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Coinbase scam emails: How to spot Coinbase phishing attacks

Coinbase is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange platforms today. Given the generally high prices of cryptocurrencies, the platform and its users are always at risk of cyberattacks. One of the most popular methods attackers will use to get into your Coinbase account is through a phishing email. Here’s what you need to know about Coinbase phishing attacks and scam emails.

Coinbase scam emails: How to spot Coinbase phishing attacks

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What are Coinbase scam emails?

Coinbase scam emails fall under the type of cyberattack called phishing, which relies on a user giving up information to an attacker who seems like a legitimate representative of a company — in this case, Coinbase.

A Coinbase email scam aims to acquire a victim’s Coinbase account information. Once the attackers get their victim’s account information, they can access their Coinbase account and transfer funds to their own crypto wallets.

Coinbase scam email attacks vary in approach, sometimes involving methods like spam, email spoofing, and social engineering to get their targets’ data.

Common examples of Coinbase phishing scams

Coinbase phishing scams are at their most effective if you’re not aware of the different ways scammers can target you with these schemes. Here’s a list of the most common approaches that attackers will use to con you into a Coinbase phishing scam:

Smishing attacks

Smishing attacks or smishing scams involve cybercriminals sending messages to numbers registered with Coinbase, alerting users about made-up withdrawals or other fake security concerns with their accounts. In their messages, scammers typically ask you for your personal information or login credentials, claiming they need it to verify your ownership of your wallet.

Smishing attacks are dangerous and can result in a SIM swap attack in which your mobile provider is tricked into transferring your phone number to the attacker’s SIM card, allowing them to receive your verification details. The scammer can then authorize transactions or changes on your Coinbase account without your knowledge, including crypto transfers and changes in account information.

Technical support and impersonation scams

In another type of scam, scammers pretending to be from Coinbase support will contact you, claiming that there’s a problem with your Coinbase account. They will then ask for your login credentials or verification codes to ensure that you are the true owner of your Coinbase account.

Once you share your credentials with the attackers, they will use the information to access your Coinbase account, transferring crypto to their own wallets. It’s a dangerous situation to be in because an experienced attacker can scam you like this within minutes.

Verification scams

Because Coinbase primarily uses email to verify and confirm transactions, some scammers will attempt to gain access to your account information by asking you to verify your login credentials via email. Once the scammer acquires your login credentials, they change them, locking you out of your own account.

This type of attack also works with verification codes. If a scammer already has access to your login credentials, they may send you an email asking you to give them the verification code that was sent to you. If you receive a request for verification from Coinbase without making a transaction, you may be experiencing a phishing attempt.

Giveaway scams

Some scammers may attempt to lure you in with promises of compensation or free crypto via fake Coinbase emails. These emails will either ask you to give up your login information for verification purposes or redirect you to an external website that will ask for your login credentials.

After you’ve entered your login information, the attacker then uses it to access your Coinbase account and start making transactions on your behalf. The promised giveaway will never materialize. If you do receive anything, it will most likely be malware or other ways to compromise your account security.

Urgent account action scams

Scammers may exploit the stress that you feel when something goes wrong with your Coinbase wallet. They might send you emails encouraging you to give up your login credentials or verification methods to fix a made-up issue with your Coinbase account, which will give them access to your wallet.

These scams rely on the victim panicking about the potential loss of their crypto, leading them to voluntarily give their account access to scammers. This is an effective way to phish for information because the scammer puts pressure on the victim, which makes it easier to steal their login credentials. With the logins at their disposal, scammers can bypass security measures that may otherwise stop their scamming attempt.

How can you recognize a fake Coinbase email?

Coinbase occasionally sends emails to its users. Scammers might take advantage of this legitimate communication by syncing their phishing attempts with these official emails to make their scams more believable. However, Coinbase implements SPF, DKIM, and DMARC authorizations to cryptographically sign and protect all of its official emails, which scammers do not do.

Here are some signs you can check for to see if your Coinbase email is legitimate or not:

Urgent tone of communication

Scammers will sound urgent in their emails, pressing you to act quickly. Urgency makes you less likely to check if the email is genuine.

Grammatical errors

Fake Coinbase emails are full of grammatical errors and contradictory information. One way that scammers may try to avoid these red flags is by using images instead of text in the email. If the email contains a higher volume of images than text, it could be a scam.

