Bitcoin podcaster secretly records Coinbase scammer’s confession

A cohort of lawless US-based youngsters are making millions of dollars by stealing crypto assets over the phone. In a revealing undercover recording, a telemarketing scammer confessed to his scheme to a famous Bitcoin podcaster.

Junseth, the co-creator of one of the earliest Bitcoin podcasts, has published his half-hour conversation with the thief as a standalone episode. The thief didn’t give Junseth permission to record or publish the conversation, in which he admits to committing multiple federal crimes.

During the reverse interview, which started as an unsolicited phone call from someone pretending to be Coinbase customer support, a scammer claiming to be a high school student tries to convince Junseth of a supposedly imminent security threat.

He quickly walks Junseth through a series of seemingly innocuous steps to ‘protect’ his Coinbase account. Of course, these steps are cleverly devised to grant the thief access to Junseth’s Coinbase and/or Google accounts.

Junseth played along as the caller attempted to ‘help’ him regain access to his account, including an attempt to login to Junseth’s Gmail. When called out, the thief eventually admitted to the ruse and relaxed into a revealing conversation.

How thieves steal crypto over the phone

For nearly 30 minutes, the young scammer detailed his operations, from using Google Forums to impersonate Google employees, owning the username ‘Coinbase’ within the video game Minecraft, paying robodialers to pre-qualify leads, and purchasing leads from dark net vendors.

While he initially claimed to be working alone during off-school hours and summer break, later details of the conversation seem to indicate that his group of co-conspirators is considerably larger.

As it turns out, the man is part of an organized group of youngsters that conduct sophisticated social engineering attacks on wealthy Americans. Although there are reasons to be skeptical of his claims, he says he profits tens of thousands of dollars a month by stealing crypto assets from victims’ hardware wallets and exchange accounts.

The thief also claimed to own an expensive McLaren and to have spent over $100,000 during one nightclub outing. Even Junseth admitted, “some of his facts are false.”

The man also claimed to have hacked a customer of Swan Bitcoin and said that his friends were waiting for a withdrawal exceeding $1 million. However, Swan Bitcoin co-founder Brady Swenson said that the company’s risk department detected and denied the fraudulent withdrawal shortly before Junseth published the interview.

Read more: Don’t blame Coinbase for huge social engineering hack, says Coinbase

Social engineering victims to surrender login credentials

NVK, the founder of hardware wallet maker Coldcard, took the opportunity to argue against making withdrawals and custody of bitcoin ‘easy,’ which exposes customers to risk. Three Jay Partners COO Kristoph Jeffers complimented Junseth. “Truly awesome to see someone’s hard-earned savings get protected by some random anon on the internet,” he said.

Social engineering attacks are, of course, not a new concern in the digital asset world. In 2020, another such attack was behind millions of dollars in thefts that used several prominent Twitter accounts, including those belonging to Elon Musk and Bill Gates. Alleged perpetrators of that scam included a 17-year-old Florida resident.

At its core, social engineering is simply a tactic that convinces victims to surrender their login credentials or send money voluntarily. According to one estimate, 98% of cyberattacks use social engineering: pretending to be a coworker or legitimate support agent. Phishing, baiting, and spoofing are common tactics.

In this case, the medium of attack was a simple phone call from a fraudulent customer support agent. Juneth proved sharp enough to conduct an impromptu interview with a hacker and reverse-socially engineered him into revealing his methodology.


Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]
Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *