Art NFT Scam on Instagram

Oct 6, 2023 03:31 PM
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Digital scams are evolving, and the newest one is targeting artists on Instagram with a clever use of NFTs and cryptocurrency. In essence, scammers are using the allure of large sum transactions to trick artists into sending money for non-existent network fees, or "gas". Here's how you can identify this scam and stay safe:
  • Know the Process: Understand the process of minting NFTs - it's free on legitimate platforms.
  • Spot the Error: Be suspicious of unexpected transaction errors when a buyer tries to purchase your NFT.
  • Check the Support: Beware of fake support emails asking you to pay for transaction fees or gas.

The Details

Recently, artists on Instagram are being contacted by scammers interested in buying their art for large sums, such as $50,000. The scammer instructs the artist to mint their work as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) on a legitimate website, such as OpenSea, suggesting they create a wallet using services like MetaMask.
Minting, in simple terms, is the process of turning digital art into a unique item on the blockchain, which can be bought, sold, or traded. It’s like creating a digital certificate of authenticity for your art. This process, known as "lazy minting," allows artists to mint their NFTs for free, which means there's no apparent risk in this step - and that’s where the scam gets tricky.
After the art is minted, the scammer pretends to encounter an error when trying to purchase the NFT. They then prompt the artist to contact a fake support team via an email address, often misleadingly similar to the legitimate platform's official one, such as 'opensea@gmail.com'.
The "support person" (the scammer) then tells the artist that the transaction failed due to insufficient 'gas'. 'Gas' in the cryptocurrency world refers to the network fee for processing transactions on the blockchain. The scammer then asks the artist to send enough 'gas' to a specific wallet address to facilitate the transaction. This is the point at which artists are tricked into sending money, ultimately falling for the scam.

Protecting Yourself

Be vigilant, know the process of minting NFTs, and never send money for transaction fees or gas to anyone. Legitimate platforms handle these fees internally. If you're in doubt, always contact the platform directly through their official channels. Remember, staying informed is the best way to stay safe online.