Amid the criminals’ attempts to exploit people’s COVID-19 fears and convince them to download malicious apps or donate to charity impersonations, the pandemic seems to have driven a steep decline in the scammers’ revenue. Even those who purported to have coronavirus cures were also not lucky.
The mid-March crash in the crypto markets seems to have impacted every sector of the crypto space, including scammers.
COVID-19 Scams Are A Small Percentage of Crypto Criminal Activities
The report alleges that the total daily value of transfers heading to scam wallets plunged 61%; in two weeks after sitting at around $10,000 as of March 13 to March 31. The amount that was taken in by scams has since that time rebounded from approximately $5,000 to almost $7,000.
Based on the data, concerns related to COVID-19-themed scams have been overblown. Chainalysis noted that the vast majority of recently scammed crypto had been taken in by the investment of Ponzi schemes. That represents more than 95% of the combined sums taken in by crypto scams last year.
Email Scammers Thriving Amid Coronavirus Fears
Nevertheless, the firm has discovered a small resurgence in email scams. In most cases, the coronavirus pandemic is offering new narratives that the fraudsters are using; trying to trick their unsuspecting victims into providing access for their wallets. Others are trying to trick investors into sending crypto to them under pretenses.
In the previous week, Chainalysis noted an email scam that the criminals were using to impersonate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the email, criminals were requesting donations toward research into different types of COVID-19 treatments.
Blackmail Scams Taking New Forms
Chainalysis also highlighted the emergence of sinister blackmail schemes capitalizing on COVID-19. Unlike the typical blackmail schemes; where the scammers allege to have compromising information that they are ready to leak to family and friends if they are not compensated, upcoming scams have claimed to have originated from an individual confirmed to have COVID-19.
Unless some ransom is paid in cryptocurrency, the scammer threatens to spread the virus to the email recipient’s family and friends.