The crypto industry has not been without its fair share of scams and cons. Bitcoin has battled this reputation since its inception and FUD-fueled mainstream media outlets do not help matters. Social media and search giants are equally to blame but that doesn’t stop the Bitcoin bashing.
More Fake Google Results For Bitcoin
Researchers have discovered that the majority of links returned in Google search pages for Bitcoin QR code generators are for fake or scammy websites. Forbes, in its usual Bitcoin-bashing stance, reported that it is just another crypto scam that has hindered adoption.
What it should have reported was that it is a Google scam for allowing these fraudulent links on its search engine in the first place. The study reported that 4 out of the first 5 results presented when querying Google were leading to scammer’s website.
According to the researchers from crypto wallet provider ZenGo, the QR codes generated from one of these fake websites will send the Bitcoin to the scammers address. The QR codes are used to capture the data by mobile phone cameras, in this case to quickly share a Bitcoin address. The researchers added;
“These sites generate a QR code that encodes an address controlled by the scammers, instead of the one requested by the user, thus directing all payments for this QR code to the scammers. Scammers do not even bother with generating their fake QR themselves, instead they shamelessly call a blockchain explorer API to generate the QR for their address.”
It has been estimated that around $20,000 has been lost to QR code scams however that figure could be much higher.
Just like the copy/paste malware that infected computers a couple of years ago in order to alter Bitcoin addresses, this scam is just quicker version. There will be others and the misreporting that it is ‘furthering negative public perception around bitcoin and cryptocurrency’ is pure FUD. The internet itself is awash with scams yet look how adoption of that has gone.
The bottom line is common sense here, Google search results cannot be trusted, and neither can anything posted on Facebook. Both US tech giants have been the largest disseminators of scams and fake sites, most of which have given the crypto industry its bad name.
Of course there are bad actors out there, but we don’t need huge web monopolies broadcasting them while profiting off our personal data and searching habits. Stay safe out there.
Image from Shutterstock