Anatomy of a Crypto Scam. - An Audius Drop, A Browser Based Wallet, and a Random Discord Message.
posted 27 Sep 2021 by Krister Axel
I make the mistakes so you don't have to.

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So there I was doing some research on the story I'm writing about Kid Travis, who engages his fans on Discord which is, for those of you not familiar, a messaging app that is popular with software developers and music fans and indie communities of all sorts. It's growing really quickly, and like all things that get past a certain point of high traffic, the spamming and criminal minds have really taken hold. I am a member of the Audius message group, which I wrote about earlier. I have been investing a lot of time and some money as well in the process of getting back up to speed on the state of crypto, the mining scene, and all the new altcoins that are coming out. I remember joining up with Audius last year as just a streaming platform, but they were very clear about the fact that they were releasing a new coin, and I would have invested in them sooner, and probably seen a pretty nice return, but they were not available on coinbase and I just didn't want to jump through the hoops necessary to find a way to invest. That's what the piece I wrote about last week covers, so click here if you're curious about that.

Apparently it is very easy for scammers to connect with a list of accounts that follow a certain channel, so the way it works is like this.

The Message

First, you get a message from a user that seems legit, and at first glance, it sounds like an opportunity. Now I am fully aware that I made some bad calls here, so please be kind in terms of the comments. The lesson has to be that in the world of crypto, and really everywhere else as well, we just have to always be on alert for bad actors. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and that's why the blame falls squarely on me for this one. They set me up and I fell right into the trap.

The message led me to a fake page, and now looking back, I realize that none of the links worked. ALWAYS CHECK THE LINKS!

The Wallet Connection

The message says to connect to your wallet in order to receive your 'drop.' Now to be fair, this is not completely out of the ordinary. Earlier this year when the $AUDIUS token was just becoming more mainstream, there was a legitimate coin giveaway for accounts that already had their wallet set up. This is why the deception was so effective in my case — I still feel like I missed the boat on that one, which is why I was so quick to jump on this. Again, not the smartest move on my part.

And finally, another red flag was that the auto-approve was checked. I just clicked yes without actually processing that — always read the terms carefully. I think simply unchecking the box would have saved me as well.

The last tell was that in order to process the transaction, I ostensibly needed Solano in my wallet to cover the transaction fee. And again, I should have known better.

So I transferred a bit of Solano from my coinbase account, and at very least I sent the minimum amount, so my losses were pretty low. But still.

The Grab

I clicked on 'Claim Airdrop' and the balance I had transferred from coinbase was instantly replaced with barely a dollar's worth of Solano. And that's what it's like to be taken for a ride. It only took 5 minutes of my time.

Crypto is great because no one controls it. But if you send coins to the wrong person, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

This is the Solano wallet address that has my money: D6aNHtCAJuE9TDMnVNWLpv5BDB32Vn3ACpMhCixndGNY

It's gone forever. Whoever it is spent some time building a website and registering the domain and configuring the browser interaction with Phantom App. Well, I am not feeling particularly intelligent this morning.

Be careful out there.


Cover photo by Bermix Studio.

Read this story on Apple News.

About the Author


Krister Bjornson Axel

Ogdensburg, New York

Paris, France. Madison, Wisconsin. Los Angeles. Ashland, Oregon. Ottawa. I write music, I write about music, and I write code. See also: photography, prose, podcasting. I have 1 gorgeous wife, 2 amazing kids, and many interests.

Recent Awards: 2020 ND (Photo) Honorable Mention, 2020 Accenti Writing Contest Finalist