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FBI alarms crypto victims as scammers impersonate venture capital executives on Telegram

fbi-alarms-crypto-victims-as-scammers-impersonate-venture-capital-executives-on-telegram
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FBI alarms crypto victims as scammers impersonate venture capital executives on Telegram

Malicious actors have started targeting crypto victims on Telegram, luring them to believe they’re dealing with venture capital investors.

Crypto scammers are distributing a malicious software impersonating legitimate venture capital (VC) investors on Telegram.

In an X post on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, Alexandre Masmejean, CEO of Showtime, a crypto marketplace for creators, said he was contacted by FBI agents from the Los Angeles department by phone, who strongly encouraged him to “turn off my WiFi, rotate my wallets, change all my passwords, move my files to a hard drive and entirely wipe out my compromised MacBook.”

Having verified the callers’ identification with the FBI Los Angeles office, Masmejean said he realized his computer was compromised after he downloaded a software shared in a form of a video link from a scammer on Telegram, who impersonated Chao Deng, Head of HashKey Singapore Group.

“I somehow remembered that fund name and thought nothing more of it. Long story short, that impersonator refused to join my Google Meet and proposed me to chat via a VPN-friendly “alternative” video link, which contained a script that I ran, like an idiot, in an effort to not be late.”

Alexandre Masmejean

The Showtime CEO alleges the FBI likely managed to identify him, given that all the data on his laptop were compromised. Masmejean noted though he had lost nothing as most of his funds are stored in hardware wallets.

In late Nov. 2023, crypto.news reported that fraudsters are now using a new social engineering attack, pretending to be VC firms in an effort to steal data and crypto.

Electric Capital Co-Founder Avichal Garg warned the crypto community about the new method, saying scammers are setting up meetings, and “asking people to send them money before investing.” The Electric Capital head emphasized that the Palo Alto-headquartered firm “will never ask you to send money before receiving an investment.”