According to a report, the US anti-drug agency DEA has been taken in by cryptocurrency scammers. The authorities allowed themselves to be deceived and transferred confiscated tether tokens worth around 55,000 US dollars to an address controlled by cybercrooks – probably believing it was an address owned by the US Marshals Service, such as the US Forbes magazine writes.
The money came from a seizure of $500,000 in Tether tokens by the DEA in May, according to the Forbes report. The crypto coins should then probably be transferred from DEA addresses to the US Marshals Service according to confiscation procedures. The fraudsters must have observed a first test transaction by the DEA worth 45 US dollars on the blockchain and then decided to strike with an airdrop scam or address poisoning.
Wrong address given
Airdrops are actually a harmless cryptocurrency feature that creates new tokens and credits addresses. However, fraudsters now like to use the function to make bait offers via the tokens, which are intended to lead the unsuspecting token recipients to manipulated websites. Anyone who then surfs to such a website is then usually asked under pretense to connect their wallet – with the aim of plundering this digital wallet.
In this case, the cyber crooks had first generated a crypto money address that matched the first five and last four characters exactly to the US Marshal Service address to which the test transfer was made. Cryptocurrency addresses are usually longer strings of characters—too long for people to remember all of the characters. They are usually inserted with copy and paste. The scammers then generated a token for the DEA address that referenced their spoofed address, according to Forbes. Depending on the wallet software used, such an address could then be displayed as a “recent transaction” – and cause confusion with the proximity to the transfer to the Marshals Service.
The plan apparently worked: DEA employees sent $55,000 worth of cryptocurrency to the fraudster’s address. When the authorities noticed the error, they contacted the operators of the Tether token to obtain a block. However, the scammers had already exchanged the money for ether and moved it to other addresses, writes Forbes. The users behind it have not yet been determined. Further leads led to accounts with the cryptocurrency exchange Binance and associated Gmail addresses. Neither the DEA nor the FBI, which is now investigating the matter, commented on the case to US media.
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