Some real crypto giveaways taking place has led to a rise of crypto giveaway scams on YouTube, Twitter, Telegram and other social media.
These can take the form of airdrops, scammers impersonating Elon Musk or MetaMask support, and a variety of other things to watch out for – we’ll list the types of crypto giveaway scam in this guide, plus some legitimate crypto giveaways.
List of Crypto Giveaway Scams
The most simple crypto scam takes the form of ‘send me 0.1 ETH, and you’ll get 0.2 ETH back’ – or BTC. That has appeared on YouTube, Twitter and elsewhere.
1. Fake Videos
When watching real crypto Youtube content – in the related videos section in the right sidebar can be scams. Often these are livestreams, displaying ‘live now’ – to grab the attention of potential victims.
These use the name of a celebrity or crypto figure such as Elon Musk, Michael Saylor, Vitalik Buterin and others – with a clickbait headline. Crypto scammers also often use exclamation marks, spell words incorrectly, and use poor grammar.
The video content itself will be real footage of an interview taken from elsewhere – but on screen will be instructions to take part in a crypto giveaway, or a link to click will be in the live chat section, comments or video description, advertising an ‘event’ or ‘airdrop’. Those are scams.
Often Youtube comments under videos – even if the video itself is real – attempt to direct people to contact them on Telegram or Whatsapp. These are scams.
They often make a normal sounding comment initially, then reply to it with several bot accounts, mentioning the @ handle of a trader to follow – that fake trader will be the scammer. Youtube usually removes links, so they direct people to search for a handle or phone number.
2. Fake Tweets
If you ever reply to a large crypto Twitter account, and even some small ones, a scammer impersonating them will then reply to you, asking you to DM them, contact them on Telegram, click a phishing link, etc.
They may also ask you to fill in a Google doc link with your seed phrase or private keys. If you even tweet out the word MetaMask yourself from your Twitter profile, you may also be replied to – these are bot accounts.
Unfortunately neither YouTube or Twitter takes much action to remove bot content. You can report videos and tweets such as those pictured above to get them removed, but more appear every day. Elon Musk himself has also raised awareness of this, promising to ‘defeat the spam bots or die trying’.
Often crypto scammers will pretend to have themselves been hacked, lost crypto, or had some common issue – then attempt to direct you to someone or somewhere that can solve it, although you’ll then be scammed.
3. Scam Websites
Make sure you’re visiting official websites for a crypto project, NFT collection, or anything else. Rather than clicking links sent to you, even if they appear legitimate, type the name of a website into Google and click the top result (don’t click PPC ads above the first result though) to navigate to them that way.
Don’t connect your wallet to a website you’re not sure of – it could be drained of all funds and NFTs.
Even an official website, Discord or other social media channel could be hacked – stay vigiliant. For example the instagram account of the Bored Ape Yacht Club was hacked in April and sent out DMs with a phishing link to followers – admins will never DM you about anything.
You may also be sent a fake email pretending to be from Binance or similar – never click links in emails, just use an internet search to find details on a crypto promotion, if it exists.
There are also websites that claim to help people who fell victim to crypto scams and be able to recover lost funds – those are also scams, set up to scam inexperienced beginners twice.
4. Fake Airdrops
Real airdrops have existed – for example the airdrop of ENS, Songbird and Spark tokens, or the initial ApeCoin airdrop for BAYC holders.
Sadly that’s led to the rise of fake crypto giveways and NFT giveaways advertising an airdrop. Even early investors in Bored Ape NFTs, now worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each, have fallen victim to NFT airdrop scams.
Scammers can buy verified Twitter accounts – with the blue check – on the black market, then buy followers, change the profile picture, and create their own website domain similar to that of a legitimate crypto project – in order to trick people.
5. Rug Pulls
Some crypto assets themselves, and NFT collections, end up as ‘rug pulls’ – attracting many early investors then pulling the rug out from underneath them when the developers – who were actually planning a crypto scam – dump all tokens on the market and abandon the project.
It’s good to invest in crypto projects early, however that also raises the probability of being scammed. For example we recently wrote about Bitsubishi which had an unrealistic percentage gain in a short period of time after launch, before dumping.
Earlier in 2022 the team behind a famous NFT scam, the Frosties collection, were arrested by the DOJ.
Real Crypto Giveaway Examples
We’ve reviewed several real crypto giveway platforms on this site, such as the crypto games project Lucky Block, and ways to earn free cryptocurrency like the Coinbase Earn program and similar offerings on Binance.
Cryptocurrency itself isn’t a scam, however the more anonymous and decentralized nature of it makes it a target for fraudsters. Be careful to avoid fake links and sites.
According to Time, CNBC and NBC over $14 billion worth of digital assets were stolen or lost to various common crypto scams in 2021.
Blockchain data analytics website Chainalysis also reports a rise in crypto crime trends and illicit transactions in 2022.
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