How to identify fake airdrops like "Merlin Swap Airdrop"

Also Known As: Merlin Swap Airdrop fake giveaway
Damage level: Medium

What is the fake "Merlin Swap Airdrop"?

Upon closer inspection of the site (mage-airdrop-merlinchain[.]com), we identified that it is a deceptive website promoting a fake cryptocurrency giveaway (airdrop). This scam page is presented as the number one decentralized exchange in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Scammers use this website to steal cryptocurrency.

Merlin Swap Airdrop scam

IMPORTANT NOTE: We do not review crypto projects, please do your own research when investing money.

Federal Trade Comission (FTC) states that since the start of 2021, more than 46,000 people have reported losing over $1 billion in crypto to scams – that's about one out of every four dollars reported lost, more than any other payment method.

Fake "Merlin Swap Airdrop" in detail

In cryptocurrency, an airdrop means giving away free tokens or coins to individuals who hold a particular cryptocurrency or meet certain conditions set by the project. On mage-airdrop-merlinchain[.]com, users are offered to join various campaigns (airdrops) and claim free cryptocurrency.

Scammers behind mage-airdrop-merlinchain[.]com aim to trick visitors into believing that the page (MerlinStarter) is a legitimate platform that is the accelerator for all BTCLayer2 projects. Their goal is to lure individuals into "connecting" their wallets, which is the "required" step in claiming cryptocurrency.

However, when a cryptocurrency wallet is "connected", it triggers the signing of a malicious contract, initiating a cryptocurrency drainer. The purpose of this drainer is to siphon cryptocurrency from the victim's wallet. It transfers crypto holdings from the victim's wallet to the one owned by scammers.

It is important to understand that cryptocurrency transactions cannot be undone once completed unless the recipient chooses to return the received cryptocurrency. Therefore, individuals should analyze cryptocurrency-related platforms before connecting their wallets, sharing sensitive information, or investing their digital assets to prevent potential financial losses or other issues.

Threat Summary:
Name Merlin Swap Airdrop fake giveaway
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Participants have the opportunity to receive free cryptocurrency
Disguise Legitimate cryptocurrency airdrop and exchange
Related Domain mage-airdrop-merlinchain.com
Detection Names N/A (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.
Distribution methods Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Online scams in general

Scams like mage-airdrop-merlinchain[.]com usually lure victims into connecting their wallets by offering free tokens, coins, or other rewards. However, the true intention behind these scams is to deceive users into activating a cryptocurrency drainer, allowing scammers to steal funds.

Since retrieving cryptocurrency sent to scammers is nearly impossible, users should be careful when encountering offers to participate in airdrops and ensure the platforms are legitimate. Some examples of fraudulent crypto-related projects are the fake "$SAFE Token Airdrop", "$LOC PRE-SALE", and "Polyhedra Network $ZK Airdrop".

How did I open a scam website?

Untrustworthy websites like mage-airdrop-merlinchain[.]com are usually promoted via hijacked WordPress sites or stolen social media accounts belonging to well-known companies or celebrities. Other ways scammers use to promote fraudulent sites include sending phishing emails containing links or attachments or creating deceptive ads.

Additionally, scam pages can be encountered while visiting websites associated with rogue advertising networks (e.g., torrent sites and illegal movie streaming pages). Advertisements delivered by adware can also be used to promote scam pages like mage-airdrop-merlinchain[.]com. Either way, most users get tricked into visiting websites hosting scams.

How to avoid visiting scam pages?

Check the website URL for accuracy before opening, as scammers often use misspellings of legitimate URLs to trick users into visiting fake websites. Be skeptical of websites promising free cryptocurrency or similar offers. Download applications (and files) from reliable sources, such as official web pages and app stores.

Never agree to receive notifications from suspicious websites or interact with ads, pop-ups, buttons, or similar content on questionable sites. Also, do not open links or files in unsolicited emails received from unknown addresses. Keep your operating system and installed apps up to date and use reputable security software.

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

The appearance of "Merlin Swap Airdrop" scam (GIF):

Appearance of Merlin Swap Airdrop scam

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Quick menu:

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 a crypto scam?

Usually, a cryptocurrency-related scam is a fraudulent scheme created to steal crypto holdings from unsuspecting individuals. Scammers use various methods to achieve that, including fake cryptocurrency airdrops and crypto drainers.

Is it possible to retrieve lost crypto funds?

It is nearly impossible to retrieve cryptocurrency lost due to falling victim to a scam. Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible.

Why do I encounter crypto scams?

Typically, scammers advertise fake airdrops and other crypto scams through stolen social media profiles, hacked WordPress sites, phishing emails, misleading ads, deceptive pop-ups, websites that use rogue advertising networks, and similar channels.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from scams?

Combo Cleaner is designed to detect a wide range of scams, promptly notifying users and enforcing access restrictions when necessary.

▼ Show Discussion

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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

About PCrisk

PCrisk is a cyber security portal, informing Internet users about the latest digital threats. Our content is provided by security experts and professional malware researchers. Read more about us.

Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Merlin Swap Airdrop fake giveaway QR code
Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Merlin Swap Airdrop fake giveaway on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Windows malware infections today:

Download Combo Cleaner

Platform: Windows

Editors' Rating for Combo Cleaner:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.