Beware the NFT Con

by | Feb 10, 2024 | NFT, NFT Scam, Non Fungible Tokens, Scams | 0 comments

Beware of the Instagram NFT Scam!

Alert: Instagram NFT Fraud!

The emergence of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) has created a buzz in the digital art and collectibles market. These distinctive digital items are fetching hefty sums, drawing the attention of not only artists and collectors but also con artists eager to profit. It’s essential to be cautious and well-informed to steer clear of NFT frauds.

What is an NFT?

An NFT is a type of digital asset that corresponds to tangible items such as artwork, music, items in video games, and movies. They are traded online, often using cryptocurrency, and are typically built on the same technology that underpins various cryptocurrencies.

Think of an NFT as an electronic certificate of authenticity. However, it is a one of a kind certificate. If you own the NFT you have the only authentic copy of whatever asset it is attached to. NFTs can be very valuable.

There are a variety of NFT scams around. The one I describe here is where a con-artist tries to get you to create an NFT for one of your images, which they promise they will then purchase.

It’s a clever scam because it preys on your ego. The scammer praises your work and the idea of creating an NFT for it might make you feel your work is being recognised and valued…

My experience with an NFT Con Artist

Someone direct-messaged me on Instagram, claiming they wanted to buy some of my photos for an exhibition. This raised my suspicions. My website already offers prints and digital purchases, so why reach out to me personally? Nonetheless, I inquired about the specific photos they were interested in.

Their reply was vague. They expressed a desire to purchase ‘certain photos’ as NFTs. They asked if I was familiar with NFTs and offered to assist me in setting them up, promising to pay the ‘standard rate’ for the photos.

When I asked about the standard rate and the specific photos, they responded with screenshots of six Instagram posts of mine, proposing £2,500 for each if they were converted into NFTs.

That amount was suspiciously high. I immediately ended the conversation.

Recocognizing the NFT Con

This scam is quite sophisticated. NFTs are a legitimate means for creators to sell unique items, such as artwork, as one-of-a-kind pieces. For someone with a certain level of fame, it’s a method to guarantee that the buyer receives something exclusive. Angela Nikolau, known for her daring selfies atop skyscrapers, sells these photos as NFTs. Her work is somewhat unique and could be considered collectible.

As for me, I’m a landscape photographer with a vast collection of images. I climb into mountainous areas, giving me a different perspective that typical tourists don’t see. I’m a photographer who climbs, not a climber who photographs. This might result in higher quality than the average snapshot. However, I’m not a celebrity. I’ve sold many prints and digital copies, but never for anything close to £2,500!

The scam works like this: once the scammer confirms the target’s lack of knowledge about NFTs, they offer their ‘assistance’. This includes creating a digital wallet and instructing the photographer to purchase cryptocurrency to fund the NFT creation, which is deposited into the wallet. Up to this point, everything seems legitimate. However, the scammer has access to the wallet and drains it before vanishing, leaving the photographer out of pocket and having wasted time. Once the scammer is gone with the money, the victim has no recourse to get it back.

NFT Scam Checklist

If any of the following are true, you’re likely a target for the NFT Scam:

  • If an unknown person contacts you, it’s likely a scam. 
  • If they propose large payments for your work, be wary.
  • If they offer to ‘assist’ you, be cautious.
  • If they request money, it’s a scam.
  • If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Legitimate buyers might also send you messages, but they will be the ones willing to pay you. If you have a website or use platforms like Etsy to sell your images, direct them there. I once had a buyer request a customized image. We agreed on a price, I sent an invoice, they paid, and then received their photo. That’s how real transactions are conducted. Don’t be deceived by these scammers!

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