Cryptocurrencies were introduced to the world after the financial crisis that burst out in 2008. They were to be a replacement to the fiat, as people had had their trust betrayed by the centralized system and were looking for assets that would remain unaffected by the economy of a country. This asset was supposed to be fraud proof, tamper proof and also reliable. However all these properties were still not enough to ensure that everyone’s money would be kept safe. Today, cryptocurrencies are considered to be volatile, unsafe and also an accessory to carry out fraudulent schemes.
There have been multiple accounts of people being robbed of their cryptocurrencies through some elaborate hoaxes. Some of them got their wallets hacked, some became a victim to the SIM hijacking whereas some fell for the good old Ponzi schemes.
The platform where most of these ponzi schemes are being marketed is Twitter. Most of these nefarious criminals create an account, name it after some famous cryptomoghul or celebrity to make the account look authentic, and promise to give away free Bitcoin(BTC), Ethereum(ETH) or any other cryptocurrency. In order to participate in the giveaway the users are supposed to send in a few coins that would be doubled or tripled. Imagine falling for that. The users then keep waiting for the promised reward, which never arrives and when the fraudster has accumulated a hefty prize, deletes account, empties the account to which all crypto was being wired and leaves the scene.
To conduct these schemes, there have also been a couple of instances where twitter accounts of various celebrities were hacked, and certain tweets were made of this nature. As a result, people were led into believing that such an offer was made by an authentic source and they ended up becoming a victim of this sham.
Famous Celebrities like Elon Musk, and Vitalik Buterin have been impersonated many times. Both of them have taken the liberty to announce this on their respective accounts that they do not intend to conduct any sort of giveaway. Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, grew so tired of these scams that he renamed his own twitter account to Vitalik Non-Giver of Ether.
In most recent events, a similar hoax was conducted in which hackers took control of the twitter account of Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB), which is an organization responsible for promoting and supporting interests so Belgian business. The hackers renamed the account to Coinbase, which is an American crypto exchange. The name was altered, however the handle name remained the same as before. The description box in the accounts profile displayed that it was associated with the crypto exchange.
Rest of the details of the scam were the same. The tweet mentioned that in order to participate the users had to send 0.2 to 2 BTC to the account number which was listed publicly, and the reward was worth 3000 BTC. This giveaway was reportedly in honor of gaining 30,000 users however the total number of accounts on Coinbase had reached 25 million by that time, not to mention with 600,000 user actively trading on the exchange platform. The account has been recovered and the giveaway scam has also been removed from its feed.
Granted, no one likes to miss out on free stuff, but when it comes to such schemes, many innocent but greedy are led into believing into these swindles and are robbed of their money. Twitter has also taken the liberty to minimize the number of fake accounts carrying out such schemes, but in general, users should be vigilant while using any kind of social platform to avoid getting exploited.