New to Busy?

How to Avoid Getting Scammed by Impersonators


last yearSteemit3 min read

Yesterday I had this pleasant conversation with "David Johnston" in Telegram:

For many of you, Obvious Scammer is Obvious but for others, I think it's important to break this conversation down and notice the patterns so you can better recognize scammers in the future.


First off, notice the awkward greeting. I had not interacted with the real David Johnston prior to this, but based on the professional nature of his website, I'm quite confident he would never start a new conversation this way. Notice also how generic it is with language like "your coin" which could work with any message to anyone involved in any project.

Also notice how it plays on very primitive, base desires like greed and the archaic tribalistic need to be noticed by someone with reputation. That's usually your first sign something isn't right. Too good to be true means it's not true.

So what should you do in situations like this? The easiest thing to do is switch to another known communication medium. I've had people try to impersonate others via email (such as this example with Colin Talks Crypto):

In that situation, I went to Twitter and immediately saw he was already tweeting about the scammers.

The same thing happened to me on Medium with an Erik Voorhees impersonator.

That one was interesting because I know Erik is familiar with the FIO Protocol, and we follow each other on Twitter, so for a half second I thought it was legit. I took the same strategy, and changed to a known communication medium to verify the identity.

I used the same approach with "David Johnston" by emailing the real David using an email address on his website to which he responded within 30 minutes:

This stuff is pretty easy to do, and yet I constantly hear stories of people getting scammed out of their cryptocurrency because they fall for some really stupid fishing and social engineering attempts. If I played along longer with these jokers, I'm sure eventually it would involve exposing some information they would use in an attempt to steal from me.

Owning cryptocurrency is unlike owning anything else. You are your own bank. You have to take full responsibility for controlling and protecting your private keys. If you don't know how to do that, check out this video I did a couple years ago on safety and security. You have to keep Cryptocurrency Rule Number 1 in mind at all times:

Be safe our there.

Luke Stokes is a father, husband, programmer, STEEM witness, DAC launcher, and voluntaryist who wants to help create a world we all want to live in. Learn about cryptocurrency at

I'm a Witness! Please vote for @lukestokes.mhth


Sort byBest