Značka: Scams

Chinese police unearth multi-million dollar DeFi rug pull

Beijing’s crackdown on crypto continued with the start of the new year as Chinese police froze nearly 6 million yuan ($1 million) worth of crypto and arrested eight people involved with it. As per a report published in Nikkei Asia, the public security bureau of Chizhou unearthed a crypto rug pull fraud that could be worth 50 million yuan ($7.8 million). The police began an investigation after an investor lost 590,000 yuan worth of crypto in June last year. The trail of the inquiry led to eight people living in different provinces. The police also seized luxury cars, villas and other expensive items from the accused that were allegedly purchased using the defrauded money.The fraudulent DeFi program lured investors with promises of high returns by swapping liquidity. However, after investors put in their money, the scammers laundered the money from anonymous pools and got away with all the funds. The Chizhou public security said:”After the investigation and analysis by the police task force, it was found that this case was a typical case of illegally obtaining virtual currency by using blockchain technology.”Rug pulls have become one of the most common scams in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, as it is comparatively easier to pull off. According to Chainalysis data investors lost over $2.8 billion to rug pulls in 2021. These types of scams often lure investors promising high returns, and once the pool has got enough capital, the scammers run away with all the money. Chainalysis report said: “Rug pulls have emerged as the go-to scam of the DeFi ecosystem, accounting for 37% of all cryptocurrency scam revenue in 2021, versus just 1% in 2020.”Related: CertiK identifies Arbix Finance as a rug pull, warns users to steer clearWhile crypto use for criminal activities is estimated to be around 1% of the total circulation supply, the growing scams in the DeFi space have affected investors’ confidence. However, it is also important to note that these scams often prey on the vulnerabilities of the end-user rather than an inherent issue with the crypto technology. This is evident from the top15 biggest rug pull data that shows most of the big scams happened with new tokens promising high returns.

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Battle of the bots: WTF token launch drains 58 ETH

Fees.wtf is a simple service that shows Ether (ETH) users their lifetime spending amount on Ethereum blockchain transactions by measuring gas. You plug in your wallet address on its website, and it tells you how much gas you spent. The project released its WTF token in an airdrop Friday. Essentially, users were able to claim WTF tokens as well as a “Rekt” nonfungible token (NFT) for 0.01 ETH. The Rekt NFT grants lifetime access to the pro version of Fees.wtf.According to its Discord announcement, the initial launch planned to offer 100 million WTF, and the “circulating supply will be the main attraction in the tokenomics.” However, it didn’t quite go as planned. Following frantic trading behavior between bots in the opening hours of the airdrop, one bot ran off with a reported 58 ETH, or $180,000. According to Etherscan, 58 ETH was drained from the Wrapped ETH (wETH) and WTF liquidity pool. Social media channels were quick to respond because many airdrop participants lamented losing thousands of dollars in ETH. The WTF team chimed in two hours after the airdrop to calm their ranks:“Immediately on launch there was only a tiny bit of liquidity and there were ape bots that were chucking in 100s of ETH into a pool with an ETH or two of liquidity. They also had high slippage and ended up being sandwiched by the other bots which essentially drained all their ETH.”Basically, within five minutes of the token launch, poor liquidity pool management from the WTF developers left the liquidity pool exposed. As there was low liquidity, bots were able to manipulate the price of WTF to then sell for wETH. The bots battled it out until one winner took home the pot. In effect, the bot stole from users who provided liquidity to the pool, trying to claim their WTF tokens and Rekt NFT. The victor managed to send an “ultra-fast transaction at 3,000 Gwei,” making a 6x return on their initial investment. The WTF team sent out another Discord update two hours after the airdrop, stating, “The core contracts are all fine, this was a war on Uniswap.” The team added, “We hope no one was affected by it.” However, as has become a common occurrence in airdrops of late, many users lost a lot of money. The price graph of the token since launch paints a thousand words. The initial spike shows the bot activity swiftly followed by a 10x loss in value. The official WTF Discord group is brimming with users sharing stories of losing money. Some are “shaking” with rage, while death threats and lawsuit claims are rife.One Etherscan transaction points to one user losing 42 ETH, or $135,000, for 0.000044170848308398 WTF, effectively $0.01.Related: Recounting 2021’s biggest DeFi hacking incidentsAs daylight dawns on the project, some Twitter users have called out the project as a Ponzi scheme. The referral element to the project is spurious. Referrers of the WTF project claim 50% on fees “to make wtf go viral,” while the WTF team earns 4% from each transfer. In total, the WTF team claimed almost half a million United States dollars in token transfer fees in a little over eight hours.Twitter user Lefteris Karapetsas didn’t mince his words: Summing up.WTF “team” made an app any dev can do in 1 hourSlapped a token + ponzinomics on itAnons aped without thinking and lost ETH in gas and claim feesTeam has so far made 116 ETH + 6,168,806 WTF. Roughly around $855,665 and this is getting bigger by the second— Lefteris Karapetsas | Hiring for @rotkiapp (@LefterisJP) January 14, 2022The WTF project states merely that the supply of tokens is “deflationary” and that 40 million WTF tokens will go to its treasury. There is not a great deal of detail regarding the token distribution. Twitter user Meows.ETH concluded their Twitter thread with a zen approach to the controversial project launch: “If you were fortunate enough to claim a big amount of $WTF and cash it out for a profit, be happy. Unless you’re attempting to bot the initial liquidity, don’t FOMO into buying a newly launched altcoin with high slippage.”

