Fake giveaway scams and how to avoid them
Fake giveaway scam is a situation, when fraudster impersonates some celebrity and promises to “give away” a lot of crypto in an exchange for small donation.
It’s a popular form of social engineering attack, where message is spread via social media (Telegram, Twitter, Youtube, etc.). The only goal here is to convince you to send crypto to scammers.
Typical victim story
“There was a link to a new event below, so I clicked on it and saw that he was giving away Bitcoin!”
Sebastian double-checked the verification logo next to Elon Musk’s name, and then decided to send 10 Bitcoin. He waited for the prize to land in his Bitcoin wallet. But timer on website ran down to zero.
“I realised then that it was a big fake.
I threw my head on to the sofa cushions and my heart was beating so hard. I thought I’d just thrown away the gamechanger for my family, my early retirement fund and all the upcoming holidays with my kids. I went upstairs and sat on the edge of the bed to tell my wife. I woke her up and told her that I’d made a big mistake, a really big mistake.”
How it works
In this scam fraudsters produce fake social accounts, fill them with bots and make it look like, as if there is a giveaway of crypto by some famous person:
Sometimes it’s just a plain photoshop. Usually it’s fake accounts.
- (2021–03–16) Bitcoin: Fake Elon Musk giveaway scam ‘cost man £400,000’
- (2021–03–12) Scammers promote fake cryptocurrency giveaways via Twitter ads
- (2021–11–23) Fake Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, Ripple and Shiba Inu Giveaways Proliferate on YouTube Live
In rare cases it’s hacks of true accounts:
- (2021–09–23) BitcoinOrg Hacked: Giveaway Scam Promising Users to Double Their BTC
- (2021–01–07) Rapper HiiiKey confirms YouTube channel hack, fake crypto giveaway steals $70K
- (2021–01–14) Verified Twitter accounts hacked in $580k ‘Elon Musk’ crypto scam
In every situation scammer asks you to send some crypto on an advertised address to participate in the giveaway:
Needless to tell, the only giveaway that will happen — is you giving away your money to the scammer. You won’t get anything in return. And you won’t get anything back.
How to avoid it
- Investigate examples above and additional examples here: Fake Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, Ripple and Shiba Inu Giveaways Proliferate on YouTube Live Most giveaway scams have similar websites / strategies. If you’ve seen 10 of them — you’ll easily recognize a new one.
- Don’t expect anyone in crypto to give you anything for free.
- Check promoted website at CryptoScamsDB (and report it there if you’re a victim)
4. report scammers on Youtube, Twitter, Telegram and other social networks where you see the fake giveaway message: