A recent report published in the Wall Street Journal revealed cryptocurrency scams took in more than $4.5 billion in 2019, this includes $300+ Million lost in exchange hacks and thefts. As the market scales, the amount and volume of frauds are also surging. We will take a look at how a team of three Russian scamsters, Evgeny Valerievich, Kolnogorov Ivan Igorevich and Yurzin Artem Vasilievich pulled out a massive scam of $1.5 Million posing as executives of MLMs.
One of the most popular ways through which crypto users get scammed is through impersonation. Fraudsters impersonate renowned names or any related company executives to raise funds from their victims. According to a survey done by The Daily Fintech – every 9 out of 10 crypto user have stumbled upon an imposter. Most of these incidents go unreported as the lost amount is low. Also, built-in privacy features in apps like Telegram makes it impossible to trace criminals.
$1.5 Million stolen from Legitimate MLM company and their affiliates
Hundreds of victims have voiced their experience dealing with fake executives of Airbitclub and other MLMs and how they got scammed by these imposters. Some of the notable names of these Fraudsters are:
Evgeny Valerievich, Sochi city – Russia
Kolnogorov Ivan Igorevich, Sochi city – Russia
Yurzin Artem Vasilievich, Yekaterinburg city – Russia
Unwrapping the Fraud Chronicles
Airbitclub hosted a number of events back in 2019, and people from all over the world attended these events. One of the most significant traits of successful network marketing companies is these companies put forward its products and plans to new people through events. The last event hosted by Airbitclub witnessed a footfall of 5,000 attendees.
For all the wrong reasons, these events are always on the radar of scammers as they are constantly on a lookout for new victims.
Unsurprisingly, these events were attended by all the three Russian individuals mentioned above.
The victims have reported that they met Evgeny, Ivan and Artem in one of the events hosted in Singapore in 2019.
“The bald guy along with two of his friends introduced themselves as CFO, CMO and Director of Airbitclub; they talked us about the company’s future plans. They were so confident that they made us believe they are a part of the team.”
According to the victims, Evgeny added them in his social media and started DMing them daily. Evgeny used to share Airbitclub event pictures and some other graphically appealing content – forcing his connections to believe his lies.
Lea Davie (Name changed) revealed her story of how she got duped of $5000:
‘’One day I received a telegram group link in my Instagram DM, I clicked the link, and the link directed me to the Airbitblub telegram group. I was already interested in Airbitclub because I had been posting about the company on my insta page. I assumed that the group is real because it had 1.3k members in it. After joining, I got a message from a guy named Ivan, and he started explaining about Airbitclub’s newly launched plans. I checked he was the admin of the group, so I trusted him and sent my bitcoin to the wallet he sent me. Within an hour, they blocked me from everywhere, and my money was lost! Wtf!’’
In an email to us, Airbitclub has confirmed that they had heard similar stories and due to these Russian scammers the company has lost a whopping $1.5 Million. Evgeny and Artem have also tried to pull out an extortion plan on Airbitclub founders.
They are considering legal actions against imposters to recover the lost money.
Save Yourself from Scams
Here are some of the tips on how you can make sure this never happens to you:
- Cross Check – Before making any contact with company executives through any third-party apps, always make sure you are talking with the right person. When in doubt, contact support on the company’s website.
- Never run behind something that looks lucrative and never let the fear of missing out drive your investment decisions.
- Only join official blogs, channels and chats.
- Where practical, limit your public exposure or avoid discussing your crypto holdings in a public forum.
And last but not least, never open links sent by strangers through email or direct messages