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Pakistan to investigate Binance for multi-million dollar crypto scam

Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) reportedly issued a formal notice to crypto exchange Binance in an effort to identify links around a multi-million crypto scam in the region. The government of Pakistan started a criminal investigation after receiving numerous complaints against an ongoing scam that involved misleading investors into sending funds from Binance wallets to unknown 3rd-party wallets. According to local coverage, the FIA’s Cyber Crime Wing has issued an order of attendance to Binance Pakistan’s GM Hamza Khan to identify the exchange’s link to “fraudulent online investment mobile applications.”KARACHI: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has detected an online fraud of Rs100 billion using a cryptocurrency and issued notice to the local representative of Binance, @cz_binance @binance @BinanceHelpDesk @BinanceUS pic.twitter.com/3oukwzmDqh— Innocent Pashteen✌ (@FighterDawar) January 7, 2022“A relevant questionnaire has also been sent to Binance Headquarters Cayman Islands and Binance US to explain the same,” read the notice. The investment frauds in Pakistan were carried out by asking users to register on Binance and transfer funds to 3rd-party wallets under the pretext of unrealistic returns. According to the FIA notice:“These schemes benefit old clients at the cost of new clients and ultimately disappear when they have made substantial capital base worth billions of rupees.”Based on the complaints raised by the citizens, the Pakistani agency identified at least 11 fraudulent mobile apps that suddenly stopped working after successfully stealing the user’s funds. The apps identified by FIA are MCX, HFC, HTFOX, FXCOPY, OKIMINI, BB001, AVG86C, BX66, UG, TASKTOK and 91fp.In addition to directing users to sign up on Binance to transfer the funds, the fraudsters added the victims on a Telegram group for providing “expert betting signals.” Each application hosted around 5,000 customers on average. The notice added:“At least 26 suspect blockchain wallet addresses (Binance wallet address) have been identified where fraudulent amount may have been transferred. A letter has been written to Binance Holdings Limited to give the details of these blockchain wallet accounts as well as to debit block them.”Binance has also been asked for details including official supporting documents and integration mechanism of the APIs that were used by the fraudsters to connect with Binance’s services. While the FIA has proactively blocked the bank accounts that were linked to the suspicious apps, the notice warned:“In case of non-compliance, FIA Cyber Crime will be justified to recommend financial penalties on Binance through the State Bank of Pakistan.”Binance has not yet responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.Related: Pakistanis have $20B in crypto assets, says head of local associationIn December 2021, the president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Nasir Hayat Magoon revealed that Pakistani citizens hold a combined crypto assets value of $20 billion.As Cointelegraph reported, the FPCCI president confirmed the numbers based on a research paper released by the chamber. Supporting the claim, the 2021 Chainalysis Global Crypto Adoption Index ranked Pakistan the third highest in terms of index score behind Vietnam and India.

