NFT Scams Are More Common Than You Think | What You Need to Know About NFT Scams + How to Protect Yourself

April 8, 2022

You’ve probably already heard of NFT scams all over Twitter or the news, but those are just some of the cyber attacks NFT owners might encounter.

It’s better to stay safe, understand what you might be dealing with, and avoid scams as much as possible. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Types of NFT Scams Should I Be Aware Of?

There are already many different methods cybercriminals are using to scam people in the NFT world, and they keep getting more and more dangerous. There are many ways for criminals to attack their victims, but here are some of the most common forms of NFT scams to be aware of.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams have been around way before the creation of the NFTs, but now scammers are using them to attack NFT owners. For example, a pretty well-known phishing scam in the NFT world involves shady popup ads impersonating popular crypto websites. It’s also possible to receive shady emails from people pretending to be from these companies or claiming that your NFTs are in danger (or any other reason to make you click on their link). These scams will redirect users to a fake website where they’ll be asked to enter their private information like their wallet keys or their 12-word security seed phrases. 

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Catfish Scams

There are other instances in which a cybercriminal won’t pretend to be a website or company and instead will impersonate another person. For example, there have been attacks where someone impersonates a well-known influencer from the NFT community and starts sending direct messages (or DMs) to everyone. These direct messages will ask people for their personal information for many different reasons: It could be to “help” you with your NFT collection or because you just won an NFT “prize.” Either way, the goal is for victims to give out their information believing the person on the other side is trustworthy.

Pump and Dump Schemes

This is one of the most common scams, and it can be hard not to be attracted by it. Some people might publicly hype up an NFT to make the price of their NFT go up to make people believe it’s some wild new investment that’ll make them millions of dollars (similar to what happened with the GameStop stock a while back). Once the price is way up, the criminals cash out and leave the victims with an overpriced NFT that no one will be willing to pay for. Meaning your investment it’s not worth as much as you believed, and you end up with pretty much nothing.

Counterfeit or Plagiarized NFTs

Unfortunately, this one’s another very common scam in the NFT world. People might be selling pieces of artwork that they didn’t create or even have the rights to.

They might try to sell them at a “low” price, so people will buy them quicker. But since they don’t have ownership of that NFT, the victim is left with nothing but an image they don’t really own. It’s like trying to sell a picture of the Mona Lisa for $1,000 and attempting to convince people it’s the real deal. Sure, it sounds dumb when you put it that way, but you can’t possibly know who the owner is with so much art available online.

How to Avoid NFT Scams

As you can see, NFT scams are a dime a dozen these days, so it’s best if you find ways to protect yourself and make it difficult for scammers to target you. The good news is that you can follow some tips to keep yourself safer.

Do Your Research Before You Invest

Before buying an NFT, you should always do proper research. Not only do you need to make sure the person who’s selling the NFT is actually the owner, but you should also check the NFT’s price history. If you see an NFT’s price go straight up overnight, and for no apparent reason, you might want to stay away from it. Likewise, if you aren’t 100% sure the seller is the actual owner of the NFT, avoid buying it. Remember that you’re buying the intellectual property, not just the pretty picture.

Be Careful with DMs

If you use Twitter, Discord, or any other platform, you should be careful with who you’re talking to. It’s easier to fall for a scam when you believe you’re talking to a reliable person, so always double-check you’re talking to the actual person. Even if the other person is actually who they say they are, avoid sharing your private keys or any other type of information with anyone online. Even if it’s a DM from Warren Buffett himself, it’s just not worth the risk. Overall, if you don’t know who the other person is and don’t trust them, it’s best to avoid replying to their message altogether.

Stop Bragging About Your NFTs Online

Bored Ape NFT Example Concept
MininyxDoodle / Shutterstock

The more you share about your expensive investments online, the easier it is for scammers and criminals to target you. Even if you’d never share your wallet keys with anyone, with increased attacks toward you, it’ll be more likely you’ll for a scam. Also, it goes without saying, but make sure not to overshare any type of sensitive information like your private keys on social media.

Be Careful with the Websites You Visit

Avoid opening links that someone sends you in an email or DM, especially if you aren’t sure who’s on the other side. The best solution for you is to enter the website’s URL yourself on your computer, but if you feel like clicking a link, make sure to read it carefully and make sure it’s legitimate. Some scammers might try to send you a link to “0PENSEA.IO” and replace the first O with a 0. 

Never Share Your Information

There’s basically no right reason why you should share your private key, your seed, or recovery phrase online. So the best advice we can give you is never to share your information online. 

Keep Your Accounts Protected

If you’re going to invest a lot of money on NFTs, you might as well take your protection game to the next level. This means that any platform you use that’s related to your investments should be completely protected. You need to use a safe email address that pretty much no one knows about. Also, try to use complex passwords that are hard to crack. That is, include letters, numbers, and other special characters to make it harder. Plus, you should use two-factor authentication whenever you possibly can. And we’re not just talking about things like your wallet; you should protect any account that’s related to your investments. Even if it’s a Discord profile or a Twitter account that you use to search for NFTs. 

Overall, there’s no way to be 100% protected against cyber scams. Unfortunately, criminals keep evolving and making their scams seem more legitimate. Fortunately, scammers are less likely to target you with attacks if you keep all of your data protected and follow the steps above. 

Learn More: Selling Your Art as an NFT | How to Get Started Publishing / Minting NFTs Today

Bored Ape NFT Credit: mundissima / Shutterstock

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