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New scam targeting artists

Several artists have fallen victim to an elaborate scam. The aim of the scammers is to encourage artists to sell their work in the form of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). This technology refers to a digital property certificate. The buyer becomes the official owner of the virtual or real object. These transactions are carried out using cryptocurrencies and are recorded in a blockchain (a kind of online register that keeps track of all the transactions linked to an object and is unforgeable).

How the scammers work

The artist meets another artist in an art gallery, they get to know each other and exchange contact details.

The artist (future victim) is then contacted by message by the other artist to explain a revolutionary method for selling his works quickly and at a very good price.

To do this, the artist must contact a so-called expert (the swindler) who will explain this ‘profitable’ sales practice combining NFT and cryptocurrencies.

The artist is then guided step by step through the process of installing applications and offering their work for sale (in virtual form). It soon becomes apparent that there are fees to be paid for putting the works on the market, and that a percentage of the sale amount must also be paid in order to recover what is owed.

What should you look out for?

This scam is very subtle, well practised and takes place over several days.

  • The technique is recommended by someone the artist has met. So there's an element of trust. What the artist later learns is that his acquaintance's account has been hacked and that it is a swindler who has contacted him.
  • Contact with the so-called expert is by message only. If the victim tries to contact him by telephone, he claims not to have time for a chat.
  • Whenever the victim has doubts, the scammer reassures them by referring them to the positive experience of his acquaintance.
  • There are a number of fees to pay in order to benefit from this service.
  • The victim must install several applications and is invited to switch from their smartphone to a computer in order to install programmes. These are then used to hack into the victim's account and encourage friends and family to use the system.
Follow this advice
  • Be wary of online transactions guided solely by messages.
  • If you are asked to pay a fee, start asking questions.
  • Don't get involved in procedures you don't know how to carry out.
  • Do not install any applications outside an official webstore.
  • Don't let anyone take control of your computer.
Too late, I've been scammed!
  • Stop all communication with the fraudster.
  • Contact your bank and/or Card Stop on 078 170 170 if you have passed on any banking information, if any money disappears from your bank account or if you have transferred any money to a fraudster. This way, any fraudulent transactions can be blocked. 
  • Change the passwords to all your accounts. Use two-factor authentication on all accounts where possible.
  • Uninstall all applications installed as part of the fraud.
  • Make a report to the local police where you live.