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India: Latest crypto scam might scare you of investing in new tokens

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India: Latest crypto scam might scare you of investing in new tokens

The world of cryptocurrencies has garnered much attention thanks to the number of scams associated with the industry. Well, on 6 September, another scam was added to the list.

The Thane Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Maharashtra, India arrested two people on accusations of conducting a crypto scam.

The detained parties defrauded at least 1,400 people and used fake cryptocurrency tokens to dupe investors of their money. ‘Magic 3x’ and ‘SMP’ were the names of their fake crypto tokens.

The arrests were made on 10 August and authorities conducted raids in areas of Mumbai, India to track the fraudsters. 

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The inside of the scam

The plan consisted of enticing investors with claims of enormous rates of return. The rate of return increased as their investment did. Not to forget, there were no exchange listings for these SMP and Magic 3x, the alleged crypto tokens.

As of press time, the investigation was underway.

That being said, Indian investors continue to be fascinated by cryptocurrencies despite harsh market conditions.  

Reportedly, Indian customers accessed cryptocurrency fraud websites more than 9.6 million times in 2021 alone.

According to Chainalysis, a software platform that tracks illegal activity related to cryptocurrency transactions, popular scam websites in India, include coinpayu.com, adbtc.top, hackertyper.net, dualmine.com, and coingain.app, among others. Indian consumers visited these five websites a total of 4.6 million times.

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As a result of these rising crimes, every crypto firm and activity is under the close attention of the Indian government. And, latest to the case, Indian crypto exchange Wazir X recently faced the wrath of the Indian ED. 

As per an anonymous government source, the ED investigation into cryptocurrency exchange WazirX has revealed the ‘darker side’ of cryptocurrencies. Allegations of WazirX’s involvement in money laundering are being looked into by the ED.

Furthermore, as part of the ongoing investigation, the agency has also frozen bank deposits worth 64.67 crores (approximately 665 million). 

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Ser Suzuki Shillsalot has 8 years of experience working as a Senior Investigative journalist at The SpamBot Times. He completed a two-hour course in journalism from a popular YouTube video and was one of the few to give it a positive rating. Shillsalot’s writings mainly focus on shilling his favourite cryptos and trolling anyone who disagrees with him. P.S – There is a slight possibility the profile pic is AI-generated. You see, this account is primarily used by our freelancer writers and they wish to remain anonymous. Wait, are they Satoshi? :/

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Buterin

Crypto giants criticize Twitter on scam, bot accounts impersonating them

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Crypto giants criticize Twitter on scam, bot accounts impersonating them

Crypto giants criticize Twitter on scam, bot accounts impersonating them Oluwapelumi Adejumo · 2 hours ago · 2 min read

Vitalik Buterin has described the bot menace as a “complete failure of blue checkmarks in their current form.”

2 min read

Updated: October 4, 2022 at 6:14 pm

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Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

Stakeholders in the crypto community are complaining about the prevalence of scam bots accounts on Twitter, urging the social media site to find a solution to the menace.

Ripple’s (XRP) CEO Brad Garlinghouse shared a mail where the social media platform refused to block an account impersonating him, saying the account was “not in violation of Twitter’s misleading and deceptive identities policy.”

I can’t believe I’m still doing this – @TwitterSupport, it’s embarrassing when you can’t distinguish a real profile from a fake one. Verified scam accounts are now replying to tons of crypto tweets with my image, @VitalikButerin’s or @CZ_Binance’s. (watch it happen to this tweet) pic.twitter.com/wx9LzR75YR

— Brad Garlinghouse (@bgarlinghouse) October 3, 2022

According to Garlinghouse, the social media site’s inability to stop the menace has allowed scammers to take advantage of thousands of unsuspecting individuals.

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Before Ripple’s CEO complaints, stakeholders like Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, Ethereum (ETH) cofounder VItalik Buterin and Cardano’s (ADA) founder Charles Hoskinson have raised issues about the prevalence of these bot accounts impersonating them.

Scammers buy Twitter accounts

CZ revealed that scammers now buy accounts he follows.

pic.twitter.com/EHN3bGmEDQ

— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) September 28, 2022

The Binance CEO shared a screenshot where someone claimed they were offered $100,000 to shill a project under his tweet, with two other users sharing screenshots of scammers offering to buy their account for $10,000 and $5,000 because CZ follows them.

CZ’s account is private, meaning only those he follows or mentions can comment under his tweets.

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Hoskinson also alerted his followers to a fake verified account with his name, urging them to help report it.

Fake verified hoskinson. Please report https://t.co/sRWKdSsQpt

— Charles Hoskinson (@IOHK_Charles) September 22, 2022

Meanwhile, Buterin has described the bot menace as a “complete failure of blue checkmarks in their current form.” According to him, Twitter should be turned into an open API where third parties are involved in helping to solve the problems.

So many scam accounts have blue checkmarks these days.

Seems like a complete failure of blue checkmarks in their current form. I’m definitely seeing the wisdom of turning twitter into an open API and letting third parties try to make the best UIs to solve these problems. pic.twitter.com/CIwAdpRAkv

— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) October 1, 2022

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Crypto scams on Twitter

Before the proliferation of bots on Twitter, the social media site had been used by malicious players to carry out several scam acts.

The accounts of notable names in the space, like Beeple, alongside non-players in the industry like the British Army, have previously been hacked to promote crypto scams.

Twitter, Musk, and bots

Elon Musk had raised Twitter’s bot issues while he was trying to acquire the firm. According to the Tesla CEO,  his investigations into the social media company showed that bot accounts on the platform were more than the official figure released by the firm.

However, Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal has maintained that bots account for less than 5% of the platform’s users. The social network and Musk are currently embroiled in a legal tussle over the $44 billion acquisition deal.

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Crypto Scams

Indian ED freezes USDT and WazirX’s WRX, here’s why

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Indian ED freezes USDT and WazirX’s WRX, here’s why

The Indian Directorate of Enforcement (ED) revealed that it froze the assets of a mobile gaming application called E-nuggets. The ED froze WRX [WazirX] and USDT [Tether] cryptocurrencies that were worth INR 47.64 lakhs. 

Fraud after fraud

The agency responsible for enforcing economic laws in India froze assets that belonged to the prime accused and his associates. Furthermore, as per information from the ED, the funds have been frozen under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) of India. 

The investigation was prompted by a police complaint that was filed on 15 February 2021 under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The complaint was made against the alleged and his associates by Federal Bank authorities in Kolkata, West Bengal in the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s court.

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While shedding more light on the alleged fraud, the ED also stated that E-nuggets was created with the sole purpose of defrauding the public. The agency further explained, 

“After collecting sizeable amount of money from the public, all of a sudden withdrawal from the said app was stopped on one pretext or the other. Thereafter, all data including profile information was wiped off from the said app servers.” 

More than what meets the eye 

News of this freeze came days after the ED froze more than 77 Bitcoin [BTC] in light of the same case. The seized BTC was worth INR 12.83 crores as per ED’s press release. Furthermore, the coins were uncovered during an investigation into the accused’s business activities. 

The agency further stated that the accused transferred the gained amount to an overseas account using crypto exchanges. One such account was created on the Indian crypto exchange WazirX.

The account was reportedly used to purchase cryptocurrencies and transfer them abroad into an account created on crypto exchange Binance.

A search operation carried out on the premises of the accused led to the seizure of INR 17.3 crore in cash. Further investigation still remains underway. 

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Although an indirect case, this won’t be the first time that WazirX had an issue with the ED. The year 2022 witnessed the crypto exchange have multiple run-ins with the ED.

The exchange’s bank accounts were unfrozen just last month, following a week’s-long investigation into alleged fraud on the instant loans app. 

Ser Suzuki Shillsalot has 8 years of experience working as a Senior Investigative journalist at The SpamBot Times. He completed a two-hour course in journalism from a popular YouTube video and was one of the few to give it a positive rating. Shillsalot’s writings mainly focus on shilling his favourite cryptos and trolling anyone who disagrees with him. P.S – There is a slight possibility the profile pic is AI-generated. You see, this account is primarily used by our freelancer writers and they wish to remain anonymous. Wait, are they Satoshi? :/

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Altcoins

Garlinghouse, XRP giveaway, and PwC – The latest on the scam that had it all

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Garlinghouse, XRP giveaway, and PwC – The latest on the scam that had it all

Crypto-scams seem to have penetrated the industry to promote a few individual cryptos. Likewise, high-profile social media accounts have also fallen victim to unethical activities by hackers to promote crypto-scams. This could include both Bitcoin, as well as altcoins to achieve their agenda.

The present episode, in many ways, is no different either.

Spare no one… right?

One of the largest firms within the audit and assurance sector, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC)’s Venezuelan branch, is the latest to fall victim to the same. This time – An XRP-related scam.

The verified Twitter account, in order to promote the blatantly obvious XRP scam, recently tweeted,

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#xrp go go go……….. https://t.co/rcG6ZP8ak1

— PwC Venezuela (@PwC_Venezuela) September 4, 2022

In order to promote the alleged scam, the blog added,

“To celebrate the global power of #XRP we are proud to announce initiating the annual airdrop pool of 100 000 000 XRP to every Ripple user. Nothing we do at Ripple Labs would be possible without our community, and this is just a part of our efforts to assert that.”

In fact to further inject some certainty, hackers associated this big event with the presence of Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

Now, there is one important Q to be asked here. Did the aforementioned in any way have any impact on XRP’s performance on the charts?

Surprisingly, yes. XRP, at the time of writing, was up by 3% as it traded above $0.33 on the charts. As a matter of fact, XRP’s trading volume saw a much-needed uptick, one that helped stabilise its falling curve.

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Source: Santiment

At press time, XRP’s trading volume was around the 350M-mark, with the same still appreciating on the charts. What this underlined was that traders/investors, irrespective of the size, jumped back into this pool.

In addition to this, cryptocurrency watchdog WhaleAlert reported that there had been some large XRP transactions of late. Just less than 24 hours ago, three XRP whale transfers happened in quick succession. They all amounted to 144.3 million XRP tokens worth $48 million.

Needless to say, it’s difficult to conclusively link the aforementioned with the uptick in XRP’s value. Even so, that’s an intelligent guess to be made.

Is it the first time? 

Well, that’s far from being a reality.

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Here’s one NFT version – A hacker compromised the social media accounts of the British Army in July to push people towards cryptocurrency scams. During the episode, the Army’s Twitter and YouTube profiles were taken over by the hacker.

The Twitter account’s name was changed to “pssssd” and its profile and banner pictures were changed to resemble a non-fungible token (NFT) collection called “The Possessed.”

On the altcoin front, the DOGE community too witnessed something similar to promote a giveaway scam. In fact, the official Dogecoin handle was soon posting warnings about a scam making rounds on the social media platform. Back then too, DOGE recorded a price hike on the charts, with the question again arising – At what cost?

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