Asking for login information

Coinbase support and staff will never ask for your account details, login information, or info about the devices that you use to access your Coinbase account. Requests for your personal details are a sign that you may be dealing with a phishing attempt.

Communicating outside email

Coinbase will never message you on instant messaging apps such as Telegram or Viber. It also won’t send you SMS messages for you to verify or confirm a transaction. Messages that request you to do so are most likely scams.

Requests to send funds to another wallet

Coinbase will never ask you to send funds to any other wallet without your prompting. If you receive an email asking you to send funds to another wallet (especially if it comes with the promise of compensation), you’re most likely dealing with a phishing attempt.

Redirecting you to external websites

Official Coinbase emails will never ask you to click on links that direct you to websites outside of the official Coinbase domain. If you receive an email from Coinbase and it contains links to external websites, do not click on any links, and report the email to Coinbase support immediately.

Unverified email address from the sender

Coinbase emails will always come from an email address ending in coinbase.com. Any other email address is most likely a Coinbase email scam, especially if it’s asking for details to enable two-factor authentication or other security measures.

Requesting remote access

Coinbase support or staff will never request remote access to your computer or any other device to address issues with your Coinbase account. If you receive an email or get redirected to a site that requests remote access, you may have been targeted with a scam.

How to report Coinbase phishing emails

If you’ve received a phishing email, contact Coinbase customer support immediately. Reporting scams to Coinbase allows the company to warn other Coinbase users about similar phishing attacks, take down a phishing site, or monitor suspicious account activity depending on the nature of your report.

You can contact Coinbase support through its official website or via email at security@coinbase.com. You can use either method to report the following phishing scams:

Phishing emails

If you received a clone phishing email, check the header of the email to see the network path that the email took to get to your inbox. When reporting the email to Coinbase, include everything in the phishing email itself, such as the sender’s email address, email content, and other information.

Phishing sites

Suspicious emails may link back to a phishing site that aims to collect sensitive information or your Coinbase account credentials. You can report these websites and their associated domains to Coinbase.

Phishing text messages

For text messages or SMS messages pretending to be from Coinbase support, you may take a screenshot of the message and the sender’s contact details. Send that information to Coinbase support’s email. You may also report the number to your mobile provider if you live in the US.

Take these steps as soon as you receive any phishing emails so that Coinbase support can flag and investigate the phishing site or the phishing email address immediately. The sooner you report the details of the phishing attempt, the less likely it is to succeed.

Additionally, you may report similar phishing attempts to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org or to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov if you live in the United States. Doing so will help prevent more Coinbase email scams in the future.

What to do if your Coinbase account was scammed

If a phishing attempt was successful in compromising your Coinbase account, there’s little that you can do to recover any stolen or transferred funds. Due to blockchain’s immutable nature, such transactions are technically irreversible. However, you can take the following steps to prevent further loss if you’ve clicked on a phishing link:

  • Report the scam to Coinbase support. You should report the scam immediately to make Coinbase aware of phishing scams targeting its users.
  • Change your login credentials. Change your username, password, and the email addresses you have registered or associated with your Coinbase account.
  • Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA). Implementing 2FA or MFA makes it harder for scammers to gain future access to your Coinbase account from a single entry point.

How to protect your Coinbase account

Phishing attacks remain one of the most popular and effective ways to scam victims. To prevent yourself from falling victim to cyberattackers targeting your Coinbase account, follow these best practices:

  • Create a strong Coinbase password. Make it impossible for hackers to guess, brute-force, or reverse-engineer your password by using your public info.
  • Never share your account credentials. Treat your Coinbase account like you would your actual bank account. Not sharing your account details prevents potential attacks.
  • Enable two-factor authentication. 2FA or multi-factor authentication can help further secure your Coinbase account.
  • Always verify emails from Coinbase. Coinbase emails will always have the coinbase.com domain name in the sender’s address and will never ask for your information. Always verify emails from Coinbase. Coinbase emails will always have the coinbase.com domain name in the sender’s address and will never ask for your information.
  • Consider other security solutions or anti-phishing software. Products like NordVPN’s Threat Protection help screen potentially malicious or phishing websites that aim to acquire your Coinbase info. These security solutions can potentially protect you from other attacks like identity theft.
  • Stay up to date with the latest security news. Keeping yourself updated on the best ways to detect phishing attempts can be a good way to keep your cryptocurrency safe.

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