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Comedian Stephen Colbert spoofs 'Colbert Coin' in response to rise in crypto scams

Stephen Colbert, the charismatic host of CBS’ The Late Show, is once again associating many cryptocurrencies with scams — but doing so by parodying the vernacular of a seasoned HODLer.In a Wednesday segment on members of Generation Z falling for scams inside and outside of the crypto space, Colbert referenced the rug pull behind a token inspired by Netflix’s show Squid Game, in which thousands of investors lost more than $3 million. Together with “certified young person” and staff writer Eliana Kwartler, Colbert debuted an “amazing investment opportunity” designed to obtain people’s credit card numbers, first pet names and the names of the street on which they grew up.“If Gen Zs want to stay safe online, they should invest in this new, amazing cryptocurrency token — it’s called Colbert Coin,” said Kwartler. “With Colbert Coin, you give us your savings, and then we cryptocurrency it. After that, you never have to worry about it any more, my stans.”Colbert Coin, from The Late Show with Stephen ColbertColbert added:“We’re busy turning your cash into future money — to the moon, apes!”The host of both the Late Show and Colbert Report was one of the few late-night talk show personalities to discuss crypto as early as 2013 when the price of Bitcoin (BTC) was fluctuating between $50–$300. At the time, Colbert described the crypto asset as something that has value “just because a bunch of people on the Internet have agreed that it is worth something.”Related: Bitcoin payments are the ‘second stupidest idea I’ve heard,’ says Late Show’s Stephen ColbertFellow comedian Jon Stewart — under whom Colbert worked as a correspondent on The Daily Show — joked about a similar token project using his name in December:And if you like the “website” you’ll love my next project. Crypto “Stewcoin”!— Jon Stewart (@jonstewart) December 16, 2021In the cases of both Colbert and Stewart, their fake projects parody a very real problem in the crypto space: Celebrities who shill tokens that may or may not turn out to be fraudulent. Kim Kardashian promoted EthereumMax (EMAX) in an Instagram story in June 2021—a token that gained 116,000% in one week before falling more than 99% and leaving many investors in the red. According to a Thursday report from Chainalysis, scammers received $7.8 billion in crypto stolen from victims over 2021, of which more than $2.8 billion came from rug pulls. While the report noted that 90% of the total value lost to rug pulls in 2021 was the result of major Turkish crypto exchange Thodex halting trading and withdrawals, all others involved DeFi projects. Chainalysis attributed the prevalence of rug pulls to the “hype around the space” in addition to the lack of code audits for certain DeFi projects.

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The worst influencer and celebrity NFT cash grabs of 2021

The monumental growth of the nonfungible token (NFT) sector in 2021 was a double-edged sword. While it may have transformed the wealth of countless investors and artists alike, it also gave birth to an alarming trend of popular figures who pounced on the tech to turn JPEGs into a quick profit. Here, we’ll take a look at four influencers and celebrities who allegedly threw quality and utility out the window to vacuum capital out of their supporters’ pockets amid a year plagued by a global pandemic, labor shortages, unstable finances and supply chain shortages. Logan Paul For any crypto enthusiasts who don’t know Logan Paul, he is a controversial YouTube “content creator” who has more than 23 million subscribers. His audience is primarily built up of young and impressionable individuals to whom he gladly sells merchandise, among other things. Paul’s NFT project “CryptoZoo” launched around last September and features egg NFTs that can be hatched into hybrid animals that are derived from the combination of two easily searchable Adobe stock images. Paul claims that he spent more than $1 million to launch “CryptoZoo,” and the project’s description on NFT marketplace OpenSea describes itself as an “addicting game that provides real-life value,” although it is unclear what that actually means. At the time of writing, the NFTs’ floor price sits at a respectable 0.15 Ether (ETH) or $573. However, the figure marks a whopping 62% decrease from its all-time high in November. the best part about this: we’re not just an NFT. we’re not just a token. @CryptoZooCo is a GAME… the best is yet to come https://t.co/fK2hzlMFU9— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) September 5, 2021Paul was an avid crypto supporter throughout 2021 and was a major promoter (and alleged co-founder) behind a crypto token dubbed “Dink Doink,” which is now down 97.6% from its launch price with a current 24-hour trading volume of around $15.Jake Paul All good things come in pairs, and Logan’s divisive brother, Jake, also made a splash in 2021 when he milked the proverbial NFT cash cow. The younger Paul’s career has taken a slightly different twist than his brother’s in that he transitioned from YouTube to boxing retired UFC fighters who are known for their lack of boxing ability. Paul is reportedly one of the founders behind the “Stick Dix” NFT project that launched in November and features artwork depicting hand-drawn stick figure people with enlarged phalluses. The project’s roadmap outlines that it will invest $300,000 into influencer marketing and drop exciting things, such as the “Stick Dix” clothing line. Just broke up with my girlfriend because she didn’t mint a Stick Dix @StickDixNFT— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) November 3, 2021

