Despite evolving regulatory scrutiny in the crypto ecosystem, the bad guys have continued to make money. Recent data revealed that over $4 million has been taken from individuals who visited fraudulent phishing websites advertised on Google.
This development was brought to light by ScamSniffer, a Web3 anti-scam service provider. The network claimed that in recent weeks, fraudulent advertising for phishing websites has been surging on Google Ad searches. A whopping $4.16 million has been stolen from 3,039 victims.
Scammers have impersonated a variety of DeFi networks, websites, and companies. This includes Zapper.fi, Lido, Stargate, DefiLlama, Orbiter Finance, and Radiant. The URL link redirects visitors to fake websites that solicit signatures for wallet logins. As a result, users’ addresses would be further compromised. These victims often find it challenging to recognize when they have clicked on the fake links because they are similar to the official URLs and are occasionally changed.
Furthermore, a number of the phishing websites in issue have been connected to advertisers in Canada and Ukraine through the analysis of their metadata.
Here’s how these ill-doers are bypassing Google’s ad review process
The perpetrators who are posting detrimental advertisements employ a variety of strategies to get beyond Google’s ad inspection procedure. This includes tricking Google Click ID, which enables the attackers to display a regular webpage while Google is reviewing the ad.
There are other methods too where advertisements move visitors who have developer tools enabled to a legitimate website. This is done by using anti-debugging techniques. Following this, a straight click sends them to the malicious website. Scammers can also get past some of the automated evaluations of Google advertising.
How much do these malicious actors spend on promoting their ads?
ScamSniffer revealed that the typical cost per click for related keywords ranges from $1 to $2. Taking into consideration the conversion rate of 40% from 7,500 consumers clicking on harmful advertisements scammers have poured in nearly $15,000 on advertising. This has, in turn, generated a return on their expenditures of 276% given the $4 million taken thus far.