Scam of Crypto Traders in Discord

Scammers continue to hunt for crypto investors. This time, they are luring victims with fake ICO “hype” coins.

Today, we will tell you more about the new hacker scam and ways to protect against it.

Don’t forget to follow these security tips to be protected from online threats.

What is it?

ICO is an initial opportunity for investors to buy a new type of coin. The creators of a new cryptocurrency released a certain number of tokens before free trade on crypto exchanges. As a rule, this type of “placement” is done to raise funds for the initial financing of the project.

The creators of the cryptocurrency receive money for development, and buyers of the digital coins hope to earn on the subsequent growth of the exchange rate — in this, ICO resembles an IPO.

What is an ICO

The ICO format is gaining momentum. According to some analysts, in 2016, there were only 49 such placements, but in 2018 this number exceeded 1,000. Moreover, the total amount of funds raised is not lagging — it has soared from 252 million to 19.7 billion US dollars in the same period.

ICO formats

In a broad sense, there are capped (limited) and uncapped (unlimited) placements. In the first case, the issuer determines the amount that it plans to collect and the number of tokens that will be distributed, and thus there may not be enough coins for everyone who wants to participate.

As the name implies, unlimited placement goes on non-stop throughout the entire ICO. The organizers are raising money “sunset to sunrise,” hoping to attract as many investors and as much money as possible. But, of course, the abundance of coins on offer can reduce the interest of potential investors, so the organizers of the uncapped ICO have to artificially drum up interest around the placement.

There are also several principles of coin distribution. For example, in some ICOs, preliminary applications are used on the principle of “first come, first served” (FCFS); in others, they arrange an auction, where the buyer who offered the highest price receives the assets.

An alternative format that is gaining popularity recently is a randomized queue. Participants register in advance on the project’s website, but they only find out their number at the moment when the queue forms and the sale of coins begins. That is, for potential crypto investors, it remains unclear until the very last moment whether they will get the cherished assets at all.

Unlucky participants run the risk of becoming victims of FOMO. That is, they may get nervous about losing potential profits and lose their vigilance.

One ICO that didn’t happen

Despite all the benefits, scammers also play on FOMO. Following the already established tradition, they start with the mass mailing of messages to participants of cryptocurrency communities in Discord (a chat app that is popular among crypto communities). The text, flavored with emojis, calls for participation in a new unlimited round of ICO, which will allegedly be conducted by a real blockchain startup, for example Mina. As is always the case with fraudulent schemes, the potential victim is greatly hurried and asked to follow the “official” website link.

It is worth noting that the startup Mina actually conducted a placement relatively recently and many who registered for that randomized-queue type ICO did not receive coins. This is what the authors of the new scheme use to tap into investors’ FOMO.

One of the messages in Discord

The following link leads to a fake Mina website. Then, the visitor is asked to go through a simple registration procedure, for which it is enough to specify the name and email address, as well as for some reason give a link to the page in social networks.

Fraudulent the Mina website

Scammers have simplified the ICO process to the scheme “transfer cryptocurrency to the specified wallet — get tokens.” Immediately after the “registration,” the victim is asked to choose a cryptocurrency for payment and enter the amount for the transfer.

Mina Protocol Page

The process of “acquiring” tokens is simplified as much as possible. In our case, we choose one of the three most common cryptocurrencies.

After choosing the currency and the amount, it remains only to transfer money — the site helpfully offers to copy the address of the scammers’ crypto wallet or scan a QR code with a link to it.

The last part of the deception scheme

After receiving the money, the scammers will apologize for making you wait — after all, it’s not their fault the transaction must pass three approvals in the blockchain network, which is, alas, currently overloaded (so says the pop-up notice). They ask investors to wait three hours, and if the coins have not come by then, they should contact support.

It is not difficult to guess that investors do not receive any coins — the money simply goes to criminals. Apparently, a number of people have already been suckered by this scheme.

How not to fall for the tricks of the ICO

In order not to join the ranks of the victims of the following scam, you should follow some security tips.

Think about it. Try to rationally evaluate the message that got to your Inbox. If you take the example of the fake Mina, you should ask yourself: why is such a generous, albeit strange offer not buzzing in specialized communities?

In addition, note how they urge you to follow only the insert message link and send it to your friends. This is a serious reason to be wary.

Check it out. Be sure to look at the official website of the issuer by entering its address manually. Look for what they write about a specific ICO project on specialized resources. In particular, check the same Discord app – warnings about fraudulent schemes appear quite quickly on real crypto project servers.

However, even here, one should not lose vigilance: sometimes attackers fake entire news sites to give their scams credibility.

Also, to avoid becoming a victim of hackers, you should use Utopia P2P to use the internet with complete privacy. 


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