An international scam ring is targeting dating app users in a romance scam to not only deprive victims of their cryptocurrency but also the control of their handsets.
On Wednesday, Sophos cybersecurity researchers named the gang “CryptoRom” and said they have recently expanded their operations from Asia, spreading to both the United States and Europe.
Romance scams are an insidious and constant problem, and thanks to the rising popularity of dating apps, are now not only limited to phishing emails. Instead, fraudsters will ‘match’ with their victims, pretend interest until they build a foundation of trust, and then they will ask for money — only to vanish soon after.
In recent years, romance scams have become more sophisticated, with some cybercriminals offering their victims ‘exclusivity’ in trading deals or in cryptocurrency investments, using the lure of easy profit as well as potential love matches.
Interpol warned of an uptick in investment-based romance fraud taking place across dating apps in January this year.
The CryptoRom scam artists target iPhone users of dating apps including Tinder and Bumble. One tactic used is to lure victims into downloading a fake cryptocurrency trading app that gives the operators remote control over the handset.