Not all influences are created equal. Some provide accurate and insightful information, while others deceive their readers. Unfortunately, some influencers show little integrity and may do more harm than good. The Qanon-linked scams mentioned in this article are dangerous because unsuspecting victims transfer their finances into scammers’ accounts while believing they are investing in the next big crypto project. This article will discuss how to avoid the dangerous trap of fraudulent influencers promoting scam coins.
QAnon influencers run a crypto scam
The investigation company Logically published a report about a big crypto scam led by QAnon influencers on Telegram. WhipLash347 and Quantum Stellar Initiative (QSI) promoted fraudulent tokens linked to each other. WhipLash347 and QSI had amassed 277,000 and 30,000 followers by sharing Q conspiracies and fake news. However, they did not want to stop there. They saw a big opportunity in running crypto scams.
These Q influencers urged their followers to buy and hold coins. These patterns looked like a “scam” and a “pump and dump scheme.” The data on the Stellar blockchain ledger shows that the wallets minting the fraudulent assets are directly connected to the wallets earning enormous profits. For example, a domain and token falsely linked to a Kazakh gold mine netted approximately $2 million, $200,000 of which traded in only three hours.
WhipLash347 and QSI wanted to boost their image by claiming they spoke to Donald Trump, Elon Musk, and JFK Jr. The scam was huge. In addition to the monetary losses worth millions of dollars, one follower committed suicide after losing a private business, home, and $100,000 in savings.
How to check an influencer’s credibility?
It is important to check an influencer’s decency because not all of them are completely honest with their audience. Non-credible influencers pose as experts without actual knowledge or experience in their respective fields. It may be dangerous to trust them as you will receive inaccurate information or become a scam victim. In other words, it is vital to verify the trustworthiness of an influencer, or else you risk losing money.
Look for these red flags:
🚩Low responses relative to the size. Engagement vs. the overall following can tell a lot about the authenticity of the project’s followers. Look for the number of responses, likes, reposts, and comments vs. the number of overall followers. Each social media platform would have its metrics, but an extreme and consistent gap in these two indicators should make you more aware.
🚩Distrust everything traditional. QAnon influencers, of course, do not hide their contempt for mainstream media and established financial institutions and platforms. Fraudulent influencers not associated with conspiracies also distrust the conventional way of doing things, even when they are talking about fairly novel topics.
🚩Unbelievable, exceptional, revolutionary returns. They may claim that their offering is so revolutionary that no one other has ever thought about that. Remember the promises of Do Kwon, a hypeman behind a “groundbreaking” algorithmic stablecoin terra. Promises were of course empty, the coin is worthless, but Kwon projected extreme confidence at all stages.
🚩Very secret, exclusive, insider information. Fraudulent influencers are likely to claim they have access to top-secret, private, and insider information that the Wall Street/government/big players/rich guys do not want you to know. It may sound silly now, but WhipLash347 based their financial advice on “secret military intelligence” and thousands of followers believed that.
Beware of reg flags and follow these steps to evaluate the quality of the information you get.
Learn your influencer. Have a good understanding of the influencer. DD – due diligence, DYOR – do your own research, or whatever you call it. You should know the product you are buying (and the person selling it). Look at how many followers they have, and check their accounts on other social media platforms (do they even have any other accounts?). Are there any verified/popular/knowledgeable people among their followers? When was the channel/chat/account created? Is the person behind the project a public figure? Try to answer some of these questions and see if anything is suspicious.
Research the project. Now turn your attention to the project/coin/NFT they promote. Find their website, locate and read their roadmap. Who are their founders? How did the price change over time? Any external security rankings?
Use the basics of cybersecurity. Finally, employ these time-proven cybersecurity essentials to identify malicious tokens.