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Getting into crypto? A browser extension is draining unsuspecting users’ accounts

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have seen a massive explosion in popularity over the last few years. The price of a single Bitcoin skyrocketed exponentially since its introduction, driving many people to dabble in the virtual crypto money unit. Tap or click here for 12 questions you’re too embarrassed to ask about Bitcoin.

Since it is an online-only commodity, you need to store them somewhere. Just like real money, you can put your digital money in a wallet. Many companies provide wallet services, promising to keep them safe and make them available when you need them.

But if you are new to cryptocurrencies, you might not be familiar with all the different companies. And there is one that you seriously need to avoid at all costs. It’s a browser extension that is being used to rip people off.

Here’s the backstory

There is a legitimate digital wallet called Safepal that many people use. But a recently discovered fraudulent website has been duping crypto enthusiasts by taking on a similar name and appearance. It has been available as a Mozilla Firefox browser extension called Safepal Wallet.

The extension is an easy way to see your crypto balance and pay for goods and services. The real Safepal has iOS and Android apps, but it doesn’t have a Firefox extension.

An online user going by the name of Cali downloaded the Safepal Wallet extension but soon realized that something was wrong.

Detailing what happened on a Mozilla support forum, Cali said that a few hours after installing the extension, the balance in her wallet dropped from $4,000 to $0. Mozilla has since removed the extension, but it was available for about seven months.

The extension might be gone, but according to BleepingComputer, the associated phishing website is still operational. Just like the fake wallet, the website has been designed to steal user data and money.

The website claims you need to punch in your 12-word backup phrase to pair the wallet with the extension. Anybody who knows about cryptocurrencies will immediately understand that it is a bad idea. Once criminals have your backup phrase, they can take control of your wallet and drain your funds.

What you can do about it

The first thing to do to stay safe when dealing with cryptocurrencies is to get Kim’s eBook. In “Cryptocurrency 101: Beginner’s guide to buying, selling, and spending digital currency the safe way,” Kim covers topics like the importance of your password, buying and storing currency and how to keep track of the market.

But when you are looking around for a wallet to use, always approach it with caution. Do some research into the company and service and read reviews on it. If there are any signs of foul play, stay away.

It is also a good idea to join a crypto group on social media to see what is popular among users who have been doing this for a long time. As we have pointed out before, there are plenty of crypto scams out there.

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