Unsurprisingly, the NFT project hasn’t been doing well of late in terms of its floor price, with OpenSea showing that it has decreased around 98% since its brief all-time high in November to sit at 0.002 ETH ($7) at the time of writing. Tekashi 6ix9inePopular rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, or Daniel Hernandez, reportedly distanced himself from an NFT project he promoted that some investors described as a “huge scam” last month. According to a report from Rolling Stone on Dec. 17, the “Trollz Collection” featuring 9,669 Tekashi 6ix9ine-style avatars, was brought to a halt after one of the project’s Discord moderators apparently went rogue in a botting attack on the group, spamming fake minting links that swindled the user’s funds. In response to the hack, the “Trollz Collection” team decided to stop allowing further mints and capped the project at 4,797 NFTs. Tekashi 6ix9ine also deleted his social media posts about the project and changed his NFT avatar profile picture online to a different photo. An investor named Jacob who withheld his last name out of privacy told the publication that he spent $40,000 on the project due to its ties to Tekashi 6ix9ine and its roadmap, which promised the launch of a blockchain game, governance rights and charitable donations. Jacob claimed that none of those things are yet to surface, with reports of the crypto game slated for launch last November going cold.“It turned out to be a huge scam,” Jacob said. THE BIGGEST NFT PROJECT IN THE WHOLE INDUSTRY !! THEY DON’T COMPARE ! pic.twitter.com/zofOx3AYwR— Trollz NFT official backup page (@trollz69nft) October 26, 2021

John Wall The team behind NBA superstar John Wall’s NFT project found itself in hot water in September after the NFT community spotted that the art depicted in his NFTs appeared to be ripped off from the online game Fortnite. BABY BALLERS #NFT Win FREE Mints!Daily ETH Prizes! Join their Discord for PrizesEntry requirements ⬇️Join https://t.co/ynT4TBKJO9️ Invite 3+ friends to the discord!#NFTs #NFTdrop #NFTGiveaway #NFTart #NFTCommunity pic.twitter.com/lRlq6yuepj— CryptoRocket (@crypto_bearr) September 21, 2021

The “Baby Ballers” collection comprises 4,000 NFTs featuring unique cartoon baby basketballers. The artwork has since been changed to feature original artworks. However, in its formative stages, the NFTs featured background images that looked exactly the same as screenshots from Fortnite, while others had alleged the babies were heavily derived from DreamWorks’ The Boss Baby franchise.John, why is the background of your NFT ripped directly from a Fortnite screenshot? pic.twitter.com/tgcV8XeYaq— themariokarters (@themariokarters) September 22, 2021

“Celebrity cash-grabs like this John Wall NFT coming out show that these celebs think they can take from the community,” said Twitter user Fxnction, adding, “Celebs really think they can come into an industry they know nothing about, never interact with the community, then launch a scam project they’ll abandon in three months?”The team behind the project attempted to do damage control at the time; however, it appears that its Twitter page has since been deleted, while the website is also down at the time of writing. Users on Twitter have also reported that they have been ghosted on the project’s Discord channel. The floor price on OpenSea paints a grim picture as well, down 99% to sit at 0.001 ETH or $3.

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New LGBT token aims for equity but raises red flags with community

The cryptocurrency community has raised concerns about Maricoin, a new token supposedly related to the LGBT+ community, with some people even suspecting the project to be a scam.Launched in December 2021, Maricoin promises to enable a “social, ethical, transparent and transversal means of payment” targeting the global “pink economy,” which is estimated to amount to trillions of dollars.One might question Maricoin’s ethics though, as its name is a portmanteau that plays on a Spanish slur for homosexuals.According to the project’s website, Maricoin runs on the Algorand blockchain, with creators planning to list the token on several crypto exchanges in 2022.The project was reportedly founded in Madrid by local hairdresser and entrepreneur Juan Belmonte, who said that the new token is designed to help the community profit by providing a new payment method for LGBT-friendly businesses worldwide.According to CEO Francisco Alvarez, as many as 8,000 people were already on a waiting list to buy Maricoin as of early January.Despite the token being widely promoted as the “first coin created by and for the LGBT+ community” on many mainstream media channels, Maricoin is not quite the first cryptocurrency project related to the LGBT+ community. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, there are a number of LGBT-related tokens and initiatives, including the LGBT token, which was launched back in 2018.Several industry observers have expressed skepticism over Maricoin, with some even alleging that the initiative could be a scam.“It’s not a coin, it’s a token, clearly a scam to catch fools who want to make easy money with crypto. Their website is poorly made, ugly and doesn’t have a single tech line about how this crypto will work. Not a single whitepaper and their waiting-list form is a damn Google Doc,” one Redditor argued.Related: Beware of sophisticated scams and rug pulls, as thugs target crypto usersJustin Ehrenhofer, vice president of operations at crypto wallet service Cake Wallet, said, “This 100% feels like a scam.”  He noted that the Reuters article on Maricoin didn’t include much skepticism on the project: This 100% feels like a scam. You need to FILL OUT A GOOGLE FORM to indicate how much you want to “invest” in “MariCoin”? Yet @enriqueanarte @TRF publishes this likely scam, without much skepticism. *Maybe* everyone involved is oblivious, but this appears to be a textbook scam 🙁 https://t.co/3TY4NfyDgQ pic.twitter.com/j1ZQaZea8G— Justin Ehrenhofer ️‍ (@JEhrenhofer) January 4, 2022Maricoin did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. This article will be updated pending any new information.

