The Bitcoin Foundation has issued a fraud alert over fake websites that are attempting to steal innocent visitors’ bitcoin.
The bitcoin advocacy organisation said in a statement that it knows of two cloned websites, bitcoincompensation.com and bitsecuretransfer.com, which are cloning the legitimate Bitcoin Foundation site and spoofing web addresses and domains.
“Neither of these domains have anything to do with the Bitcoin Foundation,” the foundation stressed.
How the scam works
Bitcoiners are directed to a fake page that looks like the legitimate Bitcoin Foundation website, where they are asked to submit their bitcoin address in order to receive a “gift” or compensation for losses incurred by the bitcoin price slump.
CoinDesk used a dummy bitcoin address to find out what happens next.
Firstly, the site brings up a notification that the user has won a certain amount of bitcoin, in our case 17.4439042675 BTC. They are then asked to “login with Blockchain”.
The site then forwards visitors to a site (blockchcain.com) that mimics that of bitcoin wallet and data provider Blockchain. Users attempting to log in and redeem their ‘free’ bitcoin will actually be giving their password to the scammers.
It is worth noting, however, that the text on the fake Bitcoin foundation site is poorly written and likely not the work of a native English speaker. This makes it simpler for visitors to identify the site as a scam.
Appeal for vigilance
The Bitcoin Foundation urges users to report other similar sites they may come across to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line “SCAM SITE” and also suggests there may be fake sites in languages other than English.
The foundation said:
“We are taking steps available to us to help remove these offending websites from the Internet. While we only know of the two, we are continuing to monitor any other additional scam sites.”
This is merely one in a long list of bitcoin scams, but what makes these sites notable is the sheer audacity of the perpetrators, who are trying to pass themselves off as some of the biggest names in bitcoin.
See CoinDesk’s guide on how to avoid phishing scams here.
Scam alert image via Shutterstock