Coinbase is the largest U.S. company in the crypto universe, and this fact is exploited by fraudsters in various ways. Due to the various scams, it is sometimes not immediately obvious to their victims that they have fallen for criminals at all. Therefore, it not infrequently takes them quite a while to noce the scam and take action.
Table of contents
Basically, the crimes can be divided into three areas, which are very different. What they have in common is that they abuse the good name of Coinbase, because the real company has nothing to do with it. In the following, we want to show which scams are used by the fraudsters and how you can best protect yourself from them. We will also go into the question of how to get help and what options are available to recover the lost money.
Coinbase account opening in own name
The first scam we would like to present is not exclusive to Coinbase. Instead, scammers use it on other exchanges as well, such as Binance,Kraken or Bitvavo. To do so, they contact their victims in different ways. Mostly, however, via social media or messenger services.
After the contact has been established, the perpetrators quickly move on to the topic of investments and offer possible investment products, which are marketed as a profitable opportunity. They usually target inexperienced investors who have little knowledge about cryptocurrencies and therefore cannot foresee the consequences of their decisions. The victims are then directed to Coinbase, where they are supposed to open an account and make a deposit in euros after verification.
Up to this point, everything is still inconspicuous, but after the deposit, the instruction to buy a certain cryptocurrency and transfer it to an external wallet follows. Because the victims are not familiar with blockchain technology, they receive regular instruction manuals from the perpetrators on how to do this. The process is carried out under the pretext that the deposited cryptocurrencies will be invested profitably for the victim. After that, there is radio silence for the time being. After a while, the perpetrators often ask for money again. The same is the case when the victim wants to withdraw his money. Then, so-called mirror transactions are demanded in order to supposedly unlock the amount of money or the cryptocurrencies.
In any case, the victim does not get anything back, but loses the deposited amounts. Coinbase itself warns against opening an account on behalf of third parties and transferring cryptocurrencies to unknown persons. The company is not to blame for such crimes, because ultimately it cannot check to whom the cryptocurrencies are sent.
You can effectively protect yourself from this scam by following some rules when dealing with strangers on the Internet. For this purpose, we recommend you to read the following article, to learn more details about how to engage on the internet with strangers.
Money deposited on fake Coinbase website
The second method is simply faking websites that mimic Coinbase's user interface and are supposed to give the impression that it is the company. In fact, Coinbase has nothing to do with this either and would never cause confusion among its customers as to where and how to reach the exchange.
Such fake sites are created relatively quickly and offer the user very similar functions as the real Coinbase exchange after registration. Here, too, it is a quick process after opening an account, because cryptocurrencies or euros are supposed to be deposited. Here, too, the money disappears after the deposit. Unlike the first method, however, the fake platform still pretends that regular profits are being made. This is supposed to lull the victims into a sense of security and give them the impression that their money is in good hands. If the victim leaves the funds on the platform, he or she is usually encouraged to deposit more money via a supposed customer advisor. This seems plausible to many victims, because if you make such excellent profits, then you would theoretically be at a disadvantage if you do not invest more. But even these amounts are lost right after they leave the checking account.
As far as the choice of victims is concerned, the perpetrators help themselves from several pools. On the one hand, similar to phishing, mass e-mails are sent, but on the other hand, messages are also sent on social media or via WhatsApp and SMS. This means that the initial contact is not a targeted choice, but an automated scattering. Only in the further course do the scammers devote themselves to the victim as soon as it becomes clear that he or she has bitten. In exceptional cases, however, there is personal contact right from the start.
The best protection here is to pay close attention to which websites you visit on the Internet and to check their authenticity. How to do this exactly and what to pay special attention to is explained in more detail in our article on phishing. After all, the methods have a high degree of overlap.
Base: The 2-layer is targeted by fraudsters
Similar to Binance, Coinbase has also been using its own blockchain technology for a few weeks. Unlike the BNB Smart Chain, however, Base is a so-called second layer of Ethereum. This is a protocol that carries out its transactions independently, but secures them with the Ethereum blockchain.
Even before the launch, plenty of scammers were up to their tricks on social media via bot accounts. Their goal is to mislead investors. They advertise possible airdrops that Coinbase supposedly pays out on Base or other exclusive benefits. However, the links they intersperse in these posts do not lead to Base, but to fake websites. There, the aim is rarely to broker supposed investments, but to get the victims to confirm transactions in their wallet software. Under the pretext of receiving an airdrop, the wallets are then literally emptied and all digital assets are transferred to a wallet of the perpetrators.
To contact the victims, the perpetrators use bot accounts that send automated messages. These are either delivered as PN or designed as a public post in which users are tagged. In this sense, we can refer to the articles already linked above when it comes to protective measures. Finally, it is also important to be attentive when using Internet services and to be cautious when dealing with strangers.
I have been a victim of a Coinbase scam, how do I get help?
Coinbase will usually not intervene if the scammed person is not a direct customer of the platform and transactions related to the scam were made from there. But even if that is the case, then you have to be aware that the possibilities of the exchange are rather limited. After all, transactions with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are not reversible, which is why you should seek help from an expert.
Crypto-Tracing specializes in such and other cases and secures the perpetrators' traces via blockchain forensics. The method can be used to clarify where the scammers transferred the cryptos and sometimes directly create a situation picture. We document your and the perpetrators' follow-up transactions and summarize these results in a report for the police. In cooperation with the lawyer Dr. Maisch, we can also offer comprehensive and qualified legal advice. Mr. Maisch is specialized in cybercrime cases and can, if desired, represent you in all matters and enforce your interests by legal means.
Do not hesitate and contact us today! Don't let the perpetrators get away with it under any circumstances and take charge again.
FAQ about Coinbase Scam
Is Coinbase cheating its customers?
No, the term Coinbase scam only refers to crimes that are committed and abuse the good name of Coinbase. Coinbase itself warns against such and other scams and tries to protect its customers as best as possible.
Will Crypto-Tracing or a lawyer get my money back?
This question cannot be answered in a blanket manner. Crypto-Tracing first traces the stolen funds and in cooperation with a lawyer it can be tried to reclaim the money if necessary. However, whether this is possible and what the chances of success are, can only be said when the details of the individual case are known.