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How I was scammed of 42.5 BTC last night.

(TL:DR - Escrow scam. Forums. DON'T DO IT!!!)
Morning Redditors,
This is the story of how I gave away over £12,000 of Bitcoins last night to a conman. I hope that it is a good read, up there with other true crime stories like The Hatton Garden Heist or Making of a Murderer but I can't promise crowbars let alone a murder. The real purpose of this story is to make sure no one else ends up being scammed like I did.
Two days ago I watched with my brother the escalation of Ethereum up into the night sky, a twinkling $2 star. We discussed making an investment in Eth as our mining operation at 126 MH/s didn't instill the same sense of excitement from the rising Eth price. What if we had not spent £900 on the rig but simply invested it at 90 cents. We'd surely be laughing now. Not watching tears puddle.
Now it isn't straight forward buying Eth, first you have to get some Bitcoin and then use that on an exchange site to get Eth. Being a tight arse I spent a long time googling how to get hold of Eth in the cheapest possible way without buying it for $2.2 or more. That's when...
Scanning the https://forum.ethereum.org/categories/sale I spotted a guy who wanted to sell over 32,000 Eth. The dream was to be able to afford vanilla latte's whenever I went out. A mere 1000 Eth would be plenty...
Exhibit 1 This is the post I clicked on and private messaged the guy..
"I'll offer you 4.5 BTC for 1000 ETH". That's about $1.8 per ETH.
"I can sell you more 10k ETH for 42,5 btc if you want to buy." About $1.7 per ETH.
"Hmmm. I'm interested, but want to know a bit more. How would this transfer work? How do I know I won't get scammed :) Sorry. Thanks" Slap myself so hard it cuts my quivering lip
"It's ok and i respect yours question . We can use any escrow , also i have 15600 ETH and i will sell them all.Ok, escrow is ok for me."
"Ok. I've never used an escrow before, do you know a particular one that is good?"
"https://webchat.freenode.net/ channel #ethereum DEV is Animazing , join here pls"
Exhibit 2
OK so it should be like on a submarine when the alarms go mental, all the internal cogs firing warnings. Yeah I obviously had a few doubts but the guy was so convincing and confident.. bloody con men.
-------- PART 2 --------
This is not easy to write. I'd prefer to simply forget and move on and not go on any holidays for a while.
You may have noticed how my initial 1000 ETH request turned into 10,000 ETH! Just like that. Hey, why not? We could sell it on almost immediately for more. OK. That's most of my savings but imagine the reward. And so easy. Easy money. If it looks to good... blah blah. bullshit.
So we're doing escrow. ESCROW. Someone mentioned that once somewhere, it's that safe way of transferring money via a middle mediator who makes sure both sides give him the money before he passes it on. Everyone is happy. And safe. I googled escrow naturally as I didn't know much about it. Still don't. But the fact is there wasn't an obviously site that jumped out and said "I look safe and modern, do escrow with me!". So I kindly asked the conman to recommend somewhere and he directed me to the chatrooms of Ethereum.
Fucking hell. Anyway on we go.
--- NEW SCENE: https://webchat.freenode.net/ #ethereum ---
The guy StrongEth has the name 'Navigator' now. He directs me to a private chat room with a guy called @'Animazing. I have no idea who this is. I am reprimanded by @'Animazing for my ignorance. He is an Ethereum dev and forum moderator. Oops, I don't want to ruin the deal. I apologise for my ignorance. Navigator also apologises on my behalf and then tells me not to worry in our own private chatroom.
[19:07] <@Animazing> i/m Moderator [19:07] <@Animazing> and who are you ? [19:08] <+lifeofplum> I'm just a guy who wants to buy some eth [19:08] <+lifeofplum> Ok but I don't see what stops you running with our coins? [19:08] <@Animazing> Then go search who i'm [19:08] <@Animazing> before you say anything [19:09] <+Navigator> sorry man [19:09] <+Navigator> He don't know, he is new [19:09] <@Animazing> I don't care Navigator who is who [19:09] <+Navigator> i know [19:10] <@Animazing> He need to checked before he cross in Ethereum community [19:11] <@Animazing> http://pgp.cs.uu.nl/paths/85BE4B0C/to/695506FD.html [19:11] <@Animazing> ifeofplum [19:11] <@Animazing> http://pgp.cs.uu.nl/paths/85BE4B0C/to/695506FD.html [19:11] <@Animazing> FIRST READ [19:11] <+lifeofplum> look i'm going to need to do a bit of research, this is just going a bit too quick sorry [19:12] <@Animazing> https://redditjs.comanimazing [19:17] <@Animazing> So guys
To be honest I had no idea what these pgp images showed. But they looked legit to me.. Me. Who knows nothing about escrow or pgp. Dick head. Exhibit 3 - PGP link
My next quest was to get hold of 42.5 BTC. No easy task. Especially when you are not verified on any of the main sites. After a couple of hours deliberating and coming up with nothing I tell Navigator it is no good, maybe we can try again tomorrow. I was going to play a boardgame downstairs (Castles of Burgundy) so was quite happy to leave it there. Navigator says "try LocalBitcoins". The price was £293.46 per BTC and I would deal with a individual seller. Hmmm. I wasn't too sure about this. But I thought it seemed alright and could be done quickly so I went ahead. Doing it in two installments of 20 BTC and then 22.5 BTC .. to be safe!!!! Ha. Well it went perfectly well.
