The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States has issued a warning about an increasing number of frauds in the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) industry. Fraudsters, disguised as genuine NFT creators, are exploiting individuals eager to dive into the NFT market.
In a recent public statement released last week, the agency described how these fraudsters operate. Some breach NFT creators’ social media profiles, while others set up fake accounts that mimic genuine ones almost perfectly.
Once they’ve gained control or set up these profiles, they announce supposed new NFT launches. By fueling a sense of urgency with phrases like “limited availability” and teasing prospective buyers with unexpected or “surprise” minting events, they lure victims.
These scammers then lead potential victims to misleading web portals designed to mirror bona fide NFT project websites. Individuals are next asked to link to their online accounts in order to purchase the NFTs.
But, unbeknownst to them, these wallets connect to rogue smart contracts, granting the scammers access. This way, they can siphon off both cryptocurrency and precious NFTs from the unaware victims.
Making matters more challenging for investigators, these perpetrators often launder the stolen digital assets using cryptocurrency mixers and trading platforms, making it harder to trace their illicit activities.
To shield oneself from such scams, the FBI recommends due diligence: double-check any unexpected NFT deals, confirm the genuineness of social media profiles, ensure website credibility, and maintain a healthy skepticism towards tempting offers.
For those who stumble upon or suspect any shady NFT transactions, the FBI advises them to report immediately to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3), referring to themselves as “NFTHack.” They emphasized that providing relevant links, social media information, crypto addresses, or websites involved with the fraud can greatly aid their own inquiries.
This advisory follows on the heels of another warning from the FBI (in collaboration with MI5) on July 7, highlighting the severe espionage threats from China directed at business leaders and scholars.