Showing posts with label scam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scam. Show all posts

The “Michael Jordan of Crypto Trading” Never Traded Crypto... He's Now Under Arrest.

They aren't the brightest, but for about 18 months these two idiots enjoyed the good life - unfortunately the money they were spending was stolen, scammed after convincing investors they were masters of trading crypto.

John Michael Caruso and Zachary Salter were arrested by the US Secret service, and the allegations against them are good for a few laughs. While the $7.5 million (and authorities suspect more) stolen isn't funny, the level of delusion is so surreal it's like they scammed themselves into believing they were running a real business.

They were anything but humble - but they were building an image of confident, successful experts, so some bragging is to be expected.

Playing up his middle name like no one has before, John Michael Caruso called himself the “Michael Jordan of algorithmic cryptocurrency trading" explaining "I’m not in the business of guessing, I make calculated trades using tested principles and algorithms since trading is using historical models to predict the future".

...then he lost at least $1.6 million gambling in Vegas.

His partner Zach Salter is a pure psychopath based on an interview in Entrepreneur published June of last year.  Here he rambles on about hard work, and charity... two senior citizens are among those allegedly scammed.  Read it if you're in the mood to cringe.

Learn more about crypto scams including the biggest ones so far, and the ones still open for business today by listening to this week's episode of Cryptonized! Our Editor In Chief is the special guest, and what you'll hear will shock you.

[Video Courtsey Of ABC News Arizona]

Missing Millions, Missing Wives...and Murder?! The Untold Story of the "Bitconnect" Crypto Scam...

Bitconnect update
John Biggaton was the public face of Bitconnect in Australia. 

But, like everyone who gave their name and showed their face publicly, he was only pretending to be a major player in the company.  In reality, John was just another participant recruiting new members to sign up underneath him, just another person holding a spot on the pyramid.

Who were the real people behind Bitconnect? We still don't know. Not their names, or even what country they operated out of.

 The real leaders made off with nearly $1 billion in Bitcoin - leaving the gullible people they convinced to organize events, like John, to take the fall. 

When it all collapsed, chaos followed.

When it comes to John Biggaton, money isn't the only thing missing. Shortly after Bitconnect's collapse, his wife disappeared as well.

Watch the video above for the full story!

For those interested in the topic of crypto scams, we suggest reading our report on one even bigger than Bitconnect in the Asian market that recently was busted called PlusToken, as well as one that's still growing and headed towards disaster called CloudToken.

Updated 12/17/19

Video Courtesy Of Seven Network Australia

Another MASSIVE Asian Crypto Scam On The Verge Of Collapse - The Cloud Token Scam...

Cloud token scam news

It was in my previous investigation into PlusToken, a China based crypto scam responsible for stealing a record breaking $3 billion, where I came across another one gaining momentum.

I was looking into how the PlusToken scam spread, and seeing that one person after another who was promoting it, perhaps even 'most' of them, were also posting about something else called 'Cloud Token'.

As Chinese police were raiding and arresting those behind PlusToken, the people behind Cloud Token were living like superstars, and still are.

Cloud Token Scam
Cloud Token's Ronald Aai loves the spotlight. Here, he is escorted off stage by security at a Cloud Token event. 

You can see this for yourself: do a quick search of YouTube for old videos promoting PlusToken, find one 3 months or older from when the company was still active.   Then look at that channels newest videos.  There's a good chance you'll see one promoting Cloud Token recently upload.

Like PlusToken, the overwhelming majority of crypto traders in the English speaking market have never heard of Cloud Token, which is interesting - there's a larger gap between the two markets than I previously would have thought.

The few posts spammers attempted to make in English speaking crypto forums were promptly met with replies calling them scammers.  It seems US/UK traders have generally wised up.

Apparently, this is not the case with the Asian market, as the people promoting Cloud Token are literally the same people who were also promoting a scam who's founders are sitting in Chinese prisons right now.  The temptation for a quick buck is unbelievably strong in some people.

This May Sound Cold, But Don't Feel Sorry For The 'Victims'...

I'm the only journalist to have confronted Bitconnect, the first big crypto scammers, in person at the Silicon Valley Blockchain Expo.

On YouTube the video of my confrontation gained 300,000+ views before they had thousands of people falsely report it and get my channel killed.  I did find a copy of it in another person's video, go to about 2:10 if you haven't seen it.