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Terra's Mirror protocol warns community against governance attack

Public blockchain network Terra has confirmed an ongoing scam attack via an official governance poll on Mirror, an in-house synthetic assets protocol. According to Mirror, the attacker launched a public poll on Mirror’s official website, which proposes a freeze on the community pool in case of a scam. NEW MIRROR POLL! ALERT: Poll 211 is SCAM — sending 25,000,000 MIR to itself … #vote on 212: https://t.co/FH6RqTbJ2j $MIR $LUNA #terra— Mirror Polls (@mirror_polls) December 25, 2021According to Poll ID: 211, named “Freeze the community pool in case of scam”, the scammer proposes an upgrade of safer community governance rules in case of a hack. If the hacker manages to get a positive majority on the poll, 25 million MIR tokens (worth $24.1 million at the time of writing) will be sent to the hacker’s address.Voting results of Poll 211. Source: mirrorprotocol.appAs evidenced by the above screenshot, Mirror’s proactive approach to warn the community has seen a sizable increase in the number of ‘No’ votes — confirming the security of the funds. According to WuBlockchain, the attacker initiated Proposal 185, disguised as a request for cooperation with Solana, effectively trying to defraud 25 million MIR tokens from the community fund pool.

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Beware of sophisticated scams and rug pulls, as thugs target crypto users

