Crypto Scammers Swipe $123K in stETH from Nest Wallet Founder in Fake Airdrop

A scene depicting fake airdrops by showcasing coins with skulls being airdropped.
The Nest Wallet founder has lost his life savings in an elaborate fake crypto airdrop scam. Image by Kerem Goktug Kaya, DALL-E 3.

In a sobering reminder of the prevalence of cryptocurrency scams, Nest Wallet co-founder Bill Lou revealed on Tuesday he fell victim to an elaborate fake airdrop scheme resulting in the theft of over $123,000 worth of staked Ethereum (stETH).

Lou took to X to describe how he attempted to claim an airdrop advertised in a fraudulent article guide. By signing a message through the link provided, scammers were able to drain the contents of Lou’s Metamask wallet.

“I can’t believe this is happening, I’ve always been so careful. I saw an article guide to the airdrop and followed the link to sign a message. I didn’t even question it,” Lou tweeted.

I’m devastated guys…

I just got scammed out of $125k of stEth while trying to claim the $LFG airdrop. And I’m a fking founder of a wallet startup that’s trying to improve wallet security…

I can’t believe this is happening, I’ve always been so careful. I saw article guide to… pic.twitter.com/x56HR2z8xK

— Bill Lou (@BillLou95) January 2, 2024

According to Lou, the phishing link initially appeared legitimate and straightforward. This highlights the growing sophistication of tactics used by scammers to evade security measures and dupe even the most tech-savvy victims into providing access to their cryptocurrency wallets.

Etherscan data revealed the stolen stETH was rapidly sent to Uniswap by the perpetrators, likely to immediately trade it for untraceable cryptocurrencies. This swift movement of funds following a scam is a common pattern enabling criminals to cover their tracks.

The incident comes as figures show monthly increases in crypto phishing scams over the past year. Research by Scam Sniffer revealed crypto scammers stole around $295 million from some 324,000 victims in 2022, with phishing activities and losses rising steadily each month. The anti-scam platform warned that “Wallet Drainers” in particular pose a serious threat to the industry.

Scam sniffer chart showcasing total stolen figures and total victims to crypto scams.
Crypto Phishing Scams in 2023 Research by Scam Sniffer

Scam Sniffer warned that phishing techniques have become more advanced, making it difficult for even experienced cryptocurrency users to identify fraudulent activities. By capitalizing on events such as airdrops, scammers can create more believable schemes that catch their targets off guard.

Lou’s high-profile case demonstrates that regardless of crypto experience, no one is completely immune to the deceptive tactics used in phishing scams. It serves as a critical reminder for all cryptocurrency holders to exercise extreme caution before interacting with unknown links or wallets to avoid falling prey to scammers.

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