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Tessa Mero
Tessa Mero

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Jumping into the NFT Space? You're probably going to get scammed. A quick outline to protect your crypto's!

TLDR; don't click links, if browsing web, use browser you don't keep wallet on, don't click links, turn off discord DMs, research projects for validity, don't hold all cryptos in one wallet

You are feeling impulsive and in a rush. You have the case of "FOMO" - Fear of Missing Out. You know that if you don't click that link and mint an NFT within 1 minute, it will be sold out, and your chance of being able to profit significantly will be off the table.

I'm writing this blog post mostly to send to a lot of friends that are new to the NFT space. I've seen way too many friends get scammed, and I'm sick of it. The smartest of the people can fall for these, especially when you don't have a lot of time to think as you want to purchase it as quickly as possible.

Here's a quick outline of common scams that I see even the smartest people fall for. Don't be this person. Be careful, and don't rush into things until you are 100% sure it is the right decision.

These examples are specific to waiting on minting/launch dates, and not aftermarket NFT marketplace sales.

Discord DM's from Admins/Announcements

This is the most common one. These scammers are making possibly millions a day. They make hundreds of accounts mimicking the exact username of the admin (sometimes using Ascii characters) of the NFT servers you are in, and have professional written up messages to send. They spam every single person in the Discord server. A lot of these servers have from 1k members to 500k members in a short period of time, so it's easy to find at least a few suckers to click the links they send.

The link will look so close to the actual minting website. They will sometimes mention, "the website is back up and there's only 500 left!" so you feel rushed to click it before everyone does.

You go to the website, connect your wallet, and 1 second later your wallet is wiped clean of all your money.

How to protect yourself from this scam?

  • Get Discord Nitro - you can turn off Direct Messagse (DM's) across all servers, then manually turn on DM's per server you want to receive messages in. This is the ONLY way. Or just don't open any DMs. Sometimes these DM's look like server announcements and not actual DM's so it can be risky.
  • Don't hold all of your cryptocurrency in one single browser wallet (Meta Mask, Phantom...). Create multiple wallets. Use one wallet for your main wallet for minting with the exact amount of tokens you plan on using. So if something goes wrong, you don't lose everything at once.

You join an NFT project, you see 30k followers on Twitter, 50k people joined the Discord in the last 7 days. It's legit, right? You go to mint on launch, everything goes fine. You pay 1 SOL ($160 ish each today), and everything is continuing as normal. The developers and owner of the project goes silent. The floor price (lowest value of the NFTs in the marketplace for that project) starts dropping. Everyone panics and sells off as fast as possible. Value drops to almost nothing. Then poof the discord is closed down and they are gone.

There's many different ways a rug pull can happen.

How to protect yourself from this scam?

  • Evaluate the number of Discord members vs how active people are chatting. It's easy to add 50k members of bots/fake people to make the numbers look good.
  • Do a Twitter audit and figure out the number of fake users. Usually under 15% means 100% real followers. When it hits the 40%+, you know they buy all their followers. This is just from my experience auditing. Look at their Twitter activity, is there a lot of RT's, likes, and comments on their posts with 50k followers? No activity on every post with 50k followers? Hmm red flag yeah?
  • Research the project owner and artist. Are they all on anonymous accounts? Did they appear out of nowhere? All the members of the team have no followers with brand new social media accounts? No one knows their real identity? (Note: It is common everyone is on anonymous accounts, but it still pays off to do research and evaluate if it is worth the risk).

Twitter Replies with Official Mint Links

I see this common on Elon Musks tweets. He makes a post, and someone replies with a fake Elon Musk account, telling people to click the link, and if you send Bitcoin, you will receive 10x more bitcoin. People FALL for this. sigh

Sometimes NFT projects will announce the official minting website on Twitter. Scammers can use fake accounts that look like that exact account and reply to it with a fake minting site designed to wipe out your wallet and take your cryptos. Be careful with links you click on. Think and evaluate before clicking on any links. The FOMO can wait, your money has more value.

Google searching NFT projects

Most of these NFT projects are new. Created a month before launch, using hype and quick marketing to get their project known. There are a percentage of these that are legitimate with a team that has a great road map and a plan for the project. It's hard to find this, but researching helps.

Sometimes you need to find that NFT project website, and you go on google. You will run into duplicates of that website scammers created that look so similar to the official URL, you cannot distinguish the difference. Even the website looks the same. Clicking the "Minting" or purchase button looks the same and works the same. Except - when you click on mint and you connect your wallet, it just takes ALL your money, and receive nothing.

How to protect yourself from this scam?

  • Always, always, ALWAYS go to the official Discord server and find the channel that says "official links". Always click links from that channel and NOWHERE else. Unless links came from friends who are experienced and you trust.

I'm going to keep adding to this list as I have more time, and I see more people in these communities fall for scams. I'll keep trying to educate others so they don't potentially lose their life savings

People in the NFT Discords posting links

I've seen random people post links to fake websites or NFT's that are exact copies of the project, but put on another marketplace, for half the price. People panic thinking they are jumping into a deal of a lifetime, click the link in the "general-chat" and purchase those NFTs. Then realize the value is $0 USD because it wasn't the actual project.

How to protect yourself from this scam?

  • Like I said above, don't click links from ANYONE. Ever. Never, ever, ever, ever click links.

Browsing the Web

When browsing the web, especially going to random websites looking at code scripts, NFT websites, or anything crypto related, there's that slight chance, (okay it is very common as it happened to me while searching for code samples working with opensea API), that it will randomly try to connect to your wallet. If you hit that connect button when clicking around too quickly on a website, it can potentially transfer everything out of your browser wallet and to their account.

How to protect yourself from this scam?
Keep your wallet on a browser that you don't use to browse the web. Simple :)

Announcements in Discord Servers

I just edited this blog post after seeing this happen twice on two different Discords. A Discord server gets hacked, and they push an announcement to everyone about a secret NFT project ready to mint immediately. Everyone buys in and gets all their crypto stolen.

Twitter Screenshot

Twitter Screenshot

How to protect yourself from this scam?
Is it too good to be true? Is the gas price really low? Take a deep breath and think twice before clicking the mint button.

So for now, protect your cryptos, and be safe. <3

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