This year has been monumental for the cryptocurrency sector in terms of mainstream adoption. A recent report published by Grayscale Investments found that more than one-quarter of United States investors (26%) surveyed own Bitcoin (BTC), up from 23% in 2020. With the holidays around the corner, financial services provider MagnifyMoney also found that nearly two-thirds of surveyed Americans hope to receive cryptocurrency as a gift this year. While crypto’s growth is notable, there has also been an increase in the number of scams associated with digital assets. A Chainalysis blog post highlighting the company’s “2022 Crypto Crime Report” revealed that scams were the dominant form of cryptocurrency-based crimes by transaction volume this year. The post notes that over $7.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been taken from scam victims globally. According to Chainalysis’ previous research, this number represents an 81% increase compared to 2020, a year in which scamming activity dropped significantly compared to 2019. Source: ChainalysisScams are the biggest threat for building trust in crypto Kim Grauer, head of research at Chainalysis, told Cointelegraph that while there are many different crypto-related crimes, scamming has become the largest in terms of value received by criminals. She added that scams represent a significant threat to building trust within the crypto ecosystem, as this may prevent people from investing in digital assets.Grauer further mentioned that scams related to decentralized finance (DeFi) have been on the rise this year. With an annualized revenue in all DeFi protocols estimated at around $5 billion, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. More interesting, though, is that Chainalsyis has discovered that “rug pulls” have contributed to this year’s increase in scam revenue. According to Grauer, Chainalysis defines rug pulls as an instance when a person or developer decides to unexpectedly cease a project and run away with funds:“Rug pulls have accelerated the amount of scamming the crypto space has seen this year. In addition to financial scams, rug pulls have exploited different vulnerabilities in the crypto space. Overall, they have taken $2.8 billion of cryptocurrency.” Although rug pulls are a relatively new crime, Grauer believes these cases are becoming common in the growing DeFi ecosystem. To put this in perspective, the Chainalysis blog post notes, “Rug pulls have emerged as the go-to scam of the DeFi ecosystem, accounting for 37% of all cryptocurrency scam revenue in 2021, versus just 1% in 2020.” The Chainalysis blog post also provides examples of some of the biggest rug pulls of 2021. For instance, the AnubisDAO case is mentioned as the second-biggest rug pull of this year, with over $58 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen. According to the post, AnubisDAO launched on Oct. 28, 2021, with claims of offering a decentralized currency backed by a number of assets. However, the project didn’t contain a website or white paper, and all of the developers went by pseudonyms. Miraculously, AnubisDAO still managed to raise nearly $60 million overnight, yet 20 hours later, all of those funds disappeared from AnubisDAO’s liquidity pool. While AnubisDAO demonstrates a large-scale DeFi rug pull, new cases are occurring almost daily. An early Ethereum and DeFi investor who wishes to remain anonymous told Cointelegraph that they fell victim to a rug pull on Dec. 19, 2021. The anonymous source shared that the project is called “up1.network,” noting that many early Ethereum investors were discussing Up1 in a Discord chat group. They added:“People I trusted were mentioning the project so I checked it out. I thought it was strange to see Up1 giving away airdrops, but thought it could have been affiliated with a DeFi token I had. I then connected my MetaMask wallet and clicked on ‘get airdrop’ but kept getting an error message. I did this three times, which gave the project access to my account.” Unfortunately, once Up1 gained access to their account, three DeFi tokens worth $50,000 were instantly taken. “I revoked access after the fact on Etherscan so they couldn’t steal any more tokens,” they mentioned. The Ethereum investor then checked the DeFi platform Zerion where they saw the notifications that the DeFi tokens had left their wallet. Zerion also provided them with a wallet address to where the funds went, along with a message:“0xc28a580acc42294787f44cffbaa788eaa4958056; You gave a web3 site / smart contract unlimited access to your funds (check who you gave access to and revoke here).”While both AnubisDAO and Up1 are examples of DeFi rug pulls, it’s important to point out that the nonfungible token (NFT) ecosystem is also vulnerable to rug pulls. Most recently, the Bored Ape Yacht Club community fell victim to a rug pull when some members decided to connect their wallets to mint NFTs from a link posted in the group’s Discord channel. Even more surprising is that rug pull scams are also targeting mainstream NFT projects. For example, on Oct. 28, 2021, the global beauty pageant Miss Universe sent out an official tweet announcing the launch of its NFTs on the Wax blockchain. Unfortunately, the people who minted these nonfungible tokens were part of a rug pull.As a reminder: DON’T MINT from the links posted in Discord.Due to amazing members of the community, we’ve obtained pertinent information about the hackers.We’re working diligently to fix this. Priorities are restoring the server, prosecuting, and making it up to the minters— Jenkins The Valet (@jenkinsthevalet) December 21, 2021Jessica Yang, an NFT photographer, told Cointelegraph that when Miss Universe announced the launch of an NFT project, she didn’t question whether it was a scam or not because the pageant is widely known. “The price of each NFT was 0.06 Ethereum. That translates to around $230 for one. The artwork also has the beauty contestant’s face and country they are associated with plastered on it,” she remarked. Yang also mentioned that the project was geared toward women, noting that Paula Shugart, the president of Miss Universe, previously stated:“Miss Universe is going to be the first brand in the NFT space that is about women, about women’s empowerment, and embracing the technology, and moving forward. I love it; this is the first one that is away from other more male-oriented spaces.” Given the brand’s reputation and appeal, Yang and many others minted Miss Universe NFTs, connecting their wallets to the platform. Yet Yang noted that the next day, Miss Universe deleted its official Instagram account. She then noticed that her funds disappeared entirely. Yang added:​​”One red flag I saw was coming from their Discord. The moderators kept trying to get everyone to buy Miss Universe NFTs, promising that they were going along with the roadmap. Their roadmap promised monthly AMAs, signed prints, and much more. Even Steve Harvey vetted the project.”Do your own researchAs the DeFi and NFT ecosystems continue to mature and grow, these environments will, unfortunately, be prone to rug pull scams until industry solutions are developed. In the meantime, the best course of action is for users to do their own research. For instance, Grauer shared that every DeFi project should have a code audit available to make investors feel safer. “Many of the DeFi platforms that have been hacked don’t have code audits,” she remarked. The Chainalysis blog post also pointed out that “rug pulls are prevalent in DeFi because with the right technical know-how, it’s cheap and easy to create new tokens on the Ethereum blockchain or others and get them listed on decentralized exchanges (DEX) without a code audit.”In addition to code audits, the anonymous Ethereum investor shared that after reviewing the Up1 site more closely, they could tell that it was fake. “For instance, the team was all anonymous, with just first names that couldn’t be clicked on to open a Twitter or LinkedIn profile.” Even with these precautions the anonymous source mentioned that wallet providers also need to do a better job of keeping users safe:“If there is a questionable site, wallets should seek them out. I believe this technology can scale, but it has to be able to handle these scams. Otherwise, people will lose all their money.” Following the Up1 rug pull, the anonymous source contacted MetaMask and shared that they got a response noting that it would flag the website. It’s also important to point out that while a clear industry solution is yet to be developed, Grauer noted that, unlike fiat-related crimes, crypto payments can be traced to their source. With this in mind, she added that some cryptocurrency platforms are starting to take action to keep users safe from scams. For example, crypto exchange Luno partnered with Chainalysis in 2020 to protect against a scam targeting South African crypto users. Eva Crouwel, head of financial crime at Luno, told Cointelegraph that one of the requirements from a regulatory framework point of view is to be able to monitor and act upon transactions that have a suspicion of money laundering, terrorist financing, sanctions or any other type of illicit activity. She noted that on-chain transactions must be monitored, as well as the design and the development of case management and user interface. In terms of crypto investors keeping themselves safe from scams, Crouwel recommends staying away from offers that sound too good to be true, adding:“Start by doing as much due diligence as possible. Look at the company’s/token’s social media profiles to see what other users’ experiences have been. You should also go through the company directors’ personal social media pages and look into their industry connections and employment background so ensure their history is sound.”