The cloud token scam event
Packed house at Cloud Token's Singapore Event.
In my case, Bitconnect sent their army after me. I received everything from laughable tweets saying I was just jealous that I 'missed the boat' to even more laughable private messages with death threats from wannabe crypto gangstas.

That's right, these idiots were scam victims, but before they realized they were scammed, they lashed out at the very people warning them.

I tried following up with several of them to see how they were feeling the day after Bitconnect stole all their money. Suddenly, all those bad-asses lost their attitudes.

In the case of Cloud Token, i've already spotted several posts and videos dedicated to convincing people that while "Plustoken was a scam, Cloud Token is legit!" - the opposite of what they should have learned.

So don't be fooled - these people will cry when all their money gets stolen and play the victim when the time comes - but try confronting them now, while the scam is still 'profitable' and see how that goes.

The Same Old Bait....

The Cloud Token scam is the same recycled pitch that they've all been.

You know how it goes - give us your crypto, we'll pay you daily returns at some insane percentage.  In Cloud Token's case, it's up to 12% per month.

Of course, featuring the classic pyramid.
For any readers who may be new to this, there's no such thing as a company that can double every investors money every year. This is always a scam, no exceptions.

There's legitimate companies paying interest on crypto - and 12% per year (what Cloud Token says they'll do per month) is a good rate.

Then of course, at the core is the referral program, where users are encouraged to get friends and family scammed as well. This person-to-person promotion is what their marketing revolves around.

It's all smoke and mirrors, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that when we located the contract creation of Cloud Token on Ethereum's blockchain, we find a coin that says only 4 people own any.  Meaning the app doesn't even really use the token at all, I guess there's no reason to really issue any coins, they can just make the app say someone is holding however many they want to.

One Alarming Difference...

Where I start to get a really bad feeling in my stomach is when I see they're pushing Cloud Token as a multi-coin wallet, able to accept all the top coins - and of course, they want all of yours!

The scams of the past have had the basic concept of "send us your Bitcoin, we'll pay you profits in this coin we just created, which can be exchanged for Bitcoin" but at some point they stop this exchange.  That's when everyone is stuck with tons of the scammers worthless coins, and they've disappeared with all the crypto worth anything.

But CloudToken is the first big scam where they're holding people's entire portfolio of coins.

What are they doing? I have no idea, but why does every event for pyramid scheme scams have people doing strange things like this?

But the BIGGEST Difference - These Guys Showed Their Faces...

The previous scams we've mentioned have all had anonymous founders. That's why nobody knows who was behind Bitconnect still.   When these previous scams held events, they simply contacted some of their best promoters from YouTube and Twitter, and encouraged them to host company events in their area.

But the CloudToken 'team' appears to be deeply mentally disturbed, and went straight for the spotlight when the company began to grow in popularity, pretending that they aren't scamming everyone in the room.

Everyone loves the scam when it's  still paying - and these guys couldn't pass up getting some of that love.  It's creepy.

So now, with their identities known, they need to close this thing without having bounties put on their heads.   Which is an awful plan - every time this happens there's people who lost everything, and they're out for blood.

Over the last few days there's been some red flags that Cloud Token may be coming to a close.

"Cloud 2.0" is supposedly here, and they're saying they're shipping phone SIM cards out to their users, who still aren't sure what to do with them.  But, somehow they will be required to use it.

Also announced is that a 3rd party called "Ribbons" will be taking over payouts.  This company does not exist, so if it pops up, it was created only as a shell company of Cloud Token.

My guess is they're going to make it look like nobody liked Cloud 2.0 and "oops, we thought it would be cool, but nobody could figure out how to use it.  Now we're going out of business." 

Of course, the big mystery is how much crypto do they hold? Based on the overlap with PlusToken, which had accumulated $3 billion, this one could easily be in the billions as well.

Or, will law enforcement shut them down before they can execute whatever their exit plan is?

The end is coming, and I have a feeling it's going to be an mess like we haven't witnessed before. We'll be watching!

Have any friends in Cloud Token? What do they say when you tell them the obvious truth? Tweet us @TheCryptoPress 

Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Twitter:@RossFM

San Francisco News Desk

BUSTED: 6-Month Manhunt Ends As Police Arrest... An Instagram Influencer?! Meet The Serial Sh*tcoin Peddler...

One after another, Aziz "Com" Mirza pushed any scam or ponzi scheme with a referral program, as long as he thought it would make him a profit.

Aziz's verified Instagram account is still online, and served as the primary platform to scam his 800,000+ followers.

