Giveaway or airdrop scams are among the most prevalent type of crypto scam and are typically posted to Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and YouTube. Since there are real airdrops that happen this confuses users even more.
Other very commonly met scams are "Advance Fee" scams and fraudulent crypto investment platforms with zero liquidity. Send small fee to get big gift back.
Most crypto scams have similar repeating patterns:
- A malicious actor compromises and/or impersonates a social media account of a prominent public figure or crypto exchange- Bill Gates, Elon Musk, The Winkelvoss twins, Vitalik Buterin and so on
- The account begins soliciting BTC or ETH with a typical “send one, get two back” scheme. For any unsuspecting naïve and greedy "investors" who send through crypto to the wallets highlighted on the scam accounts, that crypto will be lost forever!
- No famous person like Elon Musk, Bill gates nor any reputable cryptocurrency exchange as Kraken, Binance or Gemini will ask you to transfer cryptocurrency payments through social media accounts!!!
- All unsolicited DMs about airdrops and giveaways are confirmed scams!
- Scammers often try other tricks like a vanity wallet and incorporating a sense of false urgency - like ONLY 5 SLOTS LEFT, or ONLY 20 BTC LEFT. This could manifest itself as a “Live Video” on YouTube or a statement noting that only a limited number of coins will be “given” away. The goal here is to encourage victims to act quickly and without vigilance.
Once a victim sends any crypto assets to a “giveaway” address, they are gone forever! Due to the finality of cryptocurrency transactions, there is no way to reverse a transaction unless the recipient decides to return the funds.
- 1. Fake YouTube videos
- 2. Bitcoin Revolution scams
- 3. Fake exchanges and investment platforms
- 4. Twitter verified scams (fake giveaways)
- 5. Discord DM unsolicited Spam
- 6. Fake ICOs
- 7. Fake Uniswap clones
- 8. Compromised device
- 9. Fake Ledger and Trezor support
- 10. Sim Swapping
- 11. Social engineering attacks and sextortion
- 12. Fake wallets and Google play store apps
Let's dive in alongside the most common crypto scams out there:
1. Fake YouTube videos
with botted views showing Vitalik, Elon Musk, Bill Gates or other famous philanthropic or crypto person
This scam relies upon those prerequisites:
-Hacked Youtube account with more than 1K subs that is eligible for live streaming.
-The hacked Youtube account (ATO) is renamed to SpaceX foundation, Tesla, Elon Musk, Gill Gates Foundation, Balancer exchange and so on and pushes a live stream showing recording of some real conference to add “credibility” (see above Vitalik) and a fake site gets added to the description.(above in red)
-Then bots are used to generate views and this fools YouTube’s algorithms to display videos as “related” to users who are interested in crypto currencies.
-They also build a fake site with the same “promotion” tied to it:
The fake sites always promise send 1 and get 2 back, in various ways. Anything sent gets lost forever.
“Join the Ethereum”. lol
Scammers will also use so called vanity wallets to make the scam seem more realistic.
For instance a scam related to Elon Musk might have a BTC adders like those:
2. Bitcoin Revolution scams
Those are linked to semi legitimate businesses and often push referrals.
It is usually fake news article and fake video of a famous rich millionaire like Richard Branson or Elon Musk and some lies about them starting the bitcoin revolution. There is often a sense of urgency asking users to sign up for the last slots.
Stay away from those sites.
If you sign up for those they will siphon as much money as they can, luring you that you are now bitcoin rich. but if you try to withdraw, you realize this has been a scam all along.
3. Fake exchanges and investment platforms
Fake exchanges with no liquidity that only seek to rob users.
Advance fee scams
Here is a code - you supposedly WON, but need to deposit first as verification. FAKE!
They are always created recently and offer no real backing of funds. The company registration number phone and everything is usually fake.
They can have real deal phones as well with fake employees, luring investors.
Examples of fake exchanges:
Arizona Energy ✔Today at 7:58 AM
✉lf you are rеading this mеssаgе, you are one оf the winnеrs in оur majоr GIVEAWАY
🎁Yоu аre one оf thе WINNЕRS
In a charitу draw of ВTC, which was аrrаnged bу оur Trading Рlatform tоgether with our dear invеstоrs. In order tо makе pеople hарpy in thе nеw уеаr 2021, we deсidеd to аttrаct new раrticipants аnd thank thоsе whо hаvе alrеаdy registered. The amоunt of thе drаw is 7.77 BTC. Log in to уour aсcоunt or, if yоu arе not аlreadу а member, сrеate аcсount аnd rеceivе уour prize.
💰- уоu prizе is 18.500$ in BTС аt the сurrеnt ехchаnge rate.
💰- Imрortant thе prоmo сodе is vаlid fоr 7 days, yоu сan cоntinuе to invest оr withdrаw the рrizе.
