Hackers Targeting Cryptocurrency Exchanges, Leaving Investors Without Access To Bitcoin

Hackers are now targeting cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase and leaving investors without access to their bitcoin. CBS2's Natalie Duddridge spoke to a Long Island man whose money is now in limbo.

Video Transcript

KRISTINE JOHNSON: Funds frozen, hackers are now targeting cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase and leaving investors without access to their bitcoin. Welcome back. I'm Kristine Johnson.

DICK BRENNAN: And I'm Dick Brennan. We can tell you as the interest in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin continues to climb, the safety and security of investment apps are being called into question.

KRISTINE JOHNSON: CBS 2's Natalie Duddridge spoke to a Long Island man whose money is now in limbo.

FRANK PINTO: And I do believe my account was hacked. It had to be.

NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Frank Pinto started investing in bitcoin in 2017. He used an app called Coinbase, which is like a stock exchange for cryptocurrency. A few months ago, he tried to log in and got this alert instead, saying, sorry, account temporarily disabled. Please contact support. He tried, but Coinbase has no phone support, so he emailed dozens of times.

They finally responded saying, you will receive a response from the customer complaints officer within 15 business days. Pinto then got a call from someone claiming to be from Coinbase and allowed them remote access to his computer. He later learned it was a hacker.

FRANK PINTO: So they were just taking all these steps you think it's kind of legitimate. And then at some point through that remote access, they said to me, well you should log into your bank account since it's associated with your Coinbase account. And that's when I just hit panic mode and kind of said no, no, this is definitely a BS call.

NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: But it was too late. Pinto says a hacker managed to drain hundreds of dollars from his regular bank account, which was eventually returned to him, but he still can't get access to his Coinbase account, which is frozen with more than $20,000. We spoke to tech expert Ian Marlow. Is Coinbase and other cryptocurrencies exchanges are they safe to use?

IAN MARLOW: I think the jury is obviously out on that. It is exciting. Legal has to catch up to technology. People then will start to look like situations like this and say regulation will become important.

NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Until then, Marlow says the onus is on customers to understand the risks associated with investing in unregulated assets. Would you use Coinbase again after this?

FRANK PINTO: I'm not comfortable with this now, so probably not.

NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Since we can't call them, we emailed Coinbase and haven't received a response. Their website says customers' cash is insured by the FDIC. But Pinto is still waiting to see if he'll ever see his again. Natalie Duddridge, CBS 2 News.

DICK BRENNAN: Now tech experts say never give anyone access to your passwords or information. And if a company calls you, always ask to call them back.