February 1, 20187min1501

ICO – A scammer’s heaven

Scammers are interested in ICO

Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, a notorious mobster from 1920s, once said “There’s no such thing as good money or bad money. There’s just money.” He implied that the color of money is the same to those who earn it through deviant behavior as it is to those who earn it fair and square.

With ICOs it is the same. Currently, there’s great interest in ICO contributions so, logically, scammers are trying to get their share. scammer’s main way of manipulating the contributors are impersonation of a telegram group admins and bypassing certain ICO’s protocol via emails.

Telegram impersonations:

For instance, somebody asks a question or for an admin in a telegram group. One or two people that are claiming to be this group’s admins often approach him via personal message. At first glance, they have the same name and the same photo. So the contributor has no reason to think they’re not the real group admins, right? Wrong! There’s plenty of admin’s impersonators that are waiting for contributor’s requests. They can only be set apart from the real admin by their telegram username which starts with “@”. Fake telegram admin will then use his social engineering skills. He will send contributor his wallet address and try to lure him into contributing.

To avoid these scams, most projects’ Telegram groups where this kind of behavior was noticed, have a pinned message on top. One can read the instruction and group’s communication policy (as seen below).








Our suggestions:

  • read the pinned message from the telegram group you are visiting. It usually contains info about group’s policy scam alerts (see the photo above).
  • If you’re talking via personal messages, check if the “@username” of a person that contacted you matches the “@username” of the group admin. You can do that by clicking on their name.
  • Be sure that all important messages/alerts/notifications you read are written by a person with admin tag.

Phishing e-mail:

Another form of a contact that scammers make with potential contributors is through a phishing email. This way they are trying to bypass the already established procedure of certain ICO project and replace it with a shortcut to their personal wallets. Contributor’s ignorance plays a major role. Scammers are basically exploiting the fact that contributors aren’t well educated about how the contribution procedure will go and are offering them an “easier way” to contribute by delivering them the address explaining this is the right one.

Here’s what the phishing email we received looks like. (We changed the name of the ICO project to “THIS ICO”):

After much waiting, THIS ICO is proud to announce that our crowdsale is NOW OPEN! You used this address to register to our newsletter so we thought we’d give you some instructions on how to participate.

Firstly, we have modified your contribution maximum limit to be 104.43 ETH so please don’t send more than this or you won’t be compensated. If you are receiving this email then you are permitted to join the ICO but your contribution limit is only guaranteed for 24 hours so don’t miss out!

Secondly, to celebrate our NEW partnership with Microsoft thought we’d give you a 100% BONUS on all tokens sent within the next 6 hours. We guarantee that THIS ICO will double in value within 2 months or we’ll give you your Ethereum back!

Our Ethereum ICO address is:



Our suggestions:

  • Closely inform yourself about the participation procedures. Usually, these are on the ICO’s web page and communicated through Telegram.
  • Don’t send your assets to the accounts given to you through private messages on Telegram or through e-mail (as shown above).

Since 2018 will supposedly be “the year of the ICO” the potential investors should be aware of these scams. They will probably get more frequent and creative. It is up to ICOs to find a way of informing their potential investors so they won’t fall for the scams. By doing so, they’ll prove the ecosystem is healthy and willing to battle upcoming problems while solving them in a sense that will also be beneficial to the future ICO’s.

2100news, as a reliable crypto news hub, strives for accurately presented content verified by the community. As 2100news hub progresses, we can only promise to work hard in the field of providing our community with up-to-date news. That way, we, along with our community, will be able to restrict these malpractices. Follow and be part of 2100news.com.

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