Scammers targeted Toncoin (TON) owners after a series of announcements from the project

After Telegram publicly supported The Open Network (TON) blockchain and announced its intention to integrate its own Toncoin token, scammers began targeting unsuspecting token holders in order to exploit and defraud them.

Information provided by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky describes a cryptocurrency scam aimed at stealing Toncoin (TON) from Telegram users around the world.

Experts from Kaspersky Lab claim that fraudulent activity began to gain momentum at least from November 2023, due to increased interest and investment in TON. Fraudsters have developed a complex referral scheme that is aimed at stealing TON tokens from users.

Potential victims receive links from their friends or acquaintances inviting them to take part in an “exclusive earning program.” The scammers then ask victims to join an unofficial Telegram bot, supposedly designed to store cryptocurrency, and link their Web3 wallet to the bot's system.

In parallel, scammers advise users to purchase Toncoin through legitimate channels such as the official Telegram bot, peer-to-peer (P2P) markets or cryptocurrency exchanges, which creates the illusion of security and trust.

Registration page allowing users to purchase “boosts” that offer different returns on TON deposits. Source: Kaspersky

Victims are then forced to purchase “boosts” using a separate bot. Scammers claim that users must complete this action to start earning money.
This is where scammers make money. By purchasing “boosts”, the user actually loses control over his cryptocurrency. “Boosts,” which scammers refer to as “bicycle,” “car,” “train,” “plane,” or “rocket,” have a price ranging from 5 to 500 TON, experts from Kaspersky explained.

An additional level of the scheme with commissions that provide profitability typical of a financial pyramid. Source: Kaspersky

Users suffered losses from $2 to $2,700 due to the actions of scammers. After convincing users to purchase fake boosts, the scammers also promoted a referral program that obliges victims to create private Telegram groups with their friends and contacts.

Fraudsters provide a referral link with their own video instructions in Russian and English to attract users to their fraudulent scheme. To start making money with this scheme, users need to attract five successful referrals.

Fraudsters promise income from two sources: a fixed payment of 25 TON for each referred friend and a commission depending on the booster tariff that their referrals purchased.
“It turns out to be a classic financial pyramid, in which each participant is a “partner” and not a “freeloader.” Unfortunately, no one makes a profit except scammers, and all “partners” lose their investments,” Kaspersky analysts explained.
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