Famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw was of Irish descent. In the past, he advised that one should “never wrestle with a pig.” You simply become muddy, and the pig seems to take pleasure in it.
To tell you the truth, I’ve been engaging in swine wrestling for the past few years. Of certainly not in the strict sense. That would be odd, and it’s likely that I would come out on the losing end. Con artists who take advantage of people using cryptocurrencies are what I have in mind. Since I have been operating in this area since 2017, a space that is, let’s be honest here, home to its fair number of con artists, I have finally gotten dirty this past week.
Because of my own idiocy and the unimaginable bad luck that has befallen me, there is probably a con artist somewhere in the world who is currently enjoying a nice little party all to himself. And I’m the one who has to pay for it.
This is my tale, and I’m telling it in the hopes that it will be therapeutic and cathartic. It is helpful to communicate, isn’t it? In addition, if it prevents even one of you from experiencing something analogous in the future, then it was worth the few minutes that it took me to write this. In addition to that, I’m going to make an effort to locate the individual who stole the money, and in the extremely remote possibility that I am successful, I will give the money to a charitable organization. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you are interested in assisting me.
The con that was pulled on me
As a result of me missing my connection aircraft on the way back from El Salvador, I experienced the dramatic conclusion of my very own Hollywood film late last Sunday evening. I was running through Terminal 1 at Orlando International Airport, but not to catch the love of my life; rather, I was feverishly trying to book the final ticket out of the airport.
I was able to find an American Airlines aircraft to Miami that was boarding as I got at the gate, despite the fact that I was already thinking about going on what would be the world’s saddest (and loneliest) daytrip to Disneyland on Monday morning while I served my time in Orlando. After pleading with the staff to let me buy a ticket, I couldn’t believe it when they gave in and let me buy a ticket right then and there so I could board the plane.
After a quick dash across time, you’ll find me at the door of my Miami hotel room. I was worn out and untidy, and I was in the kind of mindset where doing something as simple as brushing my teeth seemed like a monumental undertaking. But then I recalled that I needed to do a financial transaction using my Solana (Phantom) wallet before I could be granted the mercy of sleep. Accordingly, I drew out my laptop and accessed my wallet.
After noticing that the display of my token balance was incorrect, I sent a message to the men in the Telegram group with whom I had previously collaborated. One of them said that they will provide a response at a later time; I will change his name, but let’s refer to him as Eddie.
Unbeknownst to me, there was also a third participant who was located outside of the country who was participating in the group chat. After reading Eddie’s reply that said “I’ll get back to you later,” the con artist saw his opportunity and took it. He pretended to be Eddie by altering his profile photo and name such that they were identical to Eddie’s. Then he sent me a direct message.
“Hey, just wanted to follow up after my message in the group chat — just wanted to let you know that I think I’ve solved your problem.”
Because I had previously collaborated with Eddie and had frequently engaged in conversation with him over the phone, I felt confident in his abilities. Even though we had never messaged each other on Telegram before, I didn’t even bother to check his handle (which was visible in the “Details” section of his Telegram profile) to make sure that it was the same Eddie who was in the group. This might have given the impression of paranoia, but it’s crypto, and I ought to have known better. It was a significant error on my part.
Therefore, I was not speaking with Eddie when we had this conversation. The imposter Eddie failed to provide me with his genuine moniker for some inexplicable reason, so it looks like I’ll have to give him one myself. Let’s call him Bernie.
Bernie provided me with some information about how to fix the problem in the system. I won’t go into the specifics because they are not crucial, but essentially, he created a phony website whose URL was off by one character from the real one. Even though the phony copycat appeared exactly the same, I still ought to have checked; doing so is a fundamental principle in this area. But after a long day of traveling, I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was lie in bed. Again, a mistake.
Because of a security breach, $2,800 worth of assets were stolen from my wallet. Most of the stolen funds were USDC, but there was also a little amount of SOL and a few other tokens.
tracking directly on the chain
Then I began monitoring the funds using the blockchain technology. This is the wallet belonging to the con artist.
The most infuriating aspect is that Bernie appears to have some level of intelligence, as seen by his extensive knowledge of blockchain technology and site development. It’s a real tragedy to see someone of this caliber turn to theft as a means of supporting themselves.
I wanted to see how far I could push Bernie’s resolve, so I told him, “I need that money for my sick son.” I was curious how far I could push him.
He responded in a matter-of-fact manner by saying, “Sorry, bro.”
My response was, “How do you get to sleep at night?”
“That’s fantastic. Bernie’s response to the question was “thanks for asking.”
Bernie sent the monies that were not in USDC to the DEX Jupiter Aggregator, where he then converted them into USDC while maintaining his anonymity. After a short period of time, the money was transferred into this wallet, which at the time contained more than a half million dollars.
Investigations and internal musings
Thank God, I do not have a child who is currently ill. I am really fortunate in this regard. I am also fortunate in that the total amount of money in my wallet did not exceed $2,800. However, seeing the cash in Bernie’s wallet along with the total absence of regret he possesses, not to mention the almost arrogant pride with which he acts, causes my blood to boil.
Bernie cannot possibly be aware of the state of my finances, and yet he continues to take from me. Not to mention the fact that he steals from such a large number of individuals, so who can say for sure what kinds of backgrounds they all come from?