A scammer stole around $550,000 worth of Bored Ape NFTs in a ridiculously simple way, according to an NFT market expert. By simply photoshopping a verification mark used by an NFT marketplace onto a JPEG of the NFT, the scammer tricked a user called s27 into trading their legitimate NFTs away – and with no support structure in place, the user will likely not be getting any compensation for the costly mistake.
The entire ordeal is described in a Twitter thread here.
User s27 owned two NFTs from the Bored Ape series, some of the most valuable and popular NFTs in the current market. Specifically, