Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique digital assets that can represent anything from art to music to domain names. They have become a popular way for creators and collectors to monetize their work and passion. However, they have also attracted the attention of criminals who are looking to scam unsuspecting buyers and steal their cryptocurrency and NFTs.
The FBI warns of criminal actors posing as legitimate NFT developers in financial fraud schemes targeting active users within the NFT community. Criminals either gain direct access to NFT developer social media accounts or create almost identical accounts to promote new NFT releases. Fraudulent posts often aim to create a sense of urgency, using phrases like “limited supply,” and refer to the promotion as a “surprise” or previously unannounced mint.
How do they scam users?
The scammers provide links in these announcements that are phishing links directing victims to a spoofed website that appears to be a legitimate extension of a particular NFT project. The spoofed websites invite victims to connect their cryptocurrency wallets and purchase the NFT. The victims unknowingly connect their cryptocurrency wallets to a drainer smart contract, resulting in the transfer of cryptocurrency and NFTs to wallets operated by criminals.
A drainer smart contract is a type of malicious code that executes an agreement or transaction that transfers digital assets from one or more parties entering into the agreement. The contents stolen from victims’ wallets are often processed through a series of cryptocurrency mixers and exchanges to obfuscate the path and final destination of the stolen NFTs.
How can users protect themselves?
The FBI requests victims report these fraudulent or suspicious activities to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov. Be sure to include any links, social media accounts, crypto accounts, or domains utilized in the scam. Please include the keywords “NFTHack.”
The FBI also recommends NFT consumers take the following precautions:
– If a well-known NFT project announces a surprise NFT opportunity, research if the developer has revealed surprise opportunities in the past or if they have made statements that they will never offer surprise mints. Many criminal actors prey on victims’ sense of urgency whenever a surprise opportunity is announced.
– Check to ensure the social media account advertising the opportunity is the legitimate account of the development team and not a cloned account made to look like the real thing. Any discrepancies in spelling, account history, screen name, followers, or creation date indicate the account proclaiming the opportunity is fake.
– When accessing websites that request to connect a cryptocurrency wallet, look to see if the website is real and not a clone of the legitimate website. Indicators of this would be a misspelled web domain name, a URL with additional or unnecessary characters, or links on the webpage that either do not work or reroutes users back to the main page.
– Vet any opportunity that offers NFTs as a reward, especially if it feels too good to be true.
NFTs are an exciting and innovative way to create and collect digital art, but they also come with risks. Be vigilant and informed before buying or selling any NFTs, and don’t fall for scams that could cost your hard-earned crypto and NFTs.
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Foto de Dylan Calluy en Unsplash.
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