How to identify fake giveaways like the "MODE Airdrop"

Also Known As: Fake MODE Airdrop
Damage level: Medium

What is the fake "MODE Airdrop"?

Our examination of the page (app.modenetwork[.]cm) has revealed that it is a scam site hosting a fake MODE cryptocurrency giveaway (airdrop). This site mimics the real Mode page, mode[.]network, to trick users. The purpose of the fake page is to steal cryptocurrency assets from victims.

MODE 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.

The fake "MODE Airdrop" in detail

Mode, a Modular DeFi L2 platform developed with the OP Stack and integrated into the Optimism Superchain, debuted its mainnet in January 2024. Its native utility token, MODE, serves as the governance instrument within the ecosystem. Scammers have created a fake page (app.modenetwork[.]cm) to lure users into participating in a fake giveaway (supposedly hosted by Mode developers).

On the fake website, individuals are offered to join the airdrop to receive free cryptocurrency. App.modenetwork[.]cm instructs users to connect their wallets to participate. Upon entering the requested details (login information), a malicious contract is signed. By signing this contract, unsuspecting users execute a cryptocurrency drainer.

This draining tool is designed to steal cryptocurrency from victims. It achieves this by automatically transferring digital assets from the wallet connected through app.modenetwork[.]cm to the scammer's wallet. Thus, victims who sign a malicious contract on app.modenetwork[.]cm lose their cryptocurrency funds.

It is important to know that once a cryptocurrency transaction is completed, it cannot be reversed. This means that victims cannot retrieve the lost funds. Therefore, users should be careful when joining airdrops or using other crypto-related platforms.

Before providing any information (e.g., connecting a wallet), users are advised to make sure the website is legitimate.

Threat Summary:
Name Fake MODE Airdrop
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Participants will receive free cryptocurrency
Disguise Legitimate cryptocurrency giveaway hosted by Mode
Related Domain app.modenetwork[.]cm
Detection Names (app.modenetwork[.]cm) N/A (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Unofficial 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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The number of scams similar to the fake "MODE Airdrop" is growing every day. Usually, these scams exploit the names of existing platforms like Mode to trick users into connecting their wallets and signing malicious contracts. Also, these scam websites are very similar to the original ones.

Thus, it is important to research platforms, check their URLs, and not make any transactions or provide information on websites without making sure they are trustworthy. Some examples of fraudulent giveaways are the fake "Arbitrum (ARB) NFT Airdrop", "Hyperliquid ($HYPE) Airdrop", and "Klaytn ($KLAY) Airdrop".

How did I open a scam website?

Fraudulent websites designed to trick users into activating cryptocurrency drainers are promoted mainly through hijacked social media accounts or compromised WordPress websites. Other common methods to trick users into visiting scam websites are creating deceptive advertisements and sending emails containing links.

Users often land on scam websites via pages that use rogue advertising networks, such as torrent sites and illegal movie streaming websites. Ads delivered by adware and notifications from untrustworthy web pages can also direct users to scam pages.

How to avoid visiting scam pages?

Do not open links in emails or messages from unknown senders, especially when they are irrelevant. Download programs (and files) from trustworthy/official websites or app stores. Avoid interacting with pop-ups, warnings, ads, download buttons, etc., when visiting suspicious websites. Do not permit questionable sites to send notifications.

Regularly update all apps and the operating system, and use reputable security software for protection. 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 "MODE Airdrop" website (GIF):

Appearance of MODE Airdrop scam

Real Mode web page (mode[.]network):

MODE Airdrop scam real website (mode.network)

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 giveaway?

A fake giveaway is a scam designed to trick individuals into believing they will receive a reward (e.g., cryptocurrency or gift cards) for participation.

What is the purpose of a fake giveaway?

These giveaways (cryptocurrency) usually are designed to extract personal information and (or) steal cryptocurrency. The fake Mode airdrop, for example, uses a cryptocurrency drainer to steal cryptocurrency from victims.

Why do I encounter fake giveaways?

Fake giveaways are promoted via misleading ads, links shared on social media from hacked accounts, compromised WordPress sites, phishing emails, ads from adware, notifications from untrustworthy websites, and pages linked to rogue advertising networks. Typically, users land on scam websites via unreliable links, other shady pages, or misleading ads.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from scam websites?

Combo Cleaner scans websites to spot malicious ones, especially those designed to deceive users. It quickly warns users and restricts access to such sites.

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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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