Cryptocurrency scams have always stuck out for their ability to innovate and find new ways to milk people of their funds. However, there are times when some old-but-gold operations still manage to get things done.
The latest in these unsavory efforts is a YouTube scam, which was just unearthed. Earlier this week, a member of the Twitter crypto community posted a tweet revealing the presence of a YouTube account impersonating Brad Garlinghouse, the founder and chief executive of blockchain firm Ripple Labs.
@YouTube @bgarlinghouse @Ripple @JoelKatz someone has created a YT account as Brad Garlinghouse and is using this video to promote an xrp airdrop scam. @YouTube you need to shut this down #XRP #xrpthestandard #Ripple pic.twitter.com/T1fZzkHg7f
— Andy_SPQR ⚡️ (@AndySpqr) March 23, 2020
A Fake Airdrop Promising 10x Returns
As the Twitter user explained, the fake account was promoting a bogus crypto airdrop, drawing people with the hopes of duping over them. As it turns out, the account already has over 250,000 subscribers and contains just one piece of content. The video promotes XRP, Ripple Labs’ inherent digital asset.
Uploaded earlier this month, the video’s description promotes an airdrop of 50 million XRP tokens (worth about $8 million as of press time). Specifically, the video promotes a fake airdrop contest that will take place between March 20 and 25. Prospective participants were asked to send between 2,000 XRP (about $320) to 500,000 XRP (about $80,000) in exchange for an airdrop of between 20,000 XRP ($3,200) and 5 million XRP ($800,000).
Essentially, a person who sends 250,000 XRP ($40,000) will get 2.5 million XRP ($4,00,000) immediately from the “contest.” Over 85,000 people have viewed the video already – that’s 85,000 potential victims.
The scammer seems to have already gotten some loot, as his/her crypto address now has 5,135 XRP (about $822). Despite the numerous posts and users tagging him online, Garlinghouse hasn’t made an official statement about the scam yet.
Crypto Scams Are Still on the Surge
Impersonation scams have been on the rise lately, with most scammers leveraging on the power of celebrity to lure unsuspecting investors and play a fast one on them. Interestingly, the issue reaches far beyond just the United States.
Earlier this year, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has called the attention of British investors to Pro-Options, a fraudulent scheme that promises significant returns on investments in binary options and cryptocurrencies.
As the company’s website explained at the time, investors could earn up to 50 or 100 percent in returns within the first 24 to 48 hours of their investment.
The scams have also been especially rampant in the past few weeks, as news of the global coronavirus pandemic has continued to rock various countries and their economies. Earlier today, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) lent its voice to the rising problem of crypto-based COVID-19 scams, explaining that a lot of scammers have been trying to use the virus to play on peoples’ emotions and add credibility to their claims.
As the securities market regulator explained, several hundreds of fraud complaints have hit its desk in the past few weeks, with most of them promoting forex or crypto investment schemes that deliver huge and quick returns. As they explain, these schemes can help provide people with a means of multiplying and saving their wealth.