Crypto Scammers Go Phishing on Substack, Pretending to be Legit Newsletters
Substack, an independent newsletter platform, is being used by scammers targeting crypto users according to the latest developments. The platform, which rose to fame in recent years, has attracted prominent traders and crypto heavyweights such as Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano (The Pomp Letter), Willy Woo (The Bitcoin Forecast), and Rekt Capital, who send out newsletters via this independent-focused platform, making it a hunting ground for crypto scammers.
🚨❌ A scammer is impersonating us on @SubstackInc. We do NOT have a Substack, and this account is not our's.
Do not interact with this account, share your wallet address, send any funds, etc. 🚨 ❌https://t.co/53ea4jICMK
— Gnosis (@gnosisPM) January 14, 2021
The scammers on Substack seem to have mastered the art of email phishing to an extent where some of the emails appear legit. These malicious players' tactics include sending out smart contract ‘upgrade’ emails accompanied by proxy ID contracts, where the targeted crypto users are directed to deposit their funds.
Gnosis Phishing Scam Impersonation
Recently, Gnosis clients were the victims of such fraud; they were sent out an email phishing scam urging them to upgrade to a more efficient smart contract. The email read,
“The upgraded smart contract uses 71% less gas, supports updates thanks to proxy patterns, and allows you to participate in future votes.”
“GNO holders who update early will be eligible for the new liquidity rewards program, starting on January 20th and lasting one week.”
Upon learning of this scam's existence, Gnosis took to Twitter to warn its clients against engaging with the phishing scam. According to the company’s strategy director, Kei Kreutler, they further acted by requesting Substack to pull down the scam account. Substack support later confirmed to Coindesk that they have permanently removed the content and gave control to Gnosis.
“We have permanently removed this account from the platform, and any subscribers will no longer have access to the fraudulent Substack site.”
A Menace to the Crypto Industry
While stats on how much crypto funds have been lost on phishing scams remain scanty, quite a significant amount has been compromised over the years. Other industry players that have suffered similar impersonation frauds include UMA, Quant, Synthetix, Kyber Network, and RenProject. Kreutler is optimistic that platforms like Substack will eventually adopt Web 3.0 account tools to deal with this menace.
“We look forward to [Web 3.0] account tools becoming integral for providing trusted, unique, and authenticated identity on the web so that such issues on other platforms arise less in the future.”