How to spot fraudulent airdrops like the fake "BRETT Airdrop"

Also Known As: Fake BRETT Airdrop
Damage level: Medium

What is the fake "BRETT Airdrop"?

We have inspected the 21-brett[.]com web page and found that it hosts a scam posing as a cryptocurrency airdrop held by the real Brett website (brett[.]fyi). Scammers behind the fake page aim to trick individuals into believing that they can participate in a cryptocurrency giveaway. However, victims of this scam are likely to lose their crypto funds.

BRETT 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 "BRETT Airdrop" in detail

The fake page (21-brett[.]com) promotes a $BRETT cryptocurrency giveaway (airdrop) where participants are supposed to receive $BRETT for free. However, the true purpose of this site is to lure visitors into connecting their wallets. Providing the requested details ("connecting a wallet") on 21-brett[.]com signs a malicious contract.

Once a malicious contract is signed, 21-brett[.]com activates a cryptocurrency drainer. This drainer is a malicious tool employed to steal cryptocurrency. It operates by transferring cryptocurrency from the victim's wallet to the wallet controlled by scammers. Thus, victims of the scam operated through 21-brett[.]com lose their crypto holdings.

It is important to note that once a cryptocurrency transaction is completed, it cannot be reversed. In other words, victims of scams like the one hosted by 21-brett[.]com lose their cryptocurrency permanently. Thus, it is important not to provide any information or transfer cryptocurrency on platforms without being completely sure that they are legitimate.

Threat Summary:
Name Fake BRETT Airdrop
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Participants can receive cryptocurrency for free
Disguise Legitimate $BRETT cryptocurrency giveaway
Related Domain 21-brett[.]com, pre-basedbrett[.]com
Detection Names (21-brett[.]com) N/A (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Incorrect domain, lack of official verification, unrealistic claims, too good-to-be-true promises.
Distribution methods Compromised social media accounts, hijacked WordPress sites, rogue online pop-up ads, phishing emails, unwanted applications.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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21-brett[.]com is one of the many examples of deceptive pages that entice visitors with the promise of a cryptocurrency giveaway, only to deceive them into connecting their wallets and triggering a cryptocurrency drainer. Typically, scams like the one described in our article exploit original platforms. They often use similar designs and URLs.

Some examples of similar fraudulent schemes are the fake "Toncoin (TON) Airdrop", "Grayscale ($GRAY) Airdrop", and "Meson ($MSN) Airdrop Claim".

How did I open a scam website?

Users often land on scam websites through misleading advertisements on unreliable websites, notifications from shady web pages, ads displayed by adware, and similar channels. Phishing emails containing links or files and sites utilizing rogue advertising networks (e.g., torrent sites and illegal movie streaming pages) are also used to promote scams.

Pages like 21-brett[.]com are often promoted by scammers through hijacked WordPress pages or social media accounts belonging to real (and often well-known) people of companies.

How to avoid visiting scam pages?

Be skeptical when visiting websites offering something for free and clicking ads, pop-ups, banners, coupons, etc., on suspicious pages. Do not open links or attachments in unexpected emails from unknown senders. Download apps (or files) from reliable sources, such as official pages and app stores.

Do not permit questionable web pages to send notifications. Regularly update the operating system and installed programs. Also, use a reputable security solution. 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 the fake "BRETT Airdrop" (GIF):

Appearance of BRETT Airdrop scam

The original Brett website (brett[.]fyi):

Brett Airdrop scam real website (brett.fyi)

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 a fake crypto airdrop?

Fake airdrops masquerade as genuine cryptocurrency giveaways, deceiving users with the promise of free cryptocurrency. Typically, these scams target users to obtain sensitive information or cryptocurrency assets.

Is it possible to retrieve lost crypto funds?

Once scammers acquire or steal cryptocurrency, it becomes irretrievable. Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible unless the recipient returns the received funds.

Why do I encounter crypto scams?

Such scams often spread via compromised social media accounts or WordPress pages, alongside phishing emails containing malicious links or attachments. Moreover, scammers utilize deceptive ads and platforms like torrent sites, which employ unreliable advertising networks, to entice users into accessing fraudulent websites.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from scams?

Combo Cleaner scrutinizes websites, identifying untrustworthy ones, including those harboring scams. Upon detection of such a site, the application promptly notifies the user and prevents access to the dubious website.

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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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