"Keep your guard up, always."
It can be shockingly easy for scammers to steal highly valued NFTs.
In the latest high profile instance, a Bored Ape owner who goes by the username s27 lost two NFTs worth over half a million dollars after falling victim to an astonishingly simple scam, as spotted by NFT expert "Quit."
All the scammer had to do was paste a small image of a checkmark over copies of otherwise legitimate NFTs they didn't own. And in spite of the obviousness of the scheme, there's no recourse or safety net on the blockchain — so s27 will have to contend with their costly mistake on their own.
The case of s27 stood out to Quit as the user transferred their ape "from his vault to another wallet, just to lose it shortly thereafter," as Quit explained in a Twitter thread.
s27 intentionally put their two NFTs up for exchange on the NFT trading site SwapKiwi. After some digging, Quit realized that the scammer simply pasted a "verified collection" checkmark on top of the image files they used to tempt s27 to trade their legitimate NFTs away.
"The scammer added these checkmarks to knock-off NFTs exclusively to make them appear legitimate on SwapKiwi," Quit explained. "Furthermore, there's no immediately apparent way to click through to view the asset or the asset contract, making it unnecessarily burdensome to verify the assets."
Quit suggested that SwapKiwi could simply make some basic changes to its user interface to stop this thing from happening again — although, of course, scammers are always devising new schemes.
The NFT market has been practically overrun with scams and hacks. Not a week goes by without high profile thefts of incredibly valuable NFTs.
And that's not exactly surprising for a marketplace chock full of simple digital images being sold for at times over a million dollars worth of cryptocurrency.
Judging by the comments on Twitter to Quit's thread, s27 was far from the only one falling victim to this kind of scam.
"I lost my Ape and mutant in an instant last week as well," one user wrote. "It is so painful how many thieves are out there. Tough lesson for sure."
To ensure others don't get screwed over, Quit has some advice.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," they wrote. "Always assume everybody is out to get you. They probably are."
"Keep your guard up, always," Quit added. "This space is relentless; only you can protect yourself."
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