Cryptocurrency scammers seek out unsuspecting victims on various social networking platforms and are now extending their footprint to the Google search engine. Taking advantage of people’s propensity to interact with Google ads, these scammers are now using the popular search engine to facilitate their own malicious crimes. Web3 tracker Scam Sniffer recently discovered that an individual lost $900,000 (roughly Rs. 740 crore) this week through ad phishing scams. The incident set off alarm bells, and delving into the subject revealed some shocking details.

A cyber researcher who goes by the username @0xngmi on X has sounded the alarm about crypto criminals using legitimate sites on Google to scam people. 0xngmi is a researcher at Web3 company DeFiLlama.

These cybercriminals are buying ads for real websites on Google. When potential victims click on these links, they are sent to “kochava.com,” an ad network that then redirects people to fake scam sites.

The researchers posted a screenshot on X showing how the DeFiLlama website itself has been imitated by copycats. Screenshots from 0xngmi show that the scam site is identified by the “Sponsored” label displayed above the site.

DeFiLlama has repeatedly reported the ad and the ad network to Google. “But Google didn’t take any action,” the researchers posted in their X thread. The search engine giant has yet to respond to those concerns.

However, for other members of the crypto community, 0xngmi recommends installing an ad blocker to prevent users from being exposed to suspicious ads.

Cryptocurrency investors have lost as much as $4 million (roughly Rs. 350 crore) by participating in hoax links spread across the web, ScamSniffer said in a recent report.

Back in October 2022, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao accused Google of not removing scam sites from search results, thereby exposing people to financial vulnerabilities on a daily basis.

Despite multiple complaints, Google has yet to issue a statement or a solution to address these issues.


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