How to avoid losing money via scams like the fake "$PunkAI Airdrop Registration"

Also Known As: $PunkAI Airdrop Registration fake giveaway
Damage level: Medium

What is the fake "$PunkAI Airdrop Registration" site?

We have analyzed the site (punkaisol[.]com) and determined that it is a scam website offering individuals to participate in a cryptocurrency airdrop (giveaway). This fraudulent page is a copy of the original Punk AI site (punkai[.]meme). Scammers created this scam site to steal cryptocurrency.

$PunkAI Airdrop Registration 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 "$PunkAI Airdrop Registration" platform in detail

PunkAI on Solana is a project that integrates advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology. It offers an exclusive MEME pass on Solana, providing access to the world of memecoin. The fake website (punkaisol[.]com) offers users to participate in an $PunkAI crypto airdrop. It claims that participants are required to register on the site to participate.

The fraudulent page also mentions that only those who register within the next 24 hours will be eligible. Upon clicking the "REGISTER NOW" button on punkaisol[.]com, a pop-up instructs users to connect their wallets. However, connecting a wallet through this site signs a malicious contract.

By signing this contract, users enable a cryptocurrency drainer that permits scammers to steal cryptocurrency funds. Once executed, this drainer can automatically transfer cryptocurrency from the user's wallet to the scammer's. Consequently, individuals who activate crypto drainers via sites like punkaisol[.]com risk having their wallets depleted.

Individuals who become victims of these scams permanently lose their stolen cryptocurrency holdings. Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible, meaning that recovering the stolen funds is impossible without the scammers' cooperation. In order to mitigate the risk of financial loss from such scams, it is crucial to conduct thorough research on cryptocurrency platforms.

Threat Summary:
Name $PunkAI Airdrop Registration fake giveaway
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Participants can receive free $PunkAI coins
Disguise Legitimate airdrop held by Punk AI
Related Domain punkaisol[.]com
Detection Names (punkaisol[.]com) Fortinet (Spam), Full List Of Detections (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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Similar scams in general

There are plenty of fake giveaways masquerading as genuine crypto airdrops, such as the fake "Retik Finance Giveaway", "APECOIN Airdrop", and "$GUMMY Airdrop". Perpetrators of these fraudulent schemes entice victims with promises of free cryptocurrency. However, falling for these scams results in unwittingly activating crypto drainers, leading to the loss of digital assets for victims.

How did I open a scam website?

Fraudsters utilize multiple tactics to trick users into visiting scam websites. For instance, they hijack WordPress sites and or steal social media accounts, sometimes belonging to celebrities or companies, to promote their scams. Fake social media (or other) accounts are also employed to lure users.

Additionally, deceptive ads, pop-ups, and notifications from untrustworthy sources are used as a lure. In other instances, advertisements originating from adware, links in phishing emails, and pages linked to rogue advertising networks, such as torrent sites, are employed to entice users to visit scam websites.

How to avoid visiting scam pages?

Always double-check URLs for authenticity before sharing any personal information, downloading files, transferring money, or taking other actions. Avoid interacting with links (or files) in unexpected emails and messages, especially if they are from unfamiliar senders. Do not click ads, pop-ups, notifications, etc., displayed by shady sites.

Download programs and files from official websites and app stores (do not use P2P networks, third-party downloaders, unofficial app stores, etc.). Utilize reputable antivirus software and ensure that all apps and the operating system are regularly updated. 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 "$PunkAI Airdrop Registration" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of $PunkAI Airdrop Registration scam

The real Punk AI page (punkai[.]meme):

$PunkAI Airdrop Registration real website (punkai.meme)

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 deceitful giveaway is a scheme where scammers use false promises of prizes or rewards (such as gift cards or cryptocurrency) to lure people into participating.

What is the purpose of a fake giveaway?

Fraudulent airdrops and similar giveaways are designed to trick participants into sharing personal information (e.g., login credentials for cryptocurrency wallets), sending money, triggering cryptocurrency drainers, or performing other actions.

Why do I encounter fake giveaways and other scams?

Users frequently come across scam websites through deceptive advertisements, pop-ups, and scam emails. Moreover, they might unintentionally land on these sites via platforms that employ illicit advertising networks, links shared on fake or stolen social media profiles, or advertisements presented by untrustworthy adware.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pages hosting scams?

Combo Cleaner has the capability to analyze web pages and identify suspicious ones, including those associated with scams. When it identifies such sites, it alerts users and blocks access to prevent them from being exposed to potential threats.

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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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