NEAR Protocol Airdrop Scam?

Kelly Kigan
January 28, 2022

In the past week, several accounts on social media platforms have been promoting a supposed NEAR Protocol airdrop. The price of NEAR has been on a steady upward trend and it would not be a surprise if an airdrop would be in the offing This begs the question of whether the NEAR Protocol airdrop announcements by accounts in social media platforms are genuine. Everyone would want a share of the rising NEAR Protocol tokens, but is the developer currently issuing free coins?

What are Airdrops?

Airdrops could be described as sample products in the crypto space. Airdrops are when developers of a cryptocurrency coin give out free tokens or coins¹. The purpose of the free coins is to serve as an advertising method of the new coin, and further encourage and spread the use of the coin. The developers, therefore, want potential users to see that the coins have been added to their accounts for free, and encourage the use of the coins. In other cases, airdrops are used to reward early adopters of the coins.

The dynamics of crypto are reflected in airdrops, where there are great rewards and also plenty of scams. You, therefore, need to ensure you can identify the scams, to avoid linking your wallet to an imposter website that will drain all of your funds.

Fake URLs

The promotion doing rounds is advertised as seen in the poster above. There are a few red flags that can be seen from the poster. First is the URL. The URL in the poster is almost similar to the URL of the official NEAR website. However, that is not the original link to the official NEAR website. The official website announces critical information such as airdrops. The official NEAR website is yet to announce an airdrop, therefore this poster points to a potential scam.

Phony Instructions


The instructions of the process as seen above make the airdrop even more suspect. The first instruction is to send at least 100 NEAR to the generated address. One thing to be aware of is that when there is an airdrop, the developers will not ask for money. Therefore, if a site is asking for some money, so that they can send some more back, that is obviously a scam. Airdrops are free, or in other cases, rewards to early adopters of a coin². The only things needed in exchange for an airdrop is could be an active wallet address, or holding the subject crypto coin. The developers may also need you to perform simple tasks such as social media and blog post promotions in exchange for airdrops. Therefore, there is no reason why developers would ask for your crypto, in exchange for more crypto.

The instructions further ask a user to enter the NEAR address they wish to receive their bonus. It is important to note that the URL is a fake website. This, therefore, is a phishing scam, where the scammers will get you to link your wallet up with a fake website³. They will then get your private key and drain all your money.

A scripted scheme

These scams are popular on the Telegram platforms. Scammers take advantage of their centralization in the platforms, where they can delete comments that could expose them⁴. They further collude with other parties to promote the scam through positive comments. If you study this scam, for instance, there are several positive comments regarding the airdrop, where people are giving positive reviews of the profits they made. It is all part of the scam, well-scripted to lure you into the trap.

Due Diligence

Due diligence is paramount to avoid airdrop scams. First ensure you visit the official websites and their respective, verified social media pages, to get accurate information and updates⁵. Remember to watch out for imposter websites, and fake social media updates. In this case, it is critical to visit the NEAR Protocol official website to verify such information. Relying on genuine websites can help avert the chances of being scammed. It is also important to get updates from reputable NEAR websites such as Sankore. Sankore prides itself in educating Africans about NEAR, and as such, the organization also communicates genuine information in NEAR Protocol.

Related: Common Crypto Scams in Africa

If for any reason you got free tokens from a supposed airdrop that you were not aware of, it is best to ignore the tokens. In any case, the tokens are not going to be worth anything, and there is no need to take risks and have your money drained. This is especially when the scammers say the tokens are worth a good amount of dollars, then it may be a scam. Do not be lured to their fake websites and have your money drained.

Crypto airdrops are an ideal way to make some good cash. However, you have to do something first, most often be part of a community, or use an application in a way to promote the application or a token. These two ways are when the best and biggest airdrops come. The other not so lucrative ways include depositing crypto into some wallet or getting sign-up bonuses.

References

[1]. What Are Crypto Airdrops and How Do They Work? (Taxbit, October 2021).

[2.] Explained: What are crypto airdrops and how do they work? (CNBCTV, January 2022).

[3]. How to Profit from Crypto Airdrops and Avoid Scams Along the Way. (Hackernoon, August 2018).

[4]. Messaging app Telegram has become a haven for crypto fraud discussions. (Fortune, July 2021).

[5]. Avoiding Cryptocurrency’s Latest Scam. (Identity Theft Resource Center, April 2018).

*Editor’s note

Sankore 2.0 is an Africa-focused community integrating the NEAR blockchain with projects and solutions conceived and built by local developers in Kenya. As noted in the content of this blog, Sankore 2.0 seeks to promote the development of Web3 products in Nairobi — for Kenya and for Africa as a whole

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