How to avoid losing crypto assets in scams like "USDT NFT Airdrop"

Also Known As: Fake USDT NFT Airdrop
Damage level: Medium

What is the fake "USDT NFT Airdrop"?

Upon examining the site (token-usdt[.]com), we discovered that it is a scan website copying tether[.]to. The purpose of the fake page is to trick visitors into believing that they can participate in an airdrop and receive cryptocurrency for free. The ultimate goal is to steal cryptocurrency assets from victims.

USDT NFT 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 "USDT NFT Airdrop" overview

Token-usdt[.]com presents itself as the official USDT NFT airdrop platform. It claims that users who have received the USDT Mysterybox NFT in the ongoing airdrop can exchange it for USDT. In order to initiate the process, users are prompted to click on a button ("CONNECT WALLET", "Claim Reward", or similar) provided on the website.

The purpose of token-usdt[.]com is to trick individuals into "connecting" their wallets through the page. Doing so signs a malicious contract designed to activate a cryptocurrency drainer. The purpose of this drainer is to steal cryptocurrency. It achieves this by transferring digital assets from the victim's crypto wallet to the scammer's wallet.

Once cryptocurrency is stolen (a transaction is completed), victims cannot retrieve it. Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible, meaning victims lose their funds/digital assets permanently. For this reason, it is important to research cryptocurrency airdrops and other platforms before connecting wallets, sending cryptocurrency, or performing other actions.

It is also important to mention that Tether is a stablecoin cryptocurrency launched by the Tether Limited Inc. The official site (tether[.]to) has nothing to do with token-usdt[.]com (the fake website).

Threat Summary:
Name Fake USDT NFT Airdrop
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Participants can receive free Tether cryptocurrency
Disguise Legitimate Tether airdrop even
Related Domain token-usdt[.]com
Detection Names (token-usdt[.]com) Fortinet (Spam), Full List Of Detections (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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There are numerous examples of fake websites like token-usdt[.]com. Typically, they are copies of original pages with similar or identical designs offering to participate in cryptocurrency airdrops or similar events. Users who fall for such scams lose their cryptocurrency. Thus, skepticism and thorough research are required to avoid losing crypto holdings due to such scams.

Examples of similar scams are the fake "BRETT Airdrop", "Grayscale ($GRAY) Airdrop", and "Renzo ($REZ) Token Allocation".

How did I open a scam website?

Scam pages like token-usdt[.]com are usually promoted through hijacked WordPress sites or stolen social media accounts (mostly the ones belonging to well-known people or companies). Also, users may encounter scams by interacting with notifications from unreliable pages, ads on dubious sites, or links in suspicious emails.

Adware and similar software can also be used to trick visitors into visiting scam websites. Another common channel for promoting scams is rogue advertising networks. In such cases, users land on scam sites while visiting torrent sites, illegal movie streaming pages, or similar pages.

How to avoid visiting scam pages?

Avoid visiting questionable (e.g., unofficial) websites and downloading apps from dubious sources. Stick to official pages and app stores. Avoid interacting with links and files in unsolicited emails, especially when they are received from unknown or suspicious addresses. Do not trust pop-ups, ads, download buttons, etc., on shady sites, and do not permit such pages to show notifications.

Update the operating system and applications regularly. Regular system scans should also be performed to detect and remove potential threats. 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 "USDT NFT Airdrop" site (GIF):

Appearance of USDT NFT Airdrop scam

Screenshot of the real page (tether[.]to):

USDT NFT Airdrop real website tether.to

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 cryptocurrency airdrop?

It is a fake giveaway that claims participants can receive cryptocurrency for free by connecting their wallets or performing other actions.

What is the purpose of a fake airdrop?

Typically, scammers behind such schemes aim to steal cryptocurrency through cryptocurrency drainers or the theft of crypto wallets.

Why do I encounter scams?

Typically, users encounter scams upon clicking deceptive ads, opening links in fraudulent emails, visiting pages associated with rogue advertising networks (e.g., torrent sites), or interacting with notifications from unreliable websites.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?

Combo Cleaner can scan every website you visit, with the ability to identify malicious ones. This includes sites designed to host various scams, ensuring immediate warnings and access restrictions for your safety.

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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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