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Scammers are using search engine ads to trick people out of their money and crypto

The scam uses phishing sites disguised as banking institutions.

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Image: KnowTechie

As technology continues to advance, criminals are finding more and more ways to scam people online and through social media. The FBI has released a new bulletin that warns against online attacks from criminals that are utilizing search engine ads to direct people to phishing sites that attempt to extract your financial information.

According to The Record, The FBI has discovered a new scheme that criminals have developed to try and extract bank account information from unsuspecting users. This scheme, which is described to work in one of two ways, uses phishing sites disguised as banking institutions to entice users into giving out their personal banking information.

The first way would use ads to draw people to the fake website while the second relied on users finding the phony site organically. From there, the criminals would use a set of tactics to extract necessary information in order to access your bank accounts and make immediate transfers.

“In both versions of the scheme, the spoofed portal prompted customers to enter account credentials and telephone numbers, and to answer security questions. These actions failed to grant access, at which point the account holder would receive a telephone call from the cyber actor who falsely claimed to represent the financial institution. While this individual occupied the customer in a lengthy process purported to restore account access, an associate would access the financial institution’s legitimate portal using the customer’s stolen credentials and initiate wire transfers from the account. Victims subsequently learned about the illicit transfers from the financial institution or when they eventually logged into the correct portal,” states the FBI PIN alert 20210511-001

The FBI points to this particular scheme as ongoing since March of this year, but this is certainly not the first instance of this type of criminal scheme. The article mentioned above notes that similar phishing sites have existed for years, and now they are popping up to target cryptocurrency investors.

This type of scam is definitely going to continue, considering the difficulty behind tracking down these particular criminals. Because the sites can be deleted at the press of a button, it is very difficult to ultimately find those behind the scams. The best thing we can do is remain vigilant on the web and pay attention when agencies like the FBI warn us of these scams.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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