Ethereum chain scam and how to report scam. The vast majority of these scams happen on either the Ethereum Chain or the Binance Smart Chain. Because it’s very easy and relatively cheap for the scammers to launch these coins over and over again with different names and make lots of money."
Statistics provided by TheHackerspro
Scams in the cryptocurrency world run rampant. Reported scams on tracking site thehackerspro total more than 38,179 ETH (~$23 million) which have been taken from users. And this is only what we can trace!
- Fake MEW/MyCrypto sites: $7.57 million
- Fake ICOs: $4.5 million
- The word “give”: $1.48 million
- Punycode lookalike domains: $507,000
- Fake exchanges: $502,000
- The word “gift”: $459,000
- Elon Musk scams: $322.1 million
- TOTAL: $23 million
This data can be queried and verified on SEC site about how much scams have stolen.
Scams today are so effective that even when someone like Vitalik Buterin adds “Not giving away ETH” to his display name, scammers still copy his profile pic and display name (containing those very words) and claim to be giving away ETH.
Why are these scammers so resilient? Hopefully, this post answers that for you. We’ll explore:
- How much are these scams making?
- What are the most successful themes in scams?
- What trends are we seeing?
Fake MyEtherWallet/MyCrypto Sites — $7.57 million
The data below reflect all scams listed on EtherscamDB that posed as a fake MyEtherWallet site with at least one known Ethereum address.
This has scammed at least: $7.57 million (12,630 ETH)
The Word “Give” — $1.48 million | ethereum chain scam
A “giveaway” is enticing, and one of the most common scams in the Ethereum space. The scam prompts the user to send a small amount of ETH to a destination address with the promise of receiving a much larger amount in return.
As an “Aha!” moment, you’ll notice each Largest Victim entry is relatively low compared to that scam’s Total Scammed value. Why? Because these phony giveaways explicitly ask for small amounts of ETH in exchange for a larger return. They work on quantity, not quality.
The number of cryptocurrency giveaway scams are rapidly increasing and in the recent times we saw many people fall victim to these scams. These Bitcoin, Ethereum giveaway scams are not new. It’s an old free give away trick that we saw it happen on Twitter in late 2017 and 2018 when cryptocurrency prices were soaring. Now during the worldwide pandemic and economic crisis the scammers are back on form except this time they chose YouTube to host their fake Bitcoin giveaways.
Cryptocurrency giveaway scams on YouTube
Scammers now started hijacking popular YouTube channels to giveaway their bogus BTC / ETH giveaways. The thing is you don’t have to search these channels. They will frequently appear on your YouTube feed as an advertisement. Especially if you have subscribed to any crypto related channels. These ads claim famous people giving away Bitcoin.
During the recent SpaceX launch many thought the promotion is legit and got scammed. According to a report by bleeping computer scammers have racked up to $150000 in BTC in just 2 days. To conduct these cryptocurrency giveaways; scammers hacked legitimate YouTube accounts and impersonated Elon Musk’s SpaceX channel. They rename the hijacked channel to “SpaceX” or “SpaceX Live” and then perform giveaways promising you double the amount of BTC in return of what you send them.
For years they seem to spot a profitable trend like for example BTC halving and impersonate famous personalities like: Tesla CEO Elon Musk, CZ Binance, Vitalik Buterin, Twitter CEO Jack, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse, Michael Bloomberg and venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya. Now it seems like they started impersonating Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos.
Somehow scammers seem to hijack popular YouTube channels first and some of the hijacked channels are reported to have more than 100k to 300k subscribers. Maybe it’s because the owner of the channel used week login credentials like flimsy passwords or not using 2FA could be the reason for the hack.
After taking over popular channels; hackers change the branding and rename the channel to something famous such as: SpaceX, Space X live or Jeff Bezos depending on what’s currently trending.
They then start live streaming some old recorded footage of Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos being interviewed. The broadcast seems like a live event and they promise you significant returns if you send them a small amount of Bitcoins.
These videos states:
To participate you just need to send 0.1 BTC to 20 BTC to the contribution address and we will immediately send you back 0.2 BTC to 40 BTC to the address you sent it from
Are people still getting scammed to these old technique?
Along with the Elon Musk’s recorded video you’ll also see live transaction feed to the scammers BTC address which is also fake. It’s all randomly generated and the amount of viewers watching the broadcast will make you feel the promotion is legit. It is all mostly bots viewing the live stream and commenting.
This has scammed at least: $1.48 million (2,482 ETH
The Word “Gift” — $459,000
Give vs. gift — which one is more meaningful?
It’s hard to say for sure, as our data rely on what users report most often, and what addresses we know about. Give seems to be more common, though, with 103 entries to gift’s 43.
This has scammed at least: $459,000 (765 ETH)
Punycode Domains — $507,000
Browsers support displaying character encodings beyond the English alphabet you’re used to seeing. “Punycode” allows attackers to purchase domain names containing these alternate encodings using only ASCII characters. For example:
The subtle discrepancies in the “e”s might go unnoticed, and the TLS “Secure” icon would only serve to further trick a user.
The ASCII character set does not deal with these symbols, so to represent these alternate encodings in ASCII, you would use an ASCII Compatible Encoding (ACE) prefix of “xn- -”. This tells the computing world to treat the text not as ASCII, but as an alternate encoding to render to the user.
These are all the Punycode domains reported on ETH
This has scammed at least: $507,000 (845 ETH)
Exchanges — $502,000
Spoofing cryptocurrency exchanges is a popular way to convince users to send ETH or give up their private keys.
No exchange is immune, so below is a list of all exchange-related scams listed on EtherscamDB with at least one known address.
This has scammed at least: $502,000 (838 ETH)
Fake ICOs — $4.5 million
At the time of this writing, Etherscan says there are 92,945 ERC20 token contracts deployed on mainnet. And that’s only ERC20 — that doesn’t include any of the more recent standards.
Many of these token contracts had a token sale associated with them. If they gained even a modest amount of traction, scammers certainly tried to spoof them.
This has scammed at least: $4.5 million (7,513 ETH)
We can break down the data into specific token sales, too. One example (not pictured in the truncated output above) is Telegram.
Telegram — $75,600
Telegram had an ICO planned which created plenty of excitement in the crypto space. Naturally, scammers took notice.
This has scammed at least: $75,600 (126 ETH)
Besides institutions, scammers impersonate high-profile individuals.
For whatever reason, Elon Musk has become a popular target to impersonate for Ethereum scammers.
This has scammed at least: $32,000 (54 ETH)
Total — $23 million
Take all the scams reported on TheHackerspro with confirmed addresses associated with them, de-dupe any aliased scams, and sum all incoming transaction history to their addresses. That’s a total of about $23 million (38,179 ETH) going to these scams.
And these are just the scams we can trace! Thousands exist without any confirmed addresses tied to them. Thousands more exist that have never been reported!
How To Protect Yourself And Others
There was a recent global bust related to child exploitation, for example, that was built on bitcoin addresses so it is false that bitcoin transactions are “untraceable”.
Information other than bitcoin addresses can also help. The fraudulent company must have had a website, email addresses, maybe they phoned you. Any of those details may,
in some cases, help find the perpetrators. It is certainly possible to ‘cover your tracks’, but not everybody does this and does it correctly.
I imagine that there is nothing worse than being scammed out of your hard-earned money or Bitcoin.
The suggestions provided above might not always be unique to your situation, but you should always try whatever options are available before giving up.
Also, Try to find a way to connect with other victims so that the importance of your case is increased.