Crypto Scams | Through Instagram
Cryptoverse | Universe Least Explored
By cryptoverse, I mean everything from crypto trading, writing (like we do), investing, gaming, etc., that a user can easily do in the crypto space. Say what you may, but the cryptoverse is still in its nascent stage. It is estimated that even today, crypto or blockchain adoption stands at roughly 4% of the world population - in absolute terms, that is around 300 million users from an estimated global population of 8 billion, as per TripleA, an international payment gateway. We all know that it is never going to be 100%. At the most evolved state, the adoption could stand close to 60% or thereabout. Unless countries and governments adopt blockchain or blockchain technology (like El Salvador), there is no likelihood of 100% ever.
Anyway, why are we talking about adoption in an article titled “scam”? It has to do with the adoption and, therefore, people outside the sphere who have no clue about crypto. The only carrot that scammers use to lure unwitting targets in such cases is their greed.
Let’s explore this a bit more with an example closer to home.
Scammers Luring the Non-Crypto Population | The Softer Target
I have been around in the crypto space since 2017 and have come across quite a few scams. Those were learning experiences, and I have grown from those learnings. In the real world, I have got friends from my engineering days to play in the crypto space. Anyway, the understanding at the moment is that I am the “learned one” when it comes to crypto. 😊
It, therefore, wasn’t a surprise that one of my friends contacted me asking if a proposal given to his cousin sister about buying crypto and making profits was genuine. Well, the previous sentence alone was sufficient for most of us here to get our antennas up. But for the uninitiated, it could be a call to explore something they haven’t, or at least that’s what this cousin sister thought.
Interestingly, this cousin has no clue about crypto or blockchain besides Bitcoin and ETH as heard-of names. The way she was approached was also quite remarkable. She received a ping from one of her acquaintances on Instagram about investing in a few coins that would be traded on Binance, and she will be given back the principal and the profit in a few hours. If she loses the principal, the acquaintance will pay it back to her from their kitty.
And this is what that acquaintance’s Instagram page looked like.
I just blanked out the face and the Instagram name. What you see as a message from the State Bank of India is what we receive as an SMS when we deposit funds in our bank.
Now that sounds a bit believable since it is an acquaintance. Also, there is a promise of getting back the principal. The acquaintance would cover for the principal even if the market goes down.
So, what happened after that?
The Instagram Scam Comes to Light
At this point, yours truly was contacted, and the above image and a link were shared with me to check and let them know. Here is the link:
www(dot)swiftlytrade24(dot)com/index(dot)htm [I guess there is no risk in checking the site. But avoid. Why bother?]
The site name itself inspires confidence of a scam. 😊. I did open it and found gibberish full of grammatical errors. There is no way someone would see that and go for investing. Anyway, as I said before, it was the acquaintance more than the site that gave the potentially scammed people an incentive.
I told my friend that it was indeed a scam and to avoid it. Even in real life or in stock markets, this is how scams work, right? No need to be a rocket scientist for that. Anyway, my friend called up after a couple of days and informed me that it was indeed a scam and that somehow that acquaintance’s Insta account was hacked. So, this cousin, all the while, wasn’t chatting with her acquaintance but with a hacker.
The funny part is that even the cousin’s account got hacked. A similar picture post (as above) was posted across all her contacts on Instagram. And anyone who enquired about what that was all about had a response going out from her Insta account. So, that’s how the hacking and scamming happened. I still am not sure where or when the hack occurred or if the above site was responsible for the hack.
The good part is that we all came out without any problem. The acquaintance and cousin have raised a complaint with Insta, and I guess that will be solved soon. But imagine if anybody went ahead and invested their money with those scammers. Too bad.
Since the crypto space is hardly regulated or monitored by agencies, it makes sense for all of us to stay alert. I am sure the crypto community would know about it, but keep letting your near and dear ones know about such scams, so they do not fall for them.
Rest is all fine. I thought I would share this experience with you all. 😊
Image Courtesy: Ijmaki at Pixabay.com