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Indian prime minister Modi's hacked Twitter account attempts BTC scam

The official Twitter account of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi got compromised earlier today, which was then used to share misleading information about the mainstream adoption of Bitcoin (BTC) and redistribution of 500 BTC among the Indian citizens. On Dec. 10, Modi said in a virtual event virtual summit hosted by US President Joe Biden that technologies such as cryptocurrencies should be used to empower democracy and not undermine it:“By working together, democracies can meet the aspirations of our citizens and celebrate the democratic spirit of humanity.”While the long-awaited Lok Sabha Winter Session, a parliamentary meetup intended to discuss the legality of cryptocurrencies in the region, did not conclude the government’s stance on crypto, hackers from unknown origins managed to take control of the prime minister’s account with over 73.4 million followers to declare Bitcoin as a legal tender.Bitcoin scammers declare the cryptocurrency as India’s legal tender. pic.twitter.com/uTe1R7XUWZ— Priya (@supesuonna) December 11, 2021While the hack happened at midnight in India (around 4:00 pm ET), Twitter user Priya was among the many crypto enthusiasts that took notice of the untimely tweet that read:“India has officially adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. The government has officially bought 500 BTC and is distributing them to all residents of the country. The future has come today!”The post also included a link that urged unwary investors to sign up and claim their share of BTC. However, this was the second time Modi’s Twitter account got hacked and was used for crypto scams.Soon after the hack, the unauthorized tweet was deleted and the hack was confirmed by the Prime Minister’s official account.The Twitter handle of PM @narendramodi was very briefly compromised. The matter was escalated to Twitter and the account has been immediately secured.In the brief period that the account was compromised, any Tweet shared must be ignored.— PMO India (@PMOIndia) December 11, 2021

As Cointelegraph reported, hackers were able to breach Modi’s Twitter account back in Sept. 2020. Under the pseudo name ‘John Wick,’ the hackers shared several tweets asking the prime minister’s followers to “donate generously to PM National Relief Fund for Covid-19.”Related: India misinterpreted private crypto ban, says crypto bill creatorThe launch of India’s crypto bill sparked new concerns around the ban of private cryptocurrencies. While the meaning of ‘private’ was yet to be interpreted in the parliamentary meeting, the lack of information sparked panic among investors. Clearing out the speculations around the crypto bill discussions, former Finance Secretary Subhash Garg, who was also the creator of the bill, dismissed the notion of banning “private cryptocurrencies” as a misinterpretation. In an interview with News 18, Garg said:“[The description of the crypto bill] was perhaps a mistake. It is misleading to say that private cryptocurrencies will be banned and to intimate the government about the same.”

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