My Favourite Scams these days (Cryptocurrencies, Mining, Forex and NFT scams) — 2021 deep
Cryptocurrency scammers are well known to attract all kinds of scammers. If you were recently contacted by some stranger (via Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram or even Tinder and etc.) that promised you amazing earnings of cryptocurrencies, mining, NFTs, forex or even stocks… immediately STOP talking to them. They are all scammers. Without any exemption. The Chinese Syndrome is the main mechanism that scammers use to get people into irrational behaviour.
The Cryptocurrency world is well known to attract all kinds of scammers. Especially when crypto gets hot (like lately is), scammers pop up on social and many other channels all the time. I took some time to dig into the mechanics and dynamics of these scams (so you don’t have to 🙂 ).
BEFORE YOU READ: If you were recently contacted by some stranger (via Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram or even Tinder and etc.) that promised you amazing earnings of cryptocurrencies, mining, NFTs, forex or even stocks… immediately STOP talking to them.
They are ALL SCAMMERS. Without any exemption.
It started with a genesis scam
I wasn’t paying much attention to the scammy world of the Internet until the 2017 ICO craze when my friend lost more than US$20,000, by sending money to fake an ICO (cryptocurrency project).
Scams are pretty simple but sophisticated and as it press the usual buttons of our most common human weaknesses; loneliness and greed.
These are still the main mechanism that scammers used to get people into irrational behaviour. My friend is a smart, sane, rational person, but well, at that time she was a bit lonely, and then she also turned greedy.
Cryptocurrency OTCs and other Crypto Investments
It took some more coincidences that got me into the world where I helped wealthy institutional individuals to get a glimpse of cryptocurrency, mostly Bitcoin.
In those days, wealthy individuals were still quite inexperienced, plus the anonymity and borderlessness of crypto attracted hordes of self-proclaimed world-class businessmen, traders, high octane mobsters, and all sorts of crypto geniuses, all glued into a bunch of scamming groups.
Scams spread from highly sophisticated ones to absurd ones.
All that is happening could be written into a book one day, but most scams pretty much try to utilize the same trap: greed.
The Chinese Syndrome
In October 2019, just for fun, I took another challenge. In a short span of a couple of days, two attractive ladies contacted me via LinkedIn and FB. Both from China (they said Beijing and Shanghai, but who knows) started a conversation and chit-chat.
The pattern was pretty much like this:
- I am impressed by your profile – We have so much in common
- During the weekend I do charity – I will be happy to guide you when you come here
- You can stay at my house, it’s huge
- I bought this Rolex for my father because he is my hero and because he supported me in my life
- He taught me to invest – I don’t have to work because
- I earn a lot by investing – I will teach you how to invest as you are so special to me
You get the point…
Everything was pretty much predictable, but the scam was well orchestrated. They really took time to build trust and story, sending me a lot of pictures and videos at first. Them (or whoever was the one in the pic) in their fancy houses, driving a Bentley, jewelry, clothes, branded stuff, flashy income charts, and so on.
They (or she) put a lot of effort to build trust, we also had some pleasant calls with the Shanghai one and she sent me voice messages.
So it’s a fair scam, I’d say :).
It was pretty obvious that it is just one person behind both accounts because a couple of times the Beijing one mixed the chat window (ouch), but she managed to explain it somehow. They were also confused a couple of times because I gave them opposite answers. Well, that was fun.
It was a forex scam where you open a test account, do initial testing with fake funds, and experience amazing gains, and then they make you put your own money. It would be the last time you’d see these funds (and probably the ladies too).
Besides the loneliness and greed, they targeted another beautiful weakness; a desire for adventure.
I managed to find all possible excuses why I haven’t transferred money yet. Our “romance” ended when Covid struck China and obviously WhatsApp messages got blocked behind the Great Firewall.
At that time all other similar friend requests pretty much disappeared.
These days — Silence of the wolves has ended
It took until this years’ crypto craze for people to start adding me again.
Conversation patterns are pretty much similar, but if I compare them to Chinese Syndrome ladies, they are way more impatient. They dive into the investment opportunity after a couple of days with pretty much boring pics — and no videos or calls.
Anyways, some scam mechanisms are pretty usual (call it boring) but others are super fun.
Let’s start a countdown: Top 5, listed from boring to fun ones.
5. Married women from the US with BTC investment platform
This is a pretty boring one.
It usually comes with some middle-aged women with some of husband/children pics (the typical type that is crypto genius, lol) adding you on FB. After a bit of non-exciting chit-chat, they mention how their life changed after they tried this amazing platform.
They usually point me to something like https://lopezcrypto.com/home/. You can easily register on the platform, it needs zero profile/email verifications (lol and it looks super creepy), and play around. Just don’t send money lol.
They play on the note of greed, promising amazing gains: If I put 1 Bitcoin in I’ll get like halfback in a week.
Anyways, here’s a glimpse. They claim they are Americans, speaking pretty much good English so I assume they are from the US.
Well said, no risk no gains. Especially if you’re a scammer
She knows the secret
4. Official project fake sites, NFT support fakes profiles and airdrops dusting scams
This is a pretty standard one. Fake accounts claiming they are official representatives (Binance, Uniswap…) and offering you amazing opportunities (haha).
Most of them are claiming they are from the US, but too many would address me as ‘sir’ (not really the American way) and use pretty much broken English.
American woman calls me… SIR?
They usually send you to a web page like https://www.uniswapfund.org/ (Site went down already…), that looks exactly like the official one
They promise you tokens if you share it – Airdrops, discounts, extra tokens if you put your funds in (of course).
Right. Put your USDTs and you get airdrop. With bad grammar
Similarly, scammers use fake support accounts on Discord and Telegram for recent NFT projects, and to my surprise even some experienced people had their wallets drained.
Here is some additional read if you are interested in NFTs and Airdrops…