That was maybe another point where I got further sucked into his web. Now I had trusted one random guy on the internet and it had gone well. Why would I doubt Navigator? Eh?
The excitement was beginning to build. Imagine 10,000 ETH. Imagine when the price climbs higher. This is my moment. At the time I remember thinking.. "look back on this date as one of those days when your life changed". Oh god. The writing was on the wall in front of my face.
!!!ATTENTION: people have been impersonating Ethereum staff. Please note: we will NEVER advise you on an investment, ask for private keys etc. Be careful !!!
I even brought this up with Navigator..
"Yeah you have to be careful". We can trust @'Animazing though 100%."
Fuck a doodle do. Animazing gave me his bitcoin address. I send the 42.5 BTC to that address. He tells me to be patient, it can take up to 20 minutes to reach him. We wait 16 minutes exactly until it is confirmed.
[22:53] <@Animazing> i POST BTC address [22:53] <@Animazing> 1AA3DK4ru2musrEuduyg4dSofCieZteUAW [22:53] <+lifeofplum> ok [22:54] Ok 42,5 btc for 10000 ETH [22:54] <+lifeofplum> Right [22:54] <+lifeofplum> Sending now [22:54] <@Animazing> Ok [22:54] <+lifeofplum> Sent [22:55] <@Animazing> Ok [22:56] <@Animazing> waiting to confirmation [22:58] <+lifeofplum> how long does this normally take for transfer? [22:58] <@Animazing> still unconfirmed [22:58] <@Animazing> 20 min [22:59] <+lifeofplum> ok [23:12] <+lifeofplum> 1 confirmation i think [23:12] <@Animazing> yes , still waiting [23:18] <+lifeofplum> I see "3 confirmations" for the transaction in my wallet now [23:19] <@Animazing> wait pls [23:22] <@Animazing> 2 confirmation [23:22] <@Animazing> in the wallet [23:22] <@Animazing> just wait 1 more [23:32] == `Animazing [[email protected]/web/cgi-irc/kiwiirc.com/ip.195.242.222.166] has quit [Quit: http://www.kiwiirc.com/ - A hand crafted IRC client] [23:32] == Navigator [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.195.242.222.166] has quit [Quit: Page closed]
Hold on. Why did they both leave at exactly the same time? Stay calm, it's ok. Maybe the chatroom went down. But I was still here, other people too - enquiring about how to get their mining rig running in Geth. That black hole of doubt started sucking me in. Little by little until I was overcome. This cannot be. No way. There must be an explanation.
@Animazing was still in the forum but when I tried messaging him I was told he way away. Hmm. Why had he suddenly disappeared? Surely everything would be OK - if he were a main dev of Ethereum he couldn't run away. THINK.
Navigator had sent that pgp image and there was an email address for one Jeffrey Wilcke. I googled him, he was definitely a real person. Everything would be fine. I could hunt him down in Amsterdam on my bicycle if need be. So I emailed him. No reply.
Found Animazing on Reddit - "Where are you? We were in the middle of escrow."
Found Ethereum on Facebook - Private message "Do you know Animazing? I need to speak to him asap."
What to do? Had I really just lost £12,748? Cycling through the stages of grief.
Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression...
Surely someone would know Animazing in the chatrooms. I spammed everyone. You know when you exert yourself or find yourself really panicked and high on adrenaline, and you just don't care about anything - no inhibitions. Well now I was at this point. Someone needed to tell me something. Finally some guy called kopykat seemed a bit wise to the situation..
"What was his name exactly?" he asked.
"Animazing"
"Can you copy and paste it?"
"@'Animazing"
"Well that isn't Animazing. Do you see the '? It's a fake account. An impersonator."
The final torpedo had hit. The submarine was going to rest on the bed, the people resigned to be entombed for eternity among the fishes. ANGER. HOW COULD I BE SO STUPID?
PART 3 - Today. 25th January. After the night before.
An awful night of anxiety, there was no cold side to the pillow anymore. At around 9am I received an email from an Ethereum developer - the real Animazing - who I had Facebooked last night:
"I'm afraid you got scammed. I have never done nor will I ever do an escrow."
Bargaining. It can't have been for nothing. As I rolled sweaty in the night head spinning like the stars above I thought about how this could possibly be a positive thing in my life. I would sell my story and make my money back! HA. Nope, that would mean everyone would know how much a fool I am. I don't want to be a fool to the world. I can keep that to myself.
Maybe this is my way in to a job at Ethereum? Some people do actually have to pay for internships these days. Nope, it is time to be realistic and go and chop some wood. It won't know what hit it.
The final stage of grief hit me late this morning: Acceptance.
submitted by Plum8 to ethtrader [link] [comments]

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