Fraudulent advertisements are cropping up all over Facebook offering the public sale of Telegram’s Open Network (TON) Gram Token.
The ads likely stem from scammers, since it implies a quick way to get daily income. Telegram’s blockchain project hasn’t been launched yet and does not entail the receipt of income in any way. Similar advertisements are distributed via Telegram channels as well.
Russian Internet the Culprit
According to a report by Russian media outlet Kommersant, the Russian-oriented Facebook has been swarmed with ads boasting huge cryptocurrency earnings along with the image of Telegram founder Pavel Durov. A post promoted under the Successful Investor (RU – “Успешный инвестор”) Facebook page leads to a dubious website disguised as being RBC, a popular news website in the Russian media space.
Spoofed as an accurate report from RBC on the TON public sale, the publication has built-in links to a website with a video about a ‘unique scheme’ to earn income. The website also contains a form for registration supposedly on the TON platform where users have to enter personal data, including an email address and phone number. Upon registration, it claims that the user can easily earn 10-15 thousand Russian Rubles ($235) per day.
This is a clear indication of a scam attempt and based on the information of Whois services, the domain on which the fake site was hosted was registered on Aug 30.
High Public Interest in TON
The TON platform is one of the most eagerly awaited token sales with previous private sale rounds already completed and attracting over $1.7 billion in investments. The full launch is expected to take place sometime this fall.
The scammers are focusing on the Russian online space, as interest in TON and Gram among Russian internet users spiked in Aug 2019. The search query “buy Gram” reached an all-time high in the first week of September according to data from Google Trends.
Big network launches that are highly anticipated are always a catalyst for scam attempts. Especially, the Telegram Open Network which has had a lot of publicity, but without too many reveals from the project team itself. As such, unwitting users can easily fall prey to fraudulent schemes.
As always in the crypto space — trust, but verify! Do your own research and keep your data safe! Let us know your thoughts and concerns about this story in the comments below.