Researchers Uncover Classiscam Rip-off-as-a-Service Operations in Singapore

Scam-as-a-Service Operations

A classy scam-as-a-service operation dubbed Classiscam has now infiltrated into Singapore, greater than 1.5 years after increasing to Europe.

“Scammers posing as legit patrons method sellers with the request to buy items from their listings and the final word purpose of stealing fee information,” Group-IB mentioned in a report shared with The Hacker Information.

The cybersecurity agency known as the operators a “well-coordinated and technologically superior scammer legal community.”

Classiscam refers to a Russia-based cybercrime operation that was first recorded in summer time 2019 however solely got here beneath highlight a yr later coinciding with a surge in exercise owing to a rise in on-line buying within the aftermath of COVID-19 outbreak.

Known as probably the most extensively used fraud scheme in the course of the pandemic, Classiscam targets individuals who use marketplaces and companies referring to property leases, lodge bookings, on-line financial institution transfers, on-line retail, ride-sharing, and bundle deliveries.


Preliminary targets included customers of standard Russian classifieds and marketplaces, earlier than migrating to Europe and the U.S. There are believed to be over 90 lively teams utilizing Classiscam’s companies to focus on customers in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the U.S. and Uzbekistan.

The fraudulent operation spans acrosss 64 nations in Europe, the Commonwealth of Impartial States (CIS), and the Center East, with 169 manufacturers used to hold out the assaults. From April 2020 to February 2022, criminals leveraging Classiscam are mentioned to have made at the very least $29.5 million in illicit earnings.

What’s notable about this marketing campaign is its heavy reliance on Telegram bots and chats to coordinate operations and create phishing and rip-off pages.

Right here is the core of the way it all works: The scammers publish bait advertisements on standard marketplaces and categorized web sites, often providing recreation consoles, laptops, and smartphones on the market at important reductions.

When a possible sufferer contacts the vendor (i.e., the menace actor) by the net storefront, the Classiscam operator deceives the goal into persevering with the chat on a third-party messaging service like WhatsApp or Viber earlier than sending a hyperlink to a rogue fee web page to finish the transaction.

The scheme entails a hierarchy of directors, staff, and callers. Whereas directors are accountable for recruiting new members, automating the creation of rip-off pages, and registering new accounts, it is the employees who create accounts on free classifieds web sites and place the decoy advertisements.

Staff, who obtain 70-80% of the stolen sums, are additionally answerable for speaking with the victims by the platform’s chat methods and sending phishing hyperlinks designed to make funds for the bought items.

“Staff are key members of the Classiscam rip-off scheme: their purpose is to draw site visitors to phishing assets,” the researchers mentioned.

The phishing URLs, for his or her half, are generated by Telegram bots that mimic the fee pages of the native categorized web sites however are hosted on lookalike domains. This nevertheless necessitates that the employees ship the hyperlink with the bait product to the bot.

“After preliminary contact with the legit vendor, the scammers generate a singular phishing hyperlink that confuses the sellers by displaying the details about the vendor’s supply and imitating the official categorized’s web site and URL,” the researchers mentioned. “Scammers declare that fee has been made and lure the sufferer into both making a fee for supply or amassing the fee.”


The phishing pages additionally embrace an choice to test the sufferer’s checking account steadiness with the purpose of figuring out probably the most “precious” playing cards.

What’s extra, some circumstances incorporate an try to trick the victims a second time by calling them to request for a refund in an effort to obtain their a refund. These calls are made by assistant staff who masquerade as tech assist specialists for the platform.

On this situation, the targets are taken to a fraudulent fee web page to enter their card particulars and ensure it by offering a password acquired by way of SMS. However as a substitute of a refund, the identical quantity is debited from the sufferer’s card once more.

Whereas the aforementioned modus operandi is an occasion of vendor rip-off, whereby a purchaser (i.e., sufferer) receives a phishing fee hyperlink and is defrauded of their cash, there additionally exists purchaser scams.

This entails a fraudster contacting a legit vendor beneath the guise of a buyer and sending a bot-generated pretend fee type impersonating a market allegedly for verification functions. However as soon as the vendor enters their financial institution card data, an quantity equal to the product’s value is deducted from their account.

Your complete assault infrastructure operated by Classiscammers includes 200 domains, 18 of which have been created to trick the customers of an unnamed Singaporean categorized web site. Different websites within the community pose as Singaporean shifting firms, European, Asian, and Center Jap categorized web sites, banks, marketplaces, meals and crypto manufacturers, and supply firms.

“Because it sounds, Classiscam is much extra complicated to deal with than the traditional kinds of scams,” Group-IB’s Ilia Rozhnov siad. “In contrast to the traditional scams, Classiscam is absolutely automated and may very well be extensively distributed. Scammers may create an inexhaustible record of hyperlinks on the fly.”

“To complicate the detection and takedown, the house web page of the rogue domains all the time redirects to the official web site of a neighborhood categorized platform.”

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