NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hackers are now targeting cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase and leaving investors without access to their bitcoins.
As interest in cryptocurrency continues to grow, the security of investment applications is being challenged.
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CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge spoke to a Long Island man whose bitcoin is now in limbo.
“I really believe my account has been hacked. It should be so, ”said Frank Pinto.
Pinto started investing in bitcoin in 2017.
He used an app called Coinbase, which looks like a cryptocurrency exchange.
A few months ago, he tried to log in, but instead received a warning: “Sorry, the account is temporarily disabled. Contact Support “.
He tried, but Coinbase doesn’t have phone support, so he emailed dozens of times. In the end, they replied, “You will receive a response from the Customer Complaints Officer within 15 business days.”
Pinto was then called by someone claiming to be from Coinbase and allowed them to remotely access their computer. He later found out that it was a hacker.
“So they… took all these steps that you deem legitimate. At some point through this remote access, they told me, “You should log into your bank account as it is associated with your Coinbase account,” Pinto said. “And then I went into panic mode and said, ‘No, no, this is definitely a call from security.’
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But it was too late. Pinto says the hacker managed to withdraw hundreds of dollars from his regular bank account, which were eventually returned to him. But he still can’t access his Coinbase account, which is frozen for more than $ 20,000.
Duddridge spoke with technical expert Ian Marlowe of FitechGelb.
“Are Coinbase and other crypto exchanges safe to use?” she asked.
“I think the jury clearly disagrees with this. It’s exciting … The legal department needs to catch up with technology, ”said Marlowe. “Then people will start looking at situations like this and saying that regulation will become important.”
Until then, according to Marlowe, it is the responsibility of consumers to understand the risks associated with investing in unregulated assets.
“Would you use Coinbase again after that?” Duddridge Pinto asked.
“I don’t like it right now, so I guess not,” he said.
Since we are unable to call them, we emailed Coinbase and received no response.
Their website says the customers’ cash is insured by the FDIC, but Pinto is still waiting to see if he ever sees his again.
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Tech experts say never give anyone access to your passwords or information, and if a company calls you, always ask them to call you back.