Scammers are reported to have stolen over $2 million in cryptocurrency in an alleged initial coin offering (ICO) scam.
In a report from CNBC, the person or people involved used a fake LinkedIn account and copied pictures from a person’s Instagram account. As a result, they are believed to have attracted over 1,000 people to the Giza ICO project. The person behind it is thought to be a man by the name of Marco Fike, COO of Giza.
According to the report, investors believed that the ICO was legitimate. However, it became apparent that things were not as they first appeared. Investors explained that there was a lack of correspondence, a falling out with the firm’s main supplier, and an inability to recover lost funds.
An investor by the name of Chris explained:
Everything was fine, until that company that was meant to develop their device came out on the internet and said that Giza has cut ties, and it seems to be a scam and they might not be developing anything. Then things started looking fishy.
The ICO started in January, attracting investors for several weeks afterwards. By February, the Giza project had raised 2,100 ethereum coins. At the time, the cryptocurrency invested amounted to around $2.4 million. However, it’s reported that from that figure only $16 is available, with the rest missing.
Some investors put in between $5,000 and $10,000 into the project. It wasn’t long, though, before suspicions were raised. Last year, Giza contacted Ivan Larionov, the CEO of Russian company Third Pin to make the devices that the company was expected to sell.
Once specifications had been received regarding the device, a $1 million dollar quote was priced for Giza and a contract was signed. However, Third Pin are reported to have seen red flags when Fike was unable to give clear answers to questions.
Third Pin then determined that the cost of production would be higher, at $1.5 million. When Fike said no to paying in installments, Larionov said to employees that they would be cutting its contract with Giza.
Aleksander Rajic, who is listed as a software developer on the Giza website, explained that he got the job in October 2017 after being approached by Fike on Upwork. However, it wasn’t long before Rajic became suspicious, adding:
When they stopped responding to my Skype and LinkedIn messages, I suspected it is a scam.