Cryptocurrency startup Giza Device has gone dark after raising US$2 million in cryptocurrencies in a fake initial coin offering (ICO). The funds were supposed to be used to fund the development of a “super secure storage device” for cryptocurrencies.
The individual or group of individuals used a fake LinkedIn profile and copied pictures from another user’s Instagram profile to create a false persona. The scammers managed to dupe more than 1,000 investors. The ICO kicked off in January and by February had raised 2,100 ether, which, at the time, was worth about US$2.4 million.
One investor told CNBC that they invested ether that was equivalent to US$10,000 at the time, and another said they put in around US$5,000 worth of ether.
Investors that fell for the scam told the media outlet that the project seemed legitimate at first until warning signs began to appear. This included a falling out with the company’s sole supplier, a lack of communication from its supposed founders, and failed attempts to recoup the lost funds. Since then, the Giza official website has vanished and its Twitter account @GizaDevice has been inactive since late-January.
“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,” an investor named Chris, who wished to keep his surname anonymous, told CNBC.
Giza Device signed a