Cryptocurrency users must provide a large amount of personal information, including their home addresses, scans of government-issued ID cards, and selfie photos or videos. It’s easier for criminals. They can pay just $ 150 on the black market for a finished, verified account.
Fake verified account from $ 150
These verified accounts are then advertised for sale on Internet forums and on the Telegram. In addition to crypto exchanges, merchants also offer fraudulently created accounts for use with common payment providers such as the Square Cash App and Transferwise.
“We produce between 1,500 and 2,000 synthetic verified accounts every month,” the operator of one such service said in an interview with Telegram.
The CoinDesk investigation revealed that in many cases, these sellers trade in sensitive information about people who are unlikely to know that their names are on the accounts. Although it is difficult to measure the size of this market – criminals usually do not disclose their income, but it seems to be thriving.
“We’ve seen a staggering number of advertisers advertising fraudulent accounts for crypto exchanges and payment services,” said Andrew Gunn, senior threat analyst at ZeroFox, a Baltimore-based cyber security firm.
In the last 12 months, ZeroFox has found more than one million forum and Telegram posts, Gunn said.
Black markets thrive both on the so-called dark web, which is accessible via the anonymizing Tor browser, and on the commonly accessible Internet. Here you can find forums staffed by professional hackers, fraudsters of all kinds and sellers of illegal goods. To name a few, Russian-speaking forums such as Ver.sc (abbreviated “Verified”) and CCCC.sb focus on illegal identity-related services such as “carding” (trading in stolen or counterfeit credit card numbers).
These platforms make it easy to find accounts for use on a variety of crypto exchanges and payment services, from the localbitcoins peer-to-peer trading platform to the Coinbase Pro professional point of sale to the main payment services CashApp, Transferwise and Revolut.
Prices ranging from $ 150 to $ 500 are communicated to the potential buyer in a personal chat or posted in a price list such as the one on this website. To buy an account, you must contact the seller (often by telegram), pay with a cryptocurrency (usually BTC).
In the same forums, some try to hire individuals willing to lend their identities. People willing to engage in similar activities are looking for job offers such as cccc.ug.
The target group of these sellers may not be people involved in other criminal activities. For example, people living in countries with strict regulations cannot register on major crypto exchanges under their real names.