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Security experts warn scammers are pretending to be Ukrainians seeking financial aid online

Avast warns of scammers pretending to be Ukrainian nationals affected by the current conflict asking for bitcoin and selling ‘UkraineTokens’.

user iconReporter
Mon, 28 Feb 2022
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According to Avast Malware analyst Michal Salát, as cyber criminals seek to take advantage of the chaos, the company has tracked a number of scammers who are tricking people out of money by pretending they are Ukrainians in desperate need of financial help in the last 48 hours.

“In the past, we have seen similar scams for people stuck while travelling or looking for love.”

Unfortunately, these attackers do not operate ethically and will use any opportunity to get money out of people willing to help others in need.

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Whats suspicious is the immediate mention of bitcoin, as well as the usernames that consist only of letters and numbers, Salát said.

Cyber security company ESET has also reported another scam of a webpage asking people for support by buying UkraineTokens.

There also might be some legitimately troubled people who are using cryptocurrency requests to ask for help; according to ESET analysts, however, like the person in this Russian underground forum, it's not clear which requests are legitimate requests.

This poster is asking other forum users for $1.2 in BTC to help him in a dire situation and its interesting to note that the bitcoin transaction fee is higher than the requested amount.

There have also been reports of similar scams spreading on TikTok and other social media sites.

Salát recommends that the best way to help the people of Ukraine is for people to only donate through official, trusted organisations and do so directly on their website rather than any links shared on social media.

We strongly advise not to send any money to unknown people directly, especially in any form of cryptocurrency, as it is virtually impossible to deduce if it is a person in need or a scammer.

Avast is deeply saddened by the Ukraine-Russia situation.

We have employees and customers in both countries and are monitoring the situation very closely; we are focused as a priority on ensuring our people are safe and providing the support and help, they and their families need at this challenging time.

We are also dedicated to maintaining, where possible, our services and products to our users and our threat intelligence team has been working to quickly identify the new threats that are arising because of the conflict, Salát concluded.

[Related: ACSC on high alert following Russian attack on Ukraine]

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