What As A Phishing Attack In Crypto And How To Spot It?

Crypto is swarming with various people, from traders to investors who want the next 10x or use these tokens to pay their bills and even evil ones who are always looking at how to take your money.

One of the techniques that fraudsters use to steal cryptocurrency from innocent people is through phishing attacks.

Regrettably, phishing attacks have become so effective that, in only the first half of 2023, it was reported that con artists had taken almost $108 million.

Apart from that, the most popular type of scam affecting Americans in 2022 was phishing, as per the FBI Internet Crime Report. In this year alone, there were 300,497 victims of phishing attacks that led to a loss of $52 million. This has also penetrated the world of cryptocurrency, thus being unethical.

What is a cryptophishing scam?

A fake cryptocurrency platform or service is what a cryptophishing scam is about. They trick people by pretending to be genuine platforms for cryptocurrencies. For instance, you might have heard about fake crypto wallets; They deceive individuals into giving their wallet passwords or private keys.

Phishing tricks can lead to unauthorized access to someone’s credit card details or wallet and, consequently, the loss of cryptocurrency assets.

A high risk of financial loss may result from falling into these traps. The scam would generally involve a get-rich-quick scheme that mainly affects young adults who desire increased income; hence, they become easy targets for fraudsters.

This trend highlights the urgent need for more awareness and education about real crypto investment opportunities, not scams.

How does a phishing scam work?

A phishing attack often begins with an attacker spamming potential victims with mass emails or messages. It will usually pretend to come from a genuine source, like a wallet or cryptocurrency exchange.

The email or message almost always contains a link that directs the victim to a replica of the real website. On clicking and providing their login details, the attacker misuses such information in order to break into the account.

Phishing attacks are motivated by urgency or fear, making a victim react quickly. For example, there may be a problem with the victim’s account and they need to sign in right away. Others use false bounties or airdrop claims as bait for potential victims.

Some attackers go further by warning account holders about “suspicious activities” so that they can enter login credentials on a fake website.

Different Types of Crypto Phishing Attacks

most common types of phishing attacks

In the world of cryptocurrencies, the following phishing attack methods are very prevalent:

Pharming attack:

This type of attack sends you to the wrong site when you click on the right link. It works by manipulating a website’s domain name server (DNS). The DNS changes your URL into an IP address that is used by the website.

If the DNS has been hacked, it can make someone visit the wrong site even if they enter the correct link because it completely takes over your URL and routes you to another web address. On this page, users are asked for sensitive data even though they view content strikingly similar to that on the original pages.

Spear Phishing:

This type of phishing is very much like general phishing attacks but with some personal details about you. Rather than being just a random email, attackers use public information such as company roles or phone numbers related to you in order to appear realistic.

You might think that this is from someone you know or work with. Any unfamiliar emails from trusted sources should always be checked for whether or not they actually came from their supposed senders before any response is made to them.

Whale Phishing:

Whale phishing is a variation of spear phishing that targets only high-ranking people, like directors or CEOs. Whale phishing is also termed CEO fraud, as it typically targets them.

Unlike obtaining credentials from a lower-level officer at a company, getting the CEO’s credentials may give control over every part of the company’s systems or accounts. This means that when compared to other targets, they can collect more money or personal details about users and employees.


This simply refers to using your system resources to mine crypto tokens. However, sometimes, downloading from unfamiliar links might lead to the installation of such crypto miners on your computer.

A sluggishness in performance or low battery life on your system may be noticed. Rather than being an application running in the background, this is a mining app that can enable attackers to earn money from your resources. This could remain undetected for quite some time.

Crypto Malware:

Some hackers can take over your entire system. This is also known as ransomware. Hackers may lock you out of your computer or mobile device, making it impossible to use.

This also allows them access to any data on your computer. They can then threaten to delete the information or publish it openly.

They may ask for huge amounts of money in crypto as bargaining chips for relinquishing their dominance over your system.

How do you spot a phishing email?

How do you spot a phishing email?

It takes time to detect phishing emails in some instances. Most phishers will do anything to make their emails and sites look authentic. However, here are some signs:

Promises of high returns without risk:

Most fraudsters use the illusion of getting unrealistic profits to entice unsuspecting investors. They make the investors believe that they will get big return rates depending on how much money they invest and how quickly it is done. Thus, by making such claims, the scammers are able to hide the high risks behind an over-promised reward.

Whereas people expect a lot of returns from their investments.


Copycatting refers to the duplication of an organization’s unique aspects, like specific text, typefaces, logos, or color schemes, on the actual website.

To avoid copycat phishing, find out how organizations that you associate with are branded so you can be more vigilant about possible impostors.

Mistakes in grammar or spelling:

Phishing emails usually have errors in grammar or spelling. These phishers are often in a rush to send out their message and do not take the time to proofread anything. At times, they might not even have a good command of the language used. An email that contains obvious mistakes is most probably meant for phishing.

False links:

A link in an email may resemble a real one but instead of redirecting you to a legitimate site, it takes you elsewhere. Phishing attacks usually involve URLs that have been shortened or embedded links that misrepresent actual destinations.

Using a public email rather than a corporate one

Accessing a fake company’s domain is often easier when the fraudster is using a public email account as compared to that of a company. This means for instance, that instead of an email ending with “@companyname.com,” it should end with “@gmail.com,” thereby creating suspicion.

Content Misalignment

Another way to tell if an email is phishing is by spotting content misalignment. Even when phishers copy legitimate emails, they don’t necessarily get all the details correct. For instance, it could have a different tone or style from those you normally receive from that particular corporation.

Phishing attempts can be signaled by a mismatch between messages and embedded images in some cases. E-mails can say things like “click here to log in,” but buttons will state “click here to sign up.”.

Protecting Yourself from Phishing Attacks

While the occurrence of large-scale phishing is rare, small-scale phishing attacks happen on a daily basis and are the most common type of social engineering attack in this current era. Fortunately, there are several ways to guard oneself against such attacks.

  • Constant watchfulness: The primary answer to preventing phishing attacks lies in your ability to recognize potential dangers at the point of initial contact.
  • Even if you follow all the preventive measures listed below, if you unintentionally expose confidential data to a hacker or compromise your account or device by clicking on a malicious link, none of them may be enough for your safety.
  • Extra authentication layers: Since they are solely human error dependent, personal security measures like 2FA or password managers can help reduce these risks when one’s credential has been compromised.
  • Always keep your software and apps updated. User devices can only be secured if the operating system, web browsers, devices, and other software are regularly updated; this can also include security patches that fix known vulnerabilities and protect against new threats.
  • Secure digital asset storage: While spreading your digital assets across multiple accounts and wallets has its advantages and disadvantages, one way to secure your assets is through a large portion of cold storage funds.

Assets held in a cold wallet might be difficult to access or trade with, but these very same features make those funds significantly more difficult to steal, even if your digital identity gets compromised.

Final Thoughts

Everyone needs to be safe while using the internet, especially concerning their financial information. Even if hackers are using only one service, they may still get into your bank account linked to this service or some other connected service. It is important to take precautions and avoid opening unfamiliar messages in order to protect your accounts.