Don’t fall victim to scammers when merging Ethereum
Fraudsters may try to capitalize on any confusion in the merger, so don’t let them steal your crypto.
- The Ethereum merger will move the network from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake.
- Scammers may try to take advantage of people’s confusion, especially if Ethereum splits into two chains.
- Be hyper vigilant, especially if you receive unsolicited support emails or invitations to profit from ETH2 tokens.
The long-awaited Ethereum (ETH) merger is just around the corner. Ethereum’s merge from a proof-of-work model to a proof-of-stake validation model will begin tomorrow (September 6) and be completed within a few weeks. The switch will reduce Ethereum’s power consumption by over 99% and co-founder Vitalik Buterin believes it will make the network more secure in the long run.
However, scammers often take advantage of times of change. They can use them to trick investors into sharing sensitive information or signing contracts that could cost them their crypto. Here are three ways to avoid falling victim to Ethereum merger scams.
1. Beware of unsolicited messages from exchanges or wallet providers
Phishing is an increasingly common scam, both inside and outside the crypto world. Fraudsters impersonate a trusted party – such as your crypto exchange – and attempt to trick you into sharing your information. You may receive a message asking you to click on a link that takes you to a spoofed (fake) website or installs malware on your computer.
During the merge, you might receive emails asking you to log in to activate your new tokens or to unlock your staked Ethereum. It could even mean that your Ethereum holdings have been compromised in some way. If you receive an email claiming to be from a service you use, here are some signs that it might be a scam:
- The e-mail address is not entirely correct. It may be sent from a Gmail or Hotmail account, or the company name may be slightly misspelled.
- This requires urgent action. Phishers want you to panic so that you take action so that you are not as cautious as usual.
- The logo is not quite correct. Maybe the color of the company logo is slightly off, or there’s something about the font that doesn’t look right. This is a red flag.
- He does not use your name. If you have an account with a company, they will usually write to you by name. An email with a generic Dear Sir or Madam, or Dear Crypto Investor, is likely to be a fraud.
- It asks you to share your password. Customer service employees will never ask you for your crypto wallet password or seed phrase.
As a general rule, don’t click on links in emails from companies, even those you have accounts with. Instead, access the website directly from your browser or log in to your account from your app. If the message indicates that there is an issue that needs to be addressed, contact customer support through the website or app. You can even call their customer support and try speaking to a human, if the exchange has a helpline.
Some parts of the Ethereum community do not want to move to proof-of-stake. This could mean the blockchain has to fork – essentially split in two. This will duplicate everything that currently exists on Ethereum, and then the two chains will separate. You would then have two coins, your ETH and your bifurcated ETH. If there are more forks, you will have even more copies of your crypto. You might be tempted to immediately sell the forked tokens, but it could be risky.
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One of the risks is what is called a replay attack. This would involve replicating the transaction ID for your forked ETH sale on the current Ethereum blockchain. Scammers would create an identical transaction to steal your real ETH. The people behind the proposed fork told Decrypt that it wouldn’t happen, but it’s still worth being careful.
There are other ways scammers can trick you into selling your real ETH, when you think you are selling the forked ETH. You might think you are transacting on the forked blockchain when you are actually transacting on the real one. Don’t try anything new or rush into transactions – your forked ETH will still be there once the dust settles.
3. Don’t touch anything that promises ETH2 tokens
Once the merger is complete, you will still own your ETH and you don’t have to do anything. There is no ETH2, and anyone who promises transactions, trades, or investments is trying to trick you out of your Ethereum. Similarly, there will be no airdrops. If you receive an airdrop, the scammer could take control of your wallet when you attempt to claim the rewards.
If you are contacted by someone posing as an Ethereum support agent, do not give them any information. As we mentioned before, never share your password or seed phrase with anyone, especially not anyone who contacts you out of the blue.
At the end of the line
The best way to avoid scammers when merging Ethereum is to do nothing. The Ethereum blockchain will merge and your Ethereum will still be your Ethereum. If there is a fork, you may also receive the forked tokens, but wait for the chaos to pass and let any potential scams unfold before trying to do anything with those tokens.