Images: Shutterstock. Composition: Author

All These Ethereum Scam Emails Are Destroying My Inbox

Help me.

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Sep 29 2017, 3:00pm

Images: Shutterstock. Composition: Author

Over the past week, I received more than 60 email notifications from people trying to steal money from me.

Well, actually, they're trying to steal cryptocurrency. You see, as part of my work reporting on cryptocurrencies, I occasionally join Slack channels where communities dedicated to particular currencies or apps hang out and talk about the issues. Recently, scammers have started to use free Slack accounts in order to send direct messages to potential victims and trick them into sending cryptocurrency. The frequency of these scams has become a full-on pandemic, with prominent critics going so far as to say that any company that uses Slack as their app's homebase is being irresponsible.

Knowing this, I usually turn off email notifications in these Slack channels so that I at least don't have to see the spam in my inbox. One time, I forgot. And ever since, I have been punished with endless spam emails. They flood in, filling up my browser page with a wall of uniform text, all screaming that I need to invest NOW. It is infuriating, and it is slowly chipping away at my sanity.

Read More: Ethereum's Biggest Hacking Problem Is Human Greed

The offending app and its Slack channel will remain unnamed because this is an industry-wide problem, and the administrators handily ban scammers as soon as they're alerted. But holy shit, this is bad.

The messages follow one of two templates, and they're usually sent to me by a different user every time. In one formulation, the scammer tells me that the app's Initial Coin Offering (a crowdsale wherein users exchange cryptocurrency for tokens that may or may not do something in the app) is about to end and I need to invest. The message includes an Ethereum address that is filled with people commenting that they've been scammed. The second stock scam message warns me that the app is going to update the code for its token contract, and sends me a link to a fake (but legitimate-looking) digital wallet service for Ethereum.

After being assaulted with email after email, I can see how these scams have managed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from people so far this year. If nothing else, they're persistent.

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