But posting commission-earning affiliate links to other people's scams started getting old - he knew how much the owners of these scams were keeping, compared to his small cut.

While he is a Canadian citizen, he's also Arab, and claimed to be a Muslim. What seemed like a smart move at the time, he used this to target rich middle easterners - a move that will come to backfire on him.

With an established audience, and plenty of practice - he just couldn't resist starting a scam of his own...

Aziz proudly introduced what he called "Habibi Coin" claiming it somehow was the only cryptocurrency compliant with the strict Muslim Sharia guidelines. 

Ironically, the Twitter profile for Habibi Coin, which hasn't been updated since 2018, still has a pinned tweet that warns their followers to avoid getting scammed - cautioning them that "Scammers are impersonating official @HabibiCoin..."

Aziz pushed his coin with a boldness he hadn't shown previously.  Instagram posts weren't enough, so he then talked his way into a business club called the 'Muslim Entrepreneur Network', where was able to give his pitch on stage and in person to large audiences.

With promises that investors will profit or he would pay their losses out of his own pocket, he brought in a wave of 1500+ new investors with a $2000 minimum - but most invested much more.  $25,000+ investments were common, with the highest known so far from a single person being $500,000.

Aziz gives his pitch for Habibi Coin.

"Com deluded us into believing that he was an immensely successful businessman in Dubai. We were dazzled by his upholstered lifestyle and thought he could be a value addition to the network"
says the group's founder Harun Rashid.

There was even a brief period before everything came crashing down where Aziz attempted to break into US/Canadian markets, as seen in a video and podcast from US 'get rich quick' personality Tai Lopez. Surprisingly, these can still be viewed.

We attempted to reach out to Tai for a comment, and have not yet received a response.

Tai's disclaimer does warn that he "may receive compensation for products and services recommended to you" - so perhaps Aziz just paid for the right to play 'expert investor' on camera.

But in reality, Aziz couldn't even scam right.

Okay, there's no 'right way' to scam, but some scammers are smarter than others - and Aziz is far from genius.

Habbibi Coin was never listed on any exchanges, there was an ICO, followed by an announcement that they were extending the ICO dates to raise even more... and well, that's it.

Having covered so many scams, I've noticed many are smart enough to spent at least some of the funds raised on getting the coin listed on exchanges, and doing some post-ICO marketing - this way they're doing something besides just raising funds.

Sure, the scammer was never qualified to launch a real product or service, so the ending is the same - a worthless coin and a rich 'founder.  But at least that founder can blame everyone else by shrugging their shoulders and pointing to "the market" as the reason their coin lost 99% of it's value.  Then, just hope playing dumb works in your favor - unfortunately, sometimes it does.

Then, it all caught up with him...

Aziz has just been arrested in Dubai, after a resident of the nation told authorities he was a victim. Unknown to Aziz, for the last 6 months UAE authorities had been waiting for his next visit.

He is currently being held in Al Awir prison, Gulf News confirmed, with only the general charge of "fraud" given publicly thus far.

While I can't imagine what his defense would be regardless of where he was apprehended, there's not many worse places to be under arrest than in Dubai.  It's not the kind of country where you can hire a high profile lawyer to find some technicality/loophole to get off on.

So while he hasn't gone to trial yet, I feel comfortable breaking one of journalism's rules and jumping to conclusions - we won't be hearing from Aziz for awhile.

When released, he'll likely have charges in other countries to face, with the US, Canada, and Greece all saying he's under investigation as well. After serving his sentence, the UAE would then release him straight into custody of one of these countries when the time comes.

Any current and potential future scammers reading this - learn from Aziz's mistakes.  You can't be a successful scammer without making so many enemies, that you end up getting caught anyway.

For everyone else - I wish I knew what to tell you, some predictable advice like 'if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is'?  The problem is, every honest scam victim I've talked to will admit they already knew this.

Ever try to warn people they're involved in a crypto ponzi scheme, while it's profitable and paying? Try it sometime and watch them tell you how you're just mad that you missed out, while they argue to defend the people who will disappear with all their money the following week.

So - there is no advice to give people who already know better, and do it anyway.  That's why instead, I would just like to kindly request that you don't overplay your 'victim' status if you fall for one of these - you're really owed 50% of the blame.

Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Twitter:@RossFM

San Francisco News Desk

Inside The Final Days Of The $3 BILLION Chinese Crypto Scam... And There's ANOTHER One Soon To Collapse!

PlusToken scam

Remember Bitconnect? Well, the scammers behind PlusToken would call that child's play.

