There’s been no shortage of ICO scams and it’s not surprising to issues are ongoing. Yesterday, I was targeted in a Slack ICO scam by a user who sent a private message in the Request.Network slack group.
The user appeared to be the group owner and sent a message saying the “Request Token Special-Sale is OPEN NOW!” When I first saw the message, I thought I must have missed something, sine I knew the Request TOken sale was set to begin on Friday, rather than Wednesday local time.
Since it appeared to be from the group owner, I checked out Slack group anyway to see what was going on. The private message came to me from someone with the same name, profile pic, and had even included their role as “group owner.” Other than the placement of the role and the timezone, the two profiles looked exactly the same.
Of course, the “special presale” included huge bonuses (up to 80%), which was a read flag – though seeing the trends of many ICOs, not necessarily a dead giveaway of a scam. The message also included their own ETH address for contributions. While there was some talk about these fake PMs in the Slack group, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that someone sent ETH to that address.
This is the first time I’ve witnessed firsthand this type of scam attempt within Slack. Prior to this, I had read about one project’s Slack group being shutdown due to security concerns in the days leading up to the ICO, though I can’t seem to find it now.
This morning, I received an email from Request.Network about the scam, reminding users not to pay attention to any official looking message sent via PM. I’m glad they addressed the issue, but preventing this type of thing from ever happening should be the goal. Something like Twitter’s verified user mark comes to mind, where (only) the real group owner(s) would be identified as verified and possibly even barring non-verified users from sending PMs.
The anonymity of tokens makes ICOs ripe for scams and it’s unlikely all people will stop trying anytime soon. It’s be nice to see more measures put in place to prevent things like this Slack ICO scam, but we also shouldn’t count on it. Like any new territory, it’s important to keep an eye out for yourself and watch what you’re doing.