Potential Seele ICO investors were recently scammed out of nearly $2 million by impersonators posing as admins, who used the company’s Telegram channel to get them to send their money over before the token sale began.
Seele, a blockchain project that describes itself as “blockchain 4.0,” with potential applications in IoT, game assets, fintech, and others, has a technical blurb on its homepage that claims Seele is “powered by an up-scalable Neural Consensus protocol for high throughput concurrency among large scale heterogeneous nodes and is able to form a unique heterogeneous forest multi-chain ecosystem.”
According to ICOdrops, the sale of Seele’s ERC-20 token was set to commence soon. Two scammers, posing as Seele admins @nicsmith and @SeeleSupport reportedly directly messaged some of the channel’s members and asked them to send over Ether as part of a private sale. The @nicsmith account supposedly belonged to Dr. Nick Smith, a data analyst at Seele.
In response, the startup started warning users not to send the scammers any money, and claimed full responsibility for what happened. Its message stated that it was doing everything it could to prevent a similar situation from occurring again. The message reads:
“It appears as due to the intentional deceiving of the “@nicsmith” and “@seelesupport” scammer by impersonating one of our own team members, some people from our community have lost funds. We are herby acknowledging the situation and confirm that we will find solution to make the situation right for all community members who have lost funds due to this problem.”
News of what was going on soon started spreading on Twitter as well, but for some investors it was already too late. According to a provided Ethereum address, the scammers got away with nearly $2 million worth of ETH.
⚠ *URGENT* ⚠
‼ INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE WITH PRIVATE SALE INQUIRES ‼
PLEASE HALT COMMUNICATIONS AND DO NOT SEND ANYTHING TO SEELESUPPORT AND NICHOLAS SMITH. THEY HAVE BEEN FOUND OUT TO BOTH BE SCAMMERS AND ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH SEELE IN ANYWAY ANYMORE. #Seele pic.twitter.com/8MKaSybyA8
— Maximillian (@MaxiMillian0638) 4. února 2018
The compromised accounts were soon removed from the list of approved admins. Another admin known as “Dan” was reportedly also telling investors to message @SeeleSupport. Given that only an admin can make someone else an admin, some investors are claiming the ordeal was inside job. Seele, on the other hand, insists impersonators are responsible for what happened, as they weren’t a part of Seele’s team.
Scammers keep targeting ICO investors
The recent ICO craze has made potential investors juicy targets for scammers. Since most ICOs offer deals in their early stages, scammers manage to dupe investors by posing as startup representatives.
In this case, there may have been red flags users could’ve noticed. According to Bitsonline, a simple Google search for the contact email behind the ICO’s URL shows that the address, YuMing@YinSiBaoHu.AliYun.com, has in the past been associated with other scams, some dating as far back as 2014.
As reported by CCN, scammers have been targeting potential ICO investors lately. The Bee Token ICO recently derailed thanks to a phishing scam that saw nearly $1 million in ETH get stolen. Those who wanted to invest in Prodeum’s ICO were also duped, as the team behind it seemingly pulled an exit scam and left them with “p***s”.