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Scammers target Telegram users to steal Toncoin

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Scammers target Telegram users to steal Toncoin

Kaspersky researchers have discovered that cybercriminals are trying to steal Toncoin (TON) from Telegram users around the world, thanks to a highly scalable scheme involving cryptocurrency boosters and friend referrals. This scheme has been active since at least November 2023 and has emerged in conjunction with the growing popularity of TON and Telegram, making it particularly harmful.

Scammers have targeted victims from all over the world, devising a referral scheme that attracts Telegram users unaware of the threat. Potential victims receive a link to participate in an “exclusive earning program” from a person on their contact list.

Scammers urge victims to sign up to an unofficial Telegram bot, which appears to be designed to deposit cryptocurrencies, and connect it to a real wallet. At the same time, potential victims are encouraged to purchase Toncoin through legitimate channels, such as Telegram bots, P2P markets or cryptocurrency exchanges; thus instilling a false sense of security.

The victim is then told to purchase so-called boosters using a separate bot. The scammers claim that users must complete this action to start earning. After the purchase, the user loses his cryptocurrencies. The prices of the “boosters”, marked by scammers as “bike”, “car”, “train”, “plane” or “rocket”, vary from 5 to 500 Toncoin depending on the fare chosen by the potential victim.

After convincing the user to purchase the fake “boosters”, the scammers take a further step to make the fraudulent scheme more effective. The victim is asked to create a private Telegram group with friends and acquaintances, share with them a specially generated referral link and a video with instructions on “earnings”; everything is pre-recorded by cyber criminals.

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Originally developed by the Durov brothers, the Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain is now an independent community-backed project. Toncoin’s biggest advantage is Telegram. The messenger has reached 900 million monthly users and ranks sixth among the most used and downloaded apps in the world. Therefore, the prospects of fraud associated with this blockchain are particularly worrying.

Kaspersky experts advise users to pay attention to all offers that promise quick earnings, even if they come from friends or acquaintances. Furthermore, it is important to adhere to the following safety measures:

•Do not transfer cryptocurrencies to unknown or suspicious wallets.

•Use a comprehensive security solution, such as Kaspersky Premium, which protects your cryptocurrency wallet from scammers, miners and other threats. It also warns you when you visit suspicious websites.

•Read our posts to stay updated on all the latest fraudulent schemes and, if necessary, inform your closest people, especially those who are not yet IT experts.

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