💰- Dо not give thе рrоmo сodе to аnоther pеrsоn
💰- Yоur рromо соde: U2V2KG43FX
Yоu cаn aсtivatе thе prоmo codе оn thе «Settings» -> «Rеferrаl рrogram»
🎈- In casе оf prоblеm situаtions, we аlwауs havе online suppоrt on our Trading Рlаtfоrm
Thе Xlmbit team wishеs уou a Luсky New yеar 2021!
IF YOU DON’T KNOW АNYTHING AВОUT СRYРTОСURRENСIЕS, РLЕАSЕ IGNОRE THIS MЕSSАGЕ
Fake bitcoin investment scam! ADVANCE FEE SCAM!
You need to “deposit first” in order to withdraw the FAKE bonus, and loose assets. FAKE STAY AWAY!
BTCShade, ShadeBTC and so on (notice how it is exactly the same fake site, only name has changed)
BTCShade (notice how it is exactly the same fake site, only name has changed)
BTCHAZE, XLMBIT and so on (notice how it is exactly the same fake site, only name has changed)
LOREBTC (notice how it is exactly the same fake site, only name has changed)
BTCVup (notice how it is exactly the same fake site, only name has changed)
RivBit, BitLisk, LoreBTC, BTCLore, BTCHaze (notice how it is exactly the same fake site, only name has changed)
XLMBIT (notice how it is exactly the same fake site, only name has changed)
BitCupCoins SCAM (notice how it is exactly the same fake site, only name has changed)
Blockexcoin SCAM (notice how it is exactly the same fake site, only name has changed)
BitexBase SCAM (notice how it is exactly the same fake site, only name has changed)
4. Twitter verified scams (fake giveaways)
Often stolen profiles get renamed to Elon Musk and start to offer “giveaways”.
They also use Reply Spam under legitimate Elon Tweets!
100% of those are fake.
Scammers put videos in the replies, that appear to be as if “verified” Elon Musk typed them.
Also use hi jacked Verified accounts hacked or bought from OG users.
They always link to a fake site. Usually medium and then a few Blogger or Blogpost fake posts.
5. Discord DM unsolicited Spam
Good rule of a thumb is Uniswap will never DM you with an airdrop, nor will Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Coinbase, Kraken, Binance nor will the latest hot token be it FuruCombo, DEX, MEX or whatever.
6. Fake ICOs
NotanImaginaryDude lost $140K worth of $UNI overnight. Lets say NotanImaginaryDude sees a fancy new "farming" (YEARNING) scheme called “UniCats”, and decides to invest some money in it. Who knows, it might be the “next YFI” (first big mistake)
Then NotanImaginaryDude decides to deposit some $UNI, and gets the trivial message “Allow this Dapp to spend your UNI” message from Metamask wallet extension.
Naturally they think “Oh sure, this again. As with all the farming Dapps do that, no worries“
And approves the transaction! (second big miskate)
NotanImaginaryDude farms some $MEOW, and happily decides ”Done with this $MEOW game. I’ll pull out all my UNI and capitalize gainz now“
What NotanImaginaryDude doesn’t know though, is that once they approved the contract to use ∞ tokens, the contract can take their tokens at any time. Even after they were withdrawn from the farming scheme!
Bottom line - be careful which site you allow your metamask to interact with.
~Create a ERC20 token (bitCNY)
~Give yourself all the supply
~Say you will be listed on x, y, z (fake)
~"Raindrop" - collect ETH from investors
~Cash out ETH ~$75k
~Investors are left with WORTHLESS token
~Scammer makes Profit
⚠Contracts with emergency drain or
releaseValue()function draining the ETH
7. Fake Uniswap clones
NEVER enter key or phrase! Especially in some dodgy site!
8. Compromised device
Never mine crypto and use a wallet on the same device.
Always use 2FA, best bet is to have a separate Chromebook or Macbook or PC/laptop that is not used for every day use, but only for crypto.
This can be a scary one. Copy and paste the "correct" wallet, but actually it gets replaced by malware to scammers wallet!
Or hacked PC and signed transaction actually signs TWO transactions, one hidden in the background! OUCH!
(see below Hugh Karp NXM hack)
9. Fake Ledger and Trezor support
Ledger does not phone you. Nor do they want your backup phrase in a dodgy portal.
10. Sim Swapping
If you notice GSM service disruptions allay assume sim hack!
Use authenticator app, not SMS!
⚠Enable SINGLE DEVICE MODE to prevent app being cloned (AUTHY).
11. Social engineering attacks and sextortion
Be careful who you chat with and who is asking you for your mothers maiden name or your first pet.
Make sure to scrub off metadata from photos before sharing etc.
(i.e. I have a video of you doing bad stuff, send BTC to avoid getting exposed bla bla)
If you got an email that somebody has a shameful video of you and extorts you, it is a scam.
12. Fake wallets and Google play store apps
For example TRON does not have an app yet, but hackers are uploading FAKE Tron apps to google play store, promising and airdrop.
Fake Tron Airdrop
Fake Youtube Uniswap app wallet
Fake Youtube MakerDAO
NEVER ENTER SEED OR KEYS!
Fake web wallet