Bitcoin Scammers Are Targeting Hurricane Irma Victims: Beware
Reports have started to come in of scammers attempting to steal from Bitcoiners that were possibly affected by Hurricane Irma.
Bitcoin Put in Danger by Hurricane Irma? Unlikely
Earlier today, a representative from Athena Bitcoin posted on Reddit that the company had received an email from a phisher attempting to trick people into giving up their bitcoins.
The Athena representative said:
Below is an email received into Athena Bitcoin from yet another Blockchain.info phishing attempt. DO NOT follow the directions of this email and make sure everyone you know who uses Blockchain is aware of phishing attempts like this!
On Mon, 11 Sep at 6:05 PM , No-reply [email protected] wrote:
“As Hurricane Irma moved towards Tampa, Florida, our servers in Tampa were directly in the path of the eye of Hurricane Irma. The storm heavily damaged our servers and we are experiencing massive loss of data. This loss of data will lead to loss of bitcoins and private keys stored on these servers. There is a temporary backup of this data in the same location. This temporary backup will soon go offline and all data completely lost.
“Blockchain has servers located in different countries. Only accounts whose private keys and bitcoins are stored in Tampa Florida are affected by this loss. If you are getting this email from us, it means your bitcoins and private keys are stored on our servers in Tampa, Florida. Immediate action is needed from you, now, before the temporary backup goes completely offline.
“All your old bitcoin addresses are stored in Tampa. We have created a new bitcoin address for you on our servers located in Ontario, Canada. You are required to move all your bitcoins now to this new address.
“Your new bitcoin address is [removed for safety purposes]
“After moving your bitcoins to this address, your account balance will remain the same because the address is already part of your account. You will get an email from us notifying you of the successful move of your bitcoins from Tampa, Florida to Ontario, Canada. Please move your bitcoins now to avoid a complete loss of all your bitcoins.
“Disclaimer: By sending this email to you ahead of the impending disaster, we will not be responsible for any loss of bitcoins you may encounter if you do not move your bitcoins to your new address provided in this email.
“Please move your bitcoins now to your new bitcoin address [removed for safety purposes]“
Bitsonline has redacted the bitcoin address stated in the email for safety purposes. We advise our readers to not send bitcoin to any addresses that were sent to you unsolicited.
The Athena representative posted this warning in both r/Bitcoin and r/BTC.
Reminder: Blockchain.info Is Non-Custodial
According to the phishing email, the alleged scammers are posing as Blockchain.info, one of the most popular bitcoin wallets in the world. As the email states, they tell people Hurricane Irma has damaged the company’s Tampa servers, and all the bitcoins stored there will be lost if immediate action is not taken.
The fact that the alleged scammers have posed as Bitcoin.info may be cause for concern, since the wallet is a popular choice for those new to Bitcoin, who may not have a full understanding of how wallets work.
It is important to note the Blockchain.info wallets are non-custodial, meaning the company has no control over its users’ bitcoin or private keys. Therefore, any damage done to company servers should only affect users access to the wallet during the outage. As long as users have their backup phrases stored in a safe place, they can recover their funds onto another bitcoin wallet.
At press time, no one has sent any money to the bitcoin address provided in the email. However, several Reddit users have noted that the addresses are likely randomized, with each recipient receiving a different one. Therefore, it is currently unknown if anyone has fallen victim to this scam.
At press time, Blockchain has not made any announcements regarding this phishing attempt on their website or social media channels. Bitsonline will continue monitoring this story and will update this article as new developments arise.
Have you received this email in recent days? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Getty Images, Blockchain