According to a Sunday Twitter post by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, only about 50 out of 7,000 users claiming to be employees of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange on Linkedin are real. The crypto executive lamented the lack of a real-ID authentication system on Linkedin, saying:
“I wished LinkedIn had a feature to let the company verify people. So, many “hey, I am responsible for listing” scammers on LinkedIn. Be careful.”
The LinkedIn crypto scam typically begins as an unsolicited request from an apparent crypto exchange executive to project stakeholders regarding a potential token listing. Profiles are cleverly crafted to show years of experience in the industry, along with, multiple connections, sometimes up to 500-plus, to derive an image of apparent legitimacy.
An unsolicited listing offer from a LinkedIn member claiming to be from Bithumb. Source: Zhiyuan Sun
After a victim has been found, the scammer then sends a document via email or Telegram containing the details of the listing process along with a required initial security deposit for the “service.” As soon as the victim transfers the requested digital assets to the deposit address, however, the scammer breaks off all contact and pockets the funds.
A fake Bitfinex listing document, which alleges to require a deposit of 250,000 USDT to commence the process. Source: Zhiyuan Sun
Legitimate exchanges do not generally require initial deposits nor listing fees. Instead, a due diligence team reviews the potential token for security, compliance, legal framework and the overall project utility, and then schedules a meeting with the asset issuer to discuss further steps. Depending on the scale of a project, developers can be hassled by so-called fake listing proposals on a daily basis.
A fake Binance.US listing proposal. Source: Zhiyuan Sun