Horrific fake iPhone 13 apps steal millions from users; How they did it

CryptoRom: Romance scammers have used fake Apple iPhone 13 apps to steal cryptocurrency worth millions from victims looking for love and romance

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 10:55 IST
A romance scam called CryptoRom uses fake iPhone 13 apps to swindle millions out of innocent victims in the name of love and romance (Alex Green/Pexels)
A romance scam called CryptoRom uses fake iPhone 13 apps to swindle millions out of innocent victims in the name of love and romance (Alex Green/Pexels)

A new online scam has surfaced called CryptoRom, where criminals are using romance scam strategies to swindle innocent victims of their money. And this time, they are targeting cryptocurrency assets using fake iPhone 13 apps. The scammers lure the victims with the promise of big returns on investments and once they are hooked, the scammers get hold of the cryptocurrency their victims have invested in and vanish. This is very scary because the hacker will be doing it in the name of love and romance.

How they did it with CryptoRom

The thieves first establish a relationship with the victim and try to make victims romantically involved with them. Then as a lover, they will build trust. And only after the trust has been established, will they begin their scam. Read on to find out how this crypto scam works and how you can stay safe from it.

CryptoRom: A romance scam targeting cryptocurrency

Sophos Lab researcher Jagadeesh Chandraiah described CryptoRom as “a trifecta of malice, combining romance scams, cryptocurrency scams and malicious Android and iPhone apps,” reported Tom's Guide. While the former two are relatively easy to find, the latter one is rarer and that is what makes this online scam involving fake iPhone 13 apps so dangerous.

Stage 1 of CryptoScam

The first step by these romance thieves, is that they initiate contact through online dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Facebook Dating, Hinge and others. But some victims were also approached on WhatsApp, which highlights the fact that the victims are likely profiled and carefully picked by the hackers. In the initial few days, the scammer pretends to build trust with the victim. This can go on for weeks.

Stage 2 of CryptoScam

In the next stage of this romance scam, the criminal tells the victim about a secret cryptocurrency investment that will give huge profit, maybe double or triple the money within just days or weeks. It starts small and at first the victim does get returns, but after the scammer convinces the victim to invest a large sum, they steal the entire amount and vanish. Only then the victim figures out that the platform for the secret crypto investment in itself was fake. And that's how the online scam called CryptoRom is pulled off.

Fake iPhone 13 apps

However, what has made this online scam stand out from the rest is the involvement of iPhone 13 fake apps. iPhones, especially the lastest ones like Apple iPhone 13, are generally considered to be secure. According to a report by Sophos Lab, the hackers abuse Apple's enterprise application deployment scheme and the ‘super signature' scheme to exploit the iOS TestFlight feature.

The iPhone 13, like other iPhones, allows big companies to install company-specific apps, which are not available on the App store. The criminals hack into this technology to make the iPhone device think that the app is genuine. Once the romance scammer gets the app downloaded on the victim's device, it is game over.

How to avoid falling victim to CryptoRom

Step 1:

Avoid downloading any apps without a thorough online verification

Step 2:

Be careful while you are on online dating apps; verify the background of the person or persons thoroughly

Step 3:

While looking for love and romance on online dating apps, insist on photos, phone numbers, addresses, passport details, other identification cards

Step 4:

Scammers will try to move the conversation out of these online dating scams and take it to email or phones. So, insist that you want to stay on these online dating platforms like Tindr, Bumble, Facebook Dating etc., as they are safer.

Step 5:

Always let your immediate family know about any course of action the other person is asking, like investing money

Step 6:

Beware of those who want to set up a meeting in a private house. Always choose a public place like a popular restaurant where many people are present

Step 7:

Apple iPhone 13 has a number of safety features,especially for women, make sure you have switched them on.

Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

First Published Date: 18 Mar, 16:38 IST