Avoid getting scammed by fake "$PAPE Pre-Sale" websites

Also Known As: "$PAPE Pre-Sale" crypto drainer
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "$PAPE Pre-Sale"?

After investigating this "$PAPE Pre-Sale", we determined that it is a scam. It is presented as a presale event for the PAPE memecoin. However, once a user connects their digital wallet to the scam – it begins operating as a cryptocurrency drainer.

$PAPE Pre-Sale scam

"$PAPE Pre-Sale" scam overview

The scam is disguised as a presale event, i.e., a limited-time offer for a product (or other content) before it is released widely to the public or prior to it being fully completed. This fake presale is supposedly for the "PAPE" – a cryptocurrency based on an Internet meme (memecoin). This coin is specifically based on Pepe the Frog meme.

As mentioned in the introduction "$PAPE Pre-Sale" is a scam, and it is not associated with any public figures or legitimate entities.

When a cryptowallet is connected to this scheme – a crypto-draining mechanism is initiated. Some drainers can approximate the value of digital assets and prioritize them. The cryptocurrency or other assets are transferred in automated transactions, which can appear vague to lower victim suspicion.

Crypto drainers can steal most or all of the digital assets. It must be mentioned that due to the practically untraceable nature of cryptocurrencies – these transactions cannot be reversed, and victims cannot return their funds.

Threat Summary:
Name "$PAPE Pre-Sale" crypto drainer
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Disguise Memecoin presale event
Related Domains papesale[.]live
Detection Names (papesale[.]live) Seclookup (Malicious), Fortinet (Spam), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (papesale[.]live)
Distribution methods Social media spam, compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
Damage Monetary loss
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Cryptocurrency drainer scam examples

"LIDO Staking scam", "X World Games Airdrop", "Pacmoon Airdrop", and "Illuminati Airdrop" are merely a few examples of crypto-draining scams we have examined recently.

The Internet is rife with deceptive and malicious content. While online schemes use different lures and mechanisms, their end goal is the same – to profit at victims' expense.

How did I open a scam website?

Crypto-centered scams are often endorsed through social media spam. The posts might be made using hacked accounts that originally belonged to real projects, organizations, companies, celebrities, influencers, etc.

However, other spam types are also used to promote deceptive content (e.g., forum posts, emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, browser notifications, etc.). Additionally, scam websites can be entered via redirects generated by pages utilizing rogue advertising networks, misspelled URLs, intrusive advertisements, and installed adware.

How to avoid visiting scam websites?

Fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears genuine and harmless. For example, spam browser notifications and intrusive ads may look innocuous – however, they redirect to unreliable and dubious pages (e.g., scam-promoting, gambling, pornography, etc.).

Therefore, we recommend exercising caution while browsing. Take note of URLs and enter them carefully. Be selective about which sites you allow to display browser notifications; do not enable suspect ones to do so, and instead ignore or deny the ad delivery (i.e., select "Block", "Block Notifications", etc.).

We advise against using websites offering pirated software/media or other questionable services (e.g., Torrenting, illegal streaming/downloading, etc.), as these webpages typically use rogue advertising networks.

Additionally, treat incoming emails and other messages with vigilance. Do not open attachments or links present in suspicious mail, as they can be hazardous/virulent.

To prevent bundled/harmful programs (including adware) from infiltrating the system – download from official/verified channels and be careful when installing (e.g., study terms and options, use "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt out of additional apps, extensions, tools, etc.).

If your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate all threats.

The appearance of "$PAPE Pre-Sale" scam (GIF):

Appearance of $PAPE Pre-Sale scam (GIF)

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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How to identify a pop-up scam?

Pop-up windows with various fake messages are a common type of lures cybercriminals use. They collect sensitive personal data, trick Internet users into calling fake tech support numbers, subscribe to useless online services, invest in shady cryptocurrency schemes, etc.

While in the majority of cases these pop-ups don't infect users' devices with malware, they can cause direct monetary loss or could result in identity theft.

Cybercriminals strive to create their rogue pop-up windows to look trustworthy, however, scams typically have the following characteristics:

  • Spelling mistakes and non-professional images - Closely inspect the information displayed in a pop-up. Spelling mistakes and unprofessional images could be a sign of a scam.
  • Sense of urgency - Countdown timer with a couple of minutes on it, asking you to enter your personal information or subscribe to some online service.
  • Statements that you won something - If you haven't participated in a lottery, online competition, etc., and you see a pop-up window stating that you won.
  • Computer or mobile device scan - A pop-up window that scans your device and informs of detected issues - is undoubtedly a scam; webpages cannot perform such actions.
  • Exclusivity - Pop-up windows stating that only you are given secret access to a financial scheme that can quickly make you rich.

Example of a pop-up scam:

Example of a pop-up scam

How do pop-up scams work?

Cybercriminals and deceptive marketers usually use various advertising networks, search engine poisoning techniques, and shady websites to generate traffic to their pop-ups. Users land on their online lures after clicking on fake download buttons, using a torrent website, or simply clicking on an Internet search engine result.

Based on users' location and device information, they are presented with a scam pop-up. Lures presented in such pop-ups range from get-rich-quick schemes to fake virus scans.

How to remove fake pop-ups?

In most cases, pop-up scams do not infect users' devices with malware. If you encountered a scam pop-up, simply closing it should be enough. In some cases scam, pop-ups may be hard to close; in such cases - close your Internet browser and restart it.

In extremely rare cases, you might need to reset your Internet browser. For this, use our instructions explaining how to reset Internet browser settings.

How to prevent fake pop-ups?

To prevent seeing pop-up scams, you should visit only reputable websites. Torrent, Crack, free online movie streaming, YouTube video download, and other websites of similar reputation commonly redirect Internet users to pop-up scams.

To minimize the risk of encountering pop-up scams, you should keep your Internet browsers up-to-date and use reputable anti-malware application. For this purpose, we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.

What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?

This depends on the type of scam that you fell for. Most commonly, pop-up scams try to trick users into sending money, giving away personal information, or giving access to one's device.

  • If you sent money to scammers: You should contact your financial institution and explain that you were scammed. If informed promptly, there's a chance to get your money back.
  • If you gave away your personal information: You should change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication in all online services that you use. Visit Federal Trade Commission to report identity theft and get personalized recovery steps.
  • If you let scammers connect to your device: You should scan your computer with reputable anti-malware (we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows) - cyber criminals could have planted trojans, keyloggers, and other malware, don't use your computer until removing possible threats.
  • Help other Internet users: report Internet scams to Federal Trade Commission.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is an online scam?

Online scams are deceptive messages designed to push users into performing specific actions. For example, victims may be lured into connecting their wallets to crypto drainers, making monetary transactions, disclosing sensitive information, calling fake support lines, downloading/installing software, subscribing to services, etc.

What is the purpose of online scams?

Online scams aim to generate revenue for their designers. Scammers predominantly profit by obtaining funds through deception, promoting content (e.g., websites, software, products, services, etc.), selling/abusing private data, and proliferating malware.

I have lost cryptocurrency to the "$PAPE Pre-Sale" scam, can I get my money back?

No, cryptocurrency transactions cannot be reversed because of their practically untraceable nature.

Why do I encounter online scams?

Online scams are most widely promoted via spam (e.g., social media posts, DMs/PMs, SMSes, browser notifications, etc.), mistyped URLs (typosquatting), websites employing rogue advertising networks, intrusive adverts, and adware.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from online scams?

Combo Cleaner can scan visited websites and detect rogue, deceptive/scam, and malicious sites. Hence, should you enter such a page – you will be warned immediately, and further access to it will be restricted.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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