iPhone 15 launch: Wonderlust scammers rear their heads

Yesterday, Apple launched its latest iPhone and Watch models at its massive Wonderlust event. As with many high profile launches like this, it attracted not just a mountain of press, but a whole load of scammers too.

One site uses the Apple brand to host a cryptocurrency scam. The hook is a supposed giveaway of “50,000 ETH and 5,000 BTC”, which is $79,885,500 and $130,325,000 respectively. Sadly the site, registered just yesterday, is not giving away this kind of digital cash.

The front page claims:

We believe that Blockchain and BTC coin will make the world more fair. To speed up the process of cryptocurrency mass adoption, we decided to run a 5,000 BTC giveaway.

Fake Apple giveaway site

As to how the scammers claw their ill-gotten gains from the victims, it’s a case of double your money. To get your foot on the ladder, all participants are required to chip in a little cryptocurrency of their own so there’s a large pool of funds for the lucky winner.

The site continues:

To participate you just need to send from 0.1 BTC to 50 BTC to the contribution address and we will immediately send you back 0.2 BTC to 100 BTC (x2) to the address you sent it from.

Fake donate links

To give you an idea of the supposed investment in the prize fund, 0.1 BTC is $2,606. 50 BTC is an eye watering $1,305,600. Meanwhile over in ETH land, a donation of 1 ETH would set you back $1,599. The maximum donation amount of 500 ETH is worth $79,9975.

This is an incredibly fast path to losing all of your money. An ETH and BTC address are provided for both fake donation options, and anyone sending funds to these addresses will likely not be seeing their money again.

Scrolling down the page shows a very long list of supposed transactions, as a way of encouraging people to hop on the bandwagon. However, sites which track address transactions and other activity display zero funds going in or out of those addresses.

With the event now over, the chances of this particular site hitting a payday will become increasingly remote. The people behind these kinds of sites are hoping that visitors won’t look too closely lest they spot the scam coming apart at the seams.

Even so, this is a common tactic and a popular way for scammers to encourage panic sending with the promise of huge payouts just out of reach. If any site asks you to “donate” cryptocurrency funds claiming you’ll double your money, you can safely ignore and move on.

This fake donation technique was doing the rounds last year, typically bolted on to Elon Musk scams. Here’s one from last April which used a “guess the planet” competition as bait. That same month, another scam made use of fake Medium blogs to achieve the same end result.

The value of your digital currency may rise or fall, but none of it matters if you’ve handed the lot to a scammer. If ever something had “If it’s too good to be true…” attached, this is most definitely somewhere up at the top.

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