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Have You Been Hit by the Coinbase Email Scam?

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If you’re into crypto, you’ve probably heard of Coinbase. This huge exchange has become a big name in the cryptocurrency industry, offering users the ability to buy, sell, and stake their holdings. But no industry is without its dark side, and Coinbase users have now become the target of a dangerous email-based scam. So, how does this scam work, and how can you steer clear?

Using Phishing to Swindle Victims

One of the most popular scams conducted via email is phishing. This involves the use of malicious links and websites to steal data from unsuspecting victims. It’s such a common technique that an astonishing 25 percent of all data breaches involve phishing. So it’s no surprise that scammers are using this method to con Coinbase users out of their private information.

It’s not uncommon for Coinbase to email its users about updates, account issues, or other developments, and this is why malicious parties are hiding behind such seemingly benign communications to scam their targets.

Coinbase phishing scams involve an attacker impersonating a Coinbase employee and asking a targeted user to provide certain information. This request will usually be accompanied by claims of an account issue. Scammers will often add a sense of urgency to the phishing emails they send victims to further persuade them to comply with instructions.

In the biggest phishing scam targeted at Coinbase, users were told that their account had been deactivated due to suspicious activity. To most individuals, an email like this would be concerning, as it may suggest someone else has gained access to your account without your permission. It’s this fear that plays to the scammer’s advantage.

With this kind of email will come a link which the target is told they must click on to sign into their account and reactivate it. However, in a phishing email, these links lead to malicious websites that are designed to steal the data you input. So, if you enter your login credentials into one of these dangerous sites, the attacker can then view and use them to hack into your Coinbase account.

As you may have already guessed, the objective of this venture is financial. If the victim is holding funds in their Coinbase account, and it is compromised, the attacker then has the chance to move those funds elsewhere. Such a scam could result in the loss of huge amounts of money.

In October 2021, The Ascent reported that over 6,000 Coinbase users lost funds from their accounts via phishing scams. These swindles can be surprisingly easy to fall for, so it’s important to know what you can do to steer clear of such threats. Now, let’s get into how you can protect yourself from Coinbase phishing scams, or and phishing scams in general.

How to Avoid Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are often conducted via email (though phishing can take place on social media and via SMS too), so it’s important to stay vigilant of the mail you receive, even if it looks harmless. There are a few signs that may indicate a given email is malicious, including an unusual sender address.

For example, if an email you’ve received has the address “[email protected]” instead of “[email protected]”, you’re probably dealing with a malicious party. Scammers often try to make their fake addresses as similar to the legitimate address as possible to fool victims, so check the sender address of the message you’ve received to see if it looks suspicious.

Additionally, you should watch out for typos within the Coinbase emails you receive. Big companies like Coinbase aren’t likely to send out sloppy emails with spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. If you notice that an email you’ve received is particularly badly written, it’s likely that a malicious attacker wrote it, not a Coinbase employee.

On top of this, it’s crucial that you verify the safety of any links you receive in emails to ensure they’re okay to click on. This can be done quickly and easily using a link-checking website. Just taking a few extra seconds to make sure a link is benign could mean the difference between falling victim to and avoiding a phishing scam.

You should also avoid opening random email attachments, especially within messages sent from unfamiliar addresses. Attachments are often used by scammers to infect a device with malware in order to steal valuable data. So, unless you absolutely need to open an attachment, steer clear of it. There are also ways you can determine if an attachment is suspicious. For example, there are many types of file that are considered safe to open, including JPG, PNG, WAV, MOV, MP4, GIF, MPEG, and MP3. Be wary of other kinds of extension, especially .exe files, as they may spell trouble.

Ensuring that your antivirus software is active and up to date can also protect you against phishing. Many antivirus programs now offer tools to protect you from malicious emails, so you can also employ such features on top of your typical antivirus scans to keep yourself extra safe.

If you think you’ve received a Coinbase phishing email, report it so that the relevant parties are aware of the threat. Coinbase specifically requests on its “Help” page that you email the company’s security team if you’re suspicious of any communications that claim to be from Coinbase. You can report suspicious SMS texts to Coinbase too, as well as your cell service provider.

You should note that Coinbase will never ask you to provide your password or two-factor authentication codes, and will never request remote access to your device. Don’t provide anyone with your private key or seed phrase. These should only be used to access or recover crypto wallets or confirm transactions.

You should also protect your Coinbase account as much as possible so that it is harder for criminals to compromise. For example, you could use two-factor authentication so that you yourself must verify each login before access is granted.

How to Tell If You’ve Been the Victim of a Coinbase Phishing Scam

Some victims take a while to realize they’ve been swindled, especially if they don’t regularly check certain accounts. So, it’s important to take a look at your Coinbase activity every now and then to make sure there’s nothing suspicious going on. If you notice any unusual transactions, contact Coinbase immediately to further discuss the issue.

Sometimes, phishing scams take place all too quickly, and the victim only realizes they’ve been targeted after their account has been drained. At this point, you still need to get in touch with Coinbase to find out what can be done.

Cybercrime Is Commonplace in Crypto

Nowadays, there are thousands of scammers around the world looking to get their hands on your crypto. This is why it’s crucial that you use the correct measures to identify and avoid phishing emails, as well as keep your accounts and devices as protected as possible. Just taking a few extra steps to safeguard your funds and dodge malicious emails could save you a lot of grief.

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