Scammers Banking Millions by Counterfeiting the Upcoming Telegram ICO - Bitsonline

Scammers Banking Millions by Counterfeiting the Upcoming Telegram ICO

Pavel Durov — the founder of Telegram Chat Messenger — has warned crypto investors to look out for scams that use the Telegram brand name. The young entrepreneur tweeted his caution after hearing of multiple fake websites created to trap those curious about the billion-dollar token sale.

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The Telegram ICO has made headlines recently and some anticipate it to become the largest initial coin offering. The encrypted chat service provider is looking to raise over $2 billion USD. The market excitement has provided an opportunity for scamsters to hunt prey who are eager to make it big off Telegram’s sale.

Leaked Telegram Information Aids Scammers

In late December 2017, Telegram first announced its intent to embark on a cryptocurrency and blockchain venture. Around that time, important and confidential information such as its whitepaper, ICO particulars, and other details were leaked onto the internet.

The leaked information provided a foundational platform for scamsters to plot fake ICO websites to lure investors, who would not want to miss such an investment opportunity.

Lately, a fake website called “gramtoken.io” declared itself the host of Telegram’s ICO, loading its website with legitimate (or at least leaked) whitepapers, team members’ information and roadmap to deceive naive and opportunity-hungry investors.

The professional design of the website and the so-called legit information raised the “genuineness factor”, despite being a total scam with no connection to Telegram. Investors were asked to deposit BTC or ETH to get their hands on the Gram token. According to reports, the website — which now is offline — raised over $5 million. The website was hosted on Namecheap, which until now hasen’t commented on the situation.

Durov himself declared the “Gram ICO” (initial coin offering) a scam. Responding to a tweet which questioned if the site represented Telegram’s ICO, he said:

Market Crammed With Fake Telegram ICOs, Here’s Some More

Several users of the encrypted chat messaging service divulged they had received fake invitation to engage in the sale of the Gram virtual currency. Users also received unauthorized messages regarding the launch of Telegram’s blockchain platform, Telegram Open Network (TON).

After the fake website was denounced, crypto enthusiasts took out their aggravation on Twitter.

Other fake ICO websites that still float around the web are ton-gram.io, tgram.cc and grampreico.com. Most of these scamsters manage to make enough money before being identified as fake, and shutting down.

The wallet associated with ton-gram.io indicates the balance of $30,000 from 70 different transactions. Moreover, these fake ICO websites used Facebook advertising to reach a wider and targeted audience.

On December 22, 2017, Durov tweeted “We detected several scam websites like http://tgram.cc/  – please stay alert.”

Telegram initially failed to address the issue, which led fake websites to grow in a manner where one of the fake websites banked $5 million. However, Durov was active on Twitter addressing the issue, as well as pointing out scams.

It is apparent from the past experiences that ICOs are a risky investment — even when legitimate. Therefore, it is advisable to always gather the correct information, and if required contact ICO teams before investing in such sales. It’s better to invest late than losing all your money to a scam.

Have you seen a fake or scam crypto investment “opportunity” online? Tell us about it in the comments.


Images via Wikimedia Commons

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