Beware of unsolicited text messages encouraging you to click links that will supposedly earn you bitcoins. It’s a scam.
Yes. I’m not going to say that there’s a chance that it’s a bitcoin text message scam. Because it really is one.
How it works
Table of Contents.
Smartphone users receive a text message claiming that you have earned 3 bitcoin. You will be encouraged to click a link. This link, unfortunately, will download to your phone a bitcoin mining malware that you can’t just delete.
Also, since they now have your number, your number can then be used for other spam campaigns. Lastly, they might be able to collect your personal information and this can be very risky.
But I thought Bitcoin Mining requires high power GPUs?
Correct. While even the dumbest of phones and computers can install software to mine bitcoins, you will need one with high computing power to actually mine btc. This is because the more participants mining the cryptocurrency, the harder it is for computers to solve the math problem that rewards miners with bitcoin. (more on how bitcoin works here).
But still, if the scammers are able to infect hundreds and thousands of mobile phones; if they are able to successfully install the malicious mining code to the thousands of smartphones, that should be enough collectively to earn some decent bitcoin.
Where did this happen?
Will it reach the Philippines?
We are not sure as to the source or place of origin of the scam so it is important to stay alert.
If it does reach the Philippines, it could be disastrous. Statista notes 26 million mobile phone users in the country. 80% of which are running Android, the operating system that is likely to get infected by the malware. Granted, knowledge of bitcoin is still in its infancy in the country. But the text says 3 bitcoins – if you have some general knowledge about cryptocurrency, you will know that its value reaches north of Php 1 million!
How to avoid this bitcoin text message scam?
Do not ever click links from senders you don’t know. My policy Is to never click links on text messages. If my contacts want to send me a link, they may do it on Facebook Messenger or Twitter, both of which can display a preview of the page where the link is directed into.
What if my phone is already infected?
If you believe your phone is infected by this bitcoin text scam, consider doing a factory reset. Also, as for your phone number, go to the nearest Smart or Globe store to get instructions on what to do. If you have an app that manages your bank account in your phone, contact the bank immediately.
Just like in any other industry, people with the wrong motivations can appear to jeopardize your security. As a digital currency, bitcoin is disrupting the way we buy things and send money. However, if fiat money can be scammed, so does your bitcoins. Protect your bitcoins at all cost, especially now that its price is reaching an all-time high.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!