Classiscam Thriving with Scam-as-a-Service Model with Members in 79 Countries

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Classiscam Thriving with Scam-as-a-Service Model with Members in 79 Countries

Category: Cybercrime | Industry: Global | Source: Group-IB

The "Classiscam" scam-as-a-service operation has expanded its global reach, targeting a wider range of brands, countries, and industries, resulting in greater loss of financial data. The operation functions through Telegram-based channels where affiliates use phishing kits to create counterfeit advertisements and pages for money, credit card information, and banking credentials theft. Initially discovered by Group-IB in 2019, the operation's rapid growth led to its use by around 40 cybercrime groups, generating $6.5 million in 2020. In an updated report from Group-IB's Operations Director Vladimir Kalugin, the Classiscam operation is boosted through automation, with combined earnings having surged to approximately $64.5 million, targeting users of classified sites to steal money and payment card details. Classiscam has evolved with more automation, Telegram bots for quick phishing page creation, and complex gang hierarchies. Fake bank login pages are now used to steal e-banking account credentials.

The number of targeted brands grew from 169 to 251, while 393 criminal gangs with at least 38,000 members from 79 countries are now involved. A region breakdown reveals from the first half of 2021 to the first half of 2023 an overwhelming majority of victims of Classiscam are individuals located in Europe, particularly Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy, and Romania. By percentage European targets accounted for 62.2% of targets followed by MEA at 18.2%, APAC at 13%, LATAM at 3.9%, and finally North America at 2.7%. "The average amount lost by Classiscam victims worldwide was $353, although UK users lost the most, on average, to Classiscammers, as the average fraudulent transaction was $865. Next on this list were users in Luxembourg ($848 per transaction), Italy ($774), and Denmark ($730)," as reported by Group-IB. Despite efforts to combat it, Classiscam continues to grow, highlighting the need for vigilance among users to avoid falling victim to such scams. According to Vladimir Kalugin's assessment, "Classiscam will likely remain one of the major global scam operations throughout 2023 due to the scheme's full automation and low technical barrier of entry."

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