Chainalysis: Cyber-Thieves Stole $225 Million in Crypto This Yearbr>
New York-based Chainalysis, a security firm that tracks digital transactions and provides anti-money laundering software, has claimed phishing scams on ethereum initial coin offerings amount to $225 million so far this year.
The firm, which is currently helping the Internal Revenue Service track bitcoin owners in an effort to identify tax cheats, claimed that investors are being tricked into sending cryptocurrency to spoofed Internet addresses that mirror sites offering legitimate initial coin offerings.
Chainalysis estimated more than 30,000 people have been duped by the efforts, losing an average of $7,500 each.
“It’s a huge amount of money to generate in such a short period of time,” said Jonathan Levin, co-founder of Chainalysis. “The cryptocurrency phishers are doing pretty good against all the other types of criminals that are out there.”
The firm estimated the cyber-crime breakdown as follows: 16,900 investors were victims of phishing, while 11,000 victims lost money because of exploits of the ICO system they were backing. Hackers accounted for 2,100 victims, while 260 people fell prey to Ponzi schemes, wherein early investors are paid off by subsequent money, resulting in a pyramid that usually collapses once the stakes reach a certain high-point.
The cyber-crime volume is approaching the totals of old-fashioned real-world robberies in the US, Chainalysis estimates, citing 2015 Federal Bureau of Investigation figures of $390 million in robberies.
The Chainalysis estimates were compiled by identifying ethereum digital wallets that were believed to be held by scammers. No bitcoin statistics were compiled.