Bitconnect held the record as the largest crypto scam to date, pulling in around $1 billion - then came PlusToken which grew to 3X that size, and showed no signs of slowing down when they pulled the plug.

But you've probably never heard of it. The ponzi scheme targeted Chinese traders almost exclusively, and managed to remain fairly unknown throughout the English speaking cryptocurrency community.

Considering a ponzi scheme's growth relies completely on word of mouth, that language barrier played a huge role in it not breaking into the US or European markets.

One post on the Bitcointalk message boards shows a perfect example of the disconnect between the Western and Asian crypto communities, where one user asks "Is it legit?" - the responses are generally people who haven't heard of it, and just one person promoting it. The thread ends with the official news that PlusToken has disappeared with everyone's money.

An estimated 10 million people scammed out of over $3 billion...

You won't find a Chinese crypto fan who doesn't know a dozen people who were caught up in it, which isn't surprising when you hear the scammers held over $3 billion worth of cryptocurrency when shutting down operations and attempting to disappear.

New pieces of the investigation have just been shared with the Global Crypto Press, giving a glimpse into the last days of PlusToken as the scammers behind it panic and attempt to clean their crypto, and erase the trail leading from their victims to themselves.

Scrambling to erase that trail they flooded Bitcoin mixers with upwards of 50,000 BTC (a mixer swaps coins between random anonymous users, juggling them internally before finally sending cryptocurrency back to the user, causing the coin to become untraceable.)

But the volume of coins they needed to clean was far beyond what these mixer sites are able to process, if there isn't an equal amount of coins being sent to the mixers by other people, they're just swapping coins with themselves.

That's when they took to exchanges with higher volume such as Huobi and Bittrex, attempting to manually mix them themselves.  The hope was that they could sell dirty coins while buying up clean ones - but anyone experienced with blockchain technology could tell you, this isn't a great plan.  Adding a couple entries to the ledger, and falling extremely short of 'hiding their trail'.

This is where everything fell apart. The coins they were trading on exchanges led right to their origins. At this point, it didn't matter anyway.

Because what the PlusToken leaders didn't know, is that they were already being watched.

This becomes clear looking at the timeline starting June 27th, the date when users began reporting that their funds were no longer accessible and the PlusToken platform was down. Just 5 days later on July 2nd, Chinese authorities announced 6 people behind the scam were already behind bars.

Funds currently accounted for include 50,000 BTC sent through mixers, 35,000 floating around the market, and 20,000 sitting in wallets still untouched.

Security audit firm Peckshield created this visual aid showing PlusToken's fund distribution.

 Authorities are still searching for additional key figures behind the scam who fled China before arrests could happen.

Scammers know - you can't trust a scammer.

In a twist of irony, those who escaped arrest are unable to spend any of their earnings. Out of fear they could end up turning on eachother, the wallets holding the scammed crypto uses multisig.

Multisig means it requires keys from more than 1 person to unlock, so if some members of the criminal group are in prison while others are free - everyone is locked out.

This includes the Chinese government, so you can be sure they're aggressively hunting down anyone who could possess one of the private keys needed to unlock the PlusToken wallets.

If this wasn't enough - there's another one coming!

An unexpected find while investigating PlusToken - an alarming number of people who were promoting it were also recommending another, called 'CloudToken'.

Clearly, yet another ponzi scheme that's spreading fast through Chinese social media.

I also noticed that for many, PlusToken served as a wakeup call.  Ignorant users who were once blindly excited about promises of 10% monthly profits (120% per year, like I said - clearly a scam) are now beginning to ask the right questions - such as 'how?".

But for now, CloudToken is flying high - partying hard like they're using Bitconnect 2017 as their guide.

When the day comes, tracking down the people behind CloudToken won't be a challenge - he goes by 'Ronald Aai' and he just couldn't resist the spotlight. 

I was unable to locate any trustworthy data on CloudToken to estimate how bad it will be when it comes crashing down, but based purely on levels of chatter - if PlusToken held $3 billion, I would guess CloudToken holds around $1 billion.

Closing Thoughts...

It seems like every geographical area, divided by language differences, will experience some kind of crypto scam of their own.

The victims of today become the people who warn others in the future.  But you don't get an army of anti-scammers until a lot of people get scammed.

The mixture of excitement and confusion surrounding cryptocurrency has proven to be the perfect target for these awful, scum people - and as much as I wish I could wrap this piece by sharing the simple solution, I don't think one exists. I think it may just be an unavoidable bump in the road for every new market crypto breaks into.  Warn people if the opportunity presents itself, but they may just have to learn the hard way - if it's too good to be true.. you probably already knew.

Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Twitter:@RossFM

San Francisco News Desk

Crypto-mining Product Brokers Reveal BitHarp Scam...

Claims Fake Products Steal Bitcoin From Victims...
Los Angeles, Calif., October 2, 2019 -- Bitcoin mining brokers have been talking about a scam that has been circulating the internet. The company is called BitHarp, and it sells cryptomining devices that it claims disrupt the industry. It markets the devices to new or aspiring miners and claims that the easy-to-use devices can be utilized at home, in data centers or at offices. On its website, it lists two cryptomining devices for sale. One is called the Lyre, which is a smaller liquid mining rig for $5,000. A larger product called the Harp is a direct-cooling liquid mining rig. The company claims that it has a high hash rate power and sells it for a price of $25,000.

A video found at that reveals the BitHarp scam breaks down some inconsistencies in the BitHarp promotional video. In the BitHarp video, two gentlemen who supposedly work for the company introduce themselves to one another for the first time. One of the men talks about BitHarp's mining device and says that it is manufactured and designed for people with no knowledge of crypto-mining. In another part of the video, he says that the miner works like a plugin. As the creator of the video says, this statement leaves people confused. They may assume that it is a browser plugin. Since the video shows an actual device in the product pictures, it is evident that they should refer to the miner as a plug-and-play device. Also, the reviewer pointed out that the products have not and cannot be reviewed because they do not exist.

In addition to the poor grammar and descriptive mistakes in the promotional script, a BitHarp spokesperson makes an evidence-lacking claim that investors get a return on their investment during the first month. He also claims that using the Lyre device is as simple as entering a data field and starting the mining process.

Ethical cryptomining equipment brokers are hoping to spread the word about this scam to the public. As the use of cryptocurrencies continues to grow, there will likely be more scams. Honest brokers want to educate new and aspiring miners about their options and how to avoid scams. Scott Offord, a notable bitcoin mining equipment broker, has also confirmed that BitHarp is a scam.

"BitHarp has been stealing bitcoin from people who are uneducated on the way that cryptocurrency mining actually works" Offord said in a statement. "What they are claiming is just not technologically feasible. Their office address has been confirmed to not exist as a real office. I feel sorry for those who have sent BitHarp their bitcoin because there is absolutely no way for them to get it back.” Since bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies allow sellers to remain anonymous, they are popular with scammers. Offord and other concerned brokers encourage people to talk to a reputable broker before investing in any cryptomining equipment.

Media Contact:
Scott Offord
+1 262-204-7265

Information Provided via Press Release
Distributed by Global Crypto Press Association Press Release Distribution for industry.

Arrests grow in busted cryptocurrency scam - the leader now joined in prison by 3 team members, and a Bollywood star...

In Delhi law enforcement arrested four more persons, including the kingpin, from Delhi. The crime branch, unit XII on Monday arrested Ashok Goyal Jaipuria, Asif Malpani, Baljit Singh Saini and Pradeep Arora from Delhi after their names cropped up in the Rs 100 crore racket.

Police have frozen several bank accounts of Goyal, the mastermind, and Delhi police are probing the case. Relevantly, a Bollywood actor, who has been attending seminars and promotions for this crypto currency for the accused, is likely to be questioned.

Video courtesy of The Times Of India.

Apparently, posing as Elon Musk on Twitter and running 'Bitcoin giveaway' scams really pays off - $179,284 now sits in the scammers wallet!

This time, the scam was at least a bit more creative than usual - the scammers first hacked a real verified account, giving them control over a username that has the blue "verified" check mark next to it.

Then, they switched the account name to "Elon Musk" and tweeted out the following:

The tweet that went out, notice how the actual account is @patheuk
But they didn't stop there - then (using a stolen credit card we can safely assume) they purchased advertising from Twitter and gave the post some extra promotion - causing tens of thousands of extra people to see it.

The scam itself was the usual bait of "send some Bitcoin i'll send even more back" - which from a verified account or not - is always an obvious scam. So, honestly it's a bit hard to feel sorry for the 'victims' here.

Now, a look into the wallet the site directed people to send funds to (1KAGE12gtYVfizicQSDQmnPHYfA29bu8Da) is sitting with a little over 28 BTC in it! Valued at nearly $180k.

