama.
These cybercriminals buy ads for real websites on Google. When potential victims interact with the links, they are sent to “kochava.com”, an ad network that then redirects users to fabricated phishing websites.
The researcher posted a screenshot on X showing how the DeFiLlama website was copied by imitators. The phishing site is identified by the “Sponsored” tag displayed above the site, as seen in the screenshot from 0xngmi. DeFiLlama has repeatedly reported advertising and ad networks to Google. “But Google has taken no action,” the researcher posted in his X section. The search engine giant has yet to address those concerns.
However, for others in the crypto community, 0xngmi suggests installing an ad blocker to prevent users from being exposed to shady ads.
ScamSniffer said in a recent report that crypto investors have lost up to $4 million by participating in prank links that have been spread all over the web. In October 2022, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao criticized Google for not removing fraudulent websites from search results, exposing people to financial abuse on a daily basis.
Despite repeated complaints, Google has yet to issue a statement or resolve the concerns.