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Insidious Bitcoin Scammer Masquerades as John McAfee

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:39 PM
Ryan Smith
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:39 PM

An impersonator is attempting to scam followers of outspoken crypto celebrity John McAfee via Medium. The so-called “McAfee Crypto Extravaganza” promises mouth-watering 10x returns – if and only if – you deposit a small amount of Bitcoin or Ethereum in the attacker’s wallet first.

CCN.com first alerted Janice McAfee to the scam, who subsequently eviscerated it as a “fraud” on Twitter.

The scammer will gladly take up to 5 BTC of your hard-earned crypto to first “verify your wallet” and is targeting greedy investors with a mouthwatering 5,000 BTC and 10,000 ETH giveaway.

At today’s price that makes Mr. McAfee one of the most generous men on the planet willing to give away roughly $59 million worth of cryptocurrency to random strangers. What a guy!

Fake airdrops are nothing new in crypto, of course, but that didn’t stop this opportunist from putting some hours into crafting two cleverly-designed phishing sites. The fraudulent pages even go so far as to fake Bitcoin transactions and mimic BTC block explorers.

john mcafee bitcoin scam
The scammer has coded a clever fake Bitcoin block explorer with several transactions. | Source: Bitcoin scam site

Some things in life are free, but savvy crypto fans will know that scoring Bitcoin or Ethereum pro gratis usually isn’t one of them. The site also uses a sneaky BTC countdown timer intended to deceive visitors into transferring crypto quickly before the promotional funds run out.

Patience wins out in this game, though, and a second view of the page several minutes later shows a timer that never drops below 83 BTC.

John McAfee Bitcoin Scam Is Not Fooling Anyone – Yet

The brazenness of the scam prompted John McAfee to ask: “Are people really this stupid?” Thankfully, it appears that the answer is no – at least for now.

A cursory glance at a real Bitcoin block explorer  reveals that even with this scammer’s innovative mischief, the fish have yet to bite. That’s probably because while this fraudster clearly has some technical chops, he or she doesn’t have any imagination.

Scammers real BTC address
The scammer’s real Bitcoin address shows no actual transactions yet. | Source: Blockchain

Fake cryptocurrency airdrops are a dime-a-dozen these days, and one expert even turned the tables on his would-be “idiot” scammer. Twitter is typically the platform of choice for these kinds of scams. Perhaps the fraudster was looking to carve out a niche elsewhere?

To avoid falling prey to these fraudulent schemes, crypto users should always use a reputable blockchain explorer to verify transactions and never forget that old adage, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”