A look into the wallet of the scammer. 
Elon Musk has been a long time favorite person to pose as for scammers on Twitter, A few month ago he even remarked "I want to know who is running the Etherium scambots! Mad skillz …"

Twitter has taken down the tweets, and given the hacked @PatheUK account back to the rightful owners.

For a look back on some other past Twitter imposter scams, check out a short article I wrote at the beginning of the year titled "People are falling for some of the dumbest scams we've ever seen".

Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Twitter:@RossFM
San Francisco News Desk

People are falling for some of the dumbest scams we've ever seen...

I've been sympathetic to victims of cryptocurrency scams in the past. Things like Bitconnect or USI-Tech, and hijacked ICO e-mail lists giving out the wrong wallet addresses - those are things I can see how someone new to cryptocurrency could have innocently become a victim to. 

But the stuff i'm about to show you today gets no pity from me.  If you fell for it, you're an idiot - who will probably lose your money one way or another anyway. 

Here's how they work.  A twitter account with the name and photo of a celebrity basically tweets something along the lines of "send me $100 and i'll send you $1000 back". Yes, it's really this simple.

Check out this tweet from Elon Musk...

And John McAfee has joined in the money giveaways as well...

Even the founder of Ethereum wants to give away Ethereum - all you need to do, is send him some Ethereum...

Earlier today Elon Musk responded to questions asking why there were so many impostor accounts of his, apparently with Twitter totally asleep at the wheel when it comes to terminating them.  Musk says he contacted Twitter's CEO "but it’s still going" he says.

All this would be funny - if they weren't actually working! The wallet that fake Elon Musk is directing people to send Bitcoin to - has nearly $14,000 USD in it now.

Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk

Bitconnect scam collapsed, and CLOSED - how the scam worked, and how they made their escape...

A quick vlog I made upon finding out the news.

Being the only reporter to have attempted to confront Bitconnect in person (that story here) it only seems right I cover their final day. The company is in full collapse after announcing closing of their lending platform, their BCC coin value is in freefall - starting the day worth a little over $400, and at the time of writing this worth just $43.

This is a strange feeling.

Sure, feels good to be proven right - but I already knew I was. Whatever gratification I get from that is instantly lost when I think about everyone who just got screwed.

You see, a lot of good people were tricked by some very bad ones.

I'd guess the majority of people who participated in Bitconnect are actual "victims".  People who heard of this amazing thing called 'cryptocurrency' and browsed around Facebook or YouTube, and ended up in the hands of someone trying to build their Bitconnect referrals, and promising the moon.

Innocent confused people.  Bitconnect... Bitcoin... they sound similar enough, to someone who knows nothing about either.

That's why this isn't enjoyable. 

I love the flood of new investors in the cryptocurrency world! I want everyone to do well, and there's no satisfaction gained when I read the stories being posted on social media today of people losing everything.

So here's how their exit strategy ended up working:

- Bitconnect announces they are closing their 'lending platform'.

- Now to divert blame, they blamed US state governments, and 'bad press'.

- Then they say - everyone is getting their investment back!

- But now here's the money grab: They pay back the investment in their BCC coin.  Not in USD, not in Bitcoin - but in their own worthless coin.

- So if Bitconnect owed you $10,000, you received $10,000 worth of BCC coins.

- But just hours later, that $10,000 is only worth about $1000, as the BCC coin is in a sharp dive towards being completely worthless.

They keep the Bitcoin.  They keep the USD.  Their users got BCC.

Now we need to remove the trash from the cryptocurrency world.

So with all this in mind, it's time we unite to take out the scammers that pushed this thing.  People like YouTuber Tevon James and everyone like them.

Anyone who pushed Bitconnect - you're canceled. Your recommendations, your opinions, your posts, your vids, your tweets should be ignored from this day on.

These people will be back, with the next "get rich quick" scam. Let's make sure nobody's listening when they do.

Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk

Scammers in PANIC mode: USI-Tech bans US & Canadian users following Bitconnect's legal problems...

A day after the Bitconnect scam was served a cease and desist (full story here) the second most popular crypto scam "USI Tech" has terminated it's USA and Canadian members.

In a laughable move - they're actually blaming their own users for their troubles. Now making the case that even though their entire system functioned off people spamming and referring others - it's the users fault for sharing the links they provided.  Stating in an e-mail shared on Reddit:

We were utterly dismayed to learn that a large number of our sales partners extensively advertise our services on their own websites as well as on social media in a manner which is a breach of contract as well as illegal, and which gives the appearance that our service portfolio violates both US and Canadian law. Despite the measures which we have already initiated, this behavior has even intensified in recent weeks and months. This has already resulted in actions by the respective authorities against various distributors, as well as the first preliminary injunctions in response to this advertising behavior. 

This seems to be the beginning of the end for multiple crypto scam sites that targeted the wave of new uneducated investors.

Experts expect the Federal government of the USA to review the Texas securities board's findings and implement a nationwide ban on Bitconnect in the coming weeks, that is if Bitconnect doesn't ban them first.

Author: Oliver Redding
Seattle News Desk

BREAKING: US Government VS Bitconnect scam - "Emergency Cease and Desist" order filed by securities board...

Bitconnect is a scam that's been plaguing the cryptocurrency world for the last few months.

Today, government officials in Texas have ordered them to halt activity immediately - citing fraud, and knowingly misleading the public.

There's been others with the same fraudulent business model, but none have grown to the size of Bitconnect, which launched with perfect timing, just when cryptocurrencies exploded over the last year.

Everything about Bitconnect is made to fool people new to cryptocurrencies - if you're lucky, you probably never heard of it. But if you're in some of the social network corners filled with new crypto investors, you can't avoid the endless spam. Mainly on YouTube and Facebook.

In a nutshell - they get these ignorant people to believe they have a bot that will trade cryptocurrencies automatically, and if they loan money to that bot, they'll receive a return on their loan.

They are rewarded in the form of a totally useless cryptocurrency called "BCC".  Which looks just legit enough to fool someone who doesn't know what they're doing.

They point out that the coin is listed on "multiple exchanges". What they don't tell people is - those exchanges are the ones that accept any coin submitted, and even then - nobody wants BCC on them.  There's zero demand for the BCC coin outside of BCC's own website.  Legitimate exchanges have openly refused to hold the BCC coin.

So they have all their victims on their own exchange, bidding against each other and raising the price on a coin no one else in the world wants.  What happens if a lot of people want to turn BCC coins into cash all at once? It all comes crashing down - because there's not enough buyers if there's ever a lot of sellers. That's how this ponzi scheme eventually collapses.

So far Bitconnect has been able to pay people cashing out with new money coming in.  But their growth has already begun to slow, and many YouTuber's who made a killing referring others to the scam are now saying they've taken their money out before the full collapse happens. Warning their followers before they have a lot of people angry at them.

Even worse - the entire 'company' is set up to disappear into thin air.  At first their site was an obvious scam - horribly written broken English - you could tell this was a 3rd world operation. Since then they've cleaned it up and made it look as legitimate as possible.

However - whoever registered their business later in the UK, apparently forgot their own birth date -  it doesn't match from one form to another. The name leads to no real person.

Their office addresses? All places anyone can rent a work desk at for a day, for traveling businessmen. One YouTuber tried to call every Bitconnect "office" - no one at any of them ever heard of the company. You can listen to those calls here. 

Today, the state of Texas which is expected to be the first of many, filed an emergency cease and desist.  Stating they violated at least 3 state regulations - as well as crimes of "engaging in fraud" and statements "likely to deceive the public".

The full legal documents can be viewed here.

Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk

Wall Street Billionare Michael Novogratz: Bitconnect a "SCAM" an "old school ponzi"...

Mike Novogratz is a former Goldman Sachs partner, and head of Galaxy Investments.  Currently building a $500 Million cryptocurrency fund for large investors.

He is now the latest to add his name to the list of experts openly calling out Bitconnect for what it is - a scam.

Yesterday, after Bitconnect refused to answer questions unless they were from a pre-approved list, one of our reporters confronted them.

Cracks in the pyramid are beginning to show, from suspicious missing funds, to questionable data on their business registrations, and multiple registrations under multiple names. 

Another reporter here is working on a full investigative report to be published soon.

Author: Justin Derbek
New York News Desk

Bitconnect Ponzi-scheme CONFRONTED by reporter at Blockchain Expo 2017!

IMPORTANT NOTE:   This video occurred AFTER Bitconnect agreed to speak but ONLY IF WE ASKED NICE QUESTIONS FROM A PRE-APPROVED LIST.  That's why this isn't an interview - it's a confrontation.

Before this video, we attempted a to arrange a quiet, sit down interview, to go over the numbers with them. Bitconnect made this impossible...THEN we decided to talk to them anyway.

Bitconnect is already under official investigation in the UK, and soon may have their operations in that country shut down, and assets seized.

Just in from our Silicon Valley team covering the Blockchain Expo North America today.

My phone chimed with a text message from one of our staff at the event - only reading "check the company dropbox" and behold, this amazing video!

Ross Davis, seen in this video confronting Bitconnect staff about their impossible to sustain business model at their booth is our Editor In Chief, and heads up our Silicon Valley news desk.

The question is simple: With the current business model of Bitconnect, if someone invests $10,000 today, they will be paying them over $4,000,000 just six years from now. They make people believe it's possible because the value of their coin is going up 'just like bitcoin' but what they don't tell you is, virtually no one is buying their coin except their own customers.

I gave Ross a quick call for some background story, he said:

"Yesterday at the expo after getting past the shock that these guys were getting bold enough to show their faces at an event like this, I asked if we could schedule an interview for the following day (today), the reaction set up red flags immediately.

Our team has interviewed somewhere around 30 companies here over the last two days, about half of them reached out to us first, and all we're more than happy to be interviewed.

But only 1 asked for the questions in advance, and couldn't commit to more than a "maybe" for an interview today.

Of course, no reporter gives questions in advance unless it's a fluff piece, and like I said, nobody else wanted them - legitimate companies with nothing to hide welcome questions!"

I asked, why not just let it go?

"The day this comes crashing down, it's going to be in major newspapers and financial TV shows.  The general public still hasn't quite figured out what cryptocurrency is all about, and the day they open the New York Times or turn on CNN and hear about what Bitconnect pulled - it's going to be a stain on this entire industry."

In closing:

"We need to draw a line in the sand.  There's 'get rich quick' hustlers like Bitconnect and legitimate companies really pushing this tech, and no, we don't need to play nice with eachother."

Bitconnect has been called a ponzi scheme by virtually every respectable person in the cryptocurrency industry.  From Ethereum creater Vitalik Buterin, to Litecoin creator Charlie Lee.

We will be following Bitconnects case with the UK government over the next several weeks.
Author: Mark Pippen
London News Desk

FBI contacted to investigate ICO that disappeared with investors cash...

The company was called "Confido" and the ICO took place early November though fundraising company TokenLot.

TokenLot says they are now contacting the FBI, after Confido completely disappeared with the money.

The website, and all social media that once existed for the fake company have been deleted, scrubbing the net of all traces it ever existed.

We were able to find an archived shot of what the site once looked like:

While the total stolen was a relatively small $375,000, the cryptocurrency world is rightfully demanding action.  In some online communities, putting their technical skills to work trying to track down who's behind it (no success yet).

A strange final post on their blog, which is now deleted said:

Thanks for always standing by us. We have achieved some incredible things these last two weeks, and the crypto space is beginning to notice us. However, we owe you an apology. Right now, we are in a tight spot, as we are having legal trouble caused by a contract we signed. We signed the contract with assurance from our legal adviser that there was minimal risk and it would not be an issue. I can’t and won’t go into details, but he was wrong. It is a problem.

Confido's pitch was to provide smart-contract based escrow service.

Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin calls Bitconnect a ponzi scheme...

File this article under "stating the obvious" but unfortunately, BitConnect's user base somehow keeps growing.

Ethereum's creator Vitalik Buterin responded to a tweet today from a Twitter user goes by the name "Ponzi crypto coins" who appearently prides himself in calling out scam coins, tweeted at him:

After telling Vitalik Bitconnect's promises of 1% daily returns, Vatalik stated (the obvious) - it's a ponzi scheme (AKA pyramid scheme).
The collapse is coming, eventually.

Author: Oliver Redding
Seattle News Desk

Fake Coinbase pages on facebook and linkedin are trying to steal cryptocurrency...

Fake pages pretending to be Coinbase have been popping up recently on Facebook, and while many are harmless Coinbase users simply sharing their referral code (Coinbase rewards people $10 for referring a friend) others are much more sinister.

One of our readers, who asked to only be identified as ‘V’ took it upon himself to see what they're up to, and allowed us to share these screen shots...

While this account has been reported and terminated, there's still several active pages claiming to be Coinbase - even the page at with 96,978 likes has an "unverified" status.

Our investigation uncovered imposters on other networks as well.  This page on LinkedIn is giving out a toll free support number, that does not belong to the real CoinBase. We tried calling and received a voicemail message for someone named "Robert". 

Just a reminder of something everyone should know already, just like with online banking, make sure you get support only from resources you find after carefully typing in the official URL.

Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk