Scam crypto projects actively use the personal data of real people willing to provide criminals with it for a small fee.
According to a post by CertiK, a company specializing in blockchain security, scammers actively use the dark market to buy the personal data of real people called “KYC actors.”
These people voluntarily provide fraudsters with their identities, which are used to gain trust in the crypto community “prior to an insider hack.”
CertiK analysts found that the price of a “KYC actor” averages about $8 per transaction. They’re most often used to circumvent the basic KYC process when opening a bank or exchange account. Rarely, if scammers need to place a real name or photo of the “KYC actor” on their project website, they’ll be paid more — about $20-$30 per deal. For instance, the “KYC actor” can get up to $500 a week for acting as a CEO of the crypto project.
The research conducted by CertiK showed that the underground market of “KYC actors” is concentrated in Telegram, Discord, phone-based apps, and specialized websites. CertiK experts revealed nearly 20 online platforms for hiring “KYC actors.” The majority of them are located in South-East Asia, with group sizes of 4,000-300,000 users.
Moreover, CertiK analysts discovered about 40 websites created specifically for verifying the crypto project’s team and offering “KYC badges,” but whose services were simply useless, as scammers used “KYC actors.” The methods of checking such sites are “too superficial” to detect fraud, but these services issued over 2,000 “KYC badges,” which in most cases are placed on scam websites.
Scammers use social media most actively to steal digital assets, and romance scams have become the second most common type of cryptocurrency fraud after investment scams. Therefore, the Australian government aims to raise awareness among citizens about protecting their crypto-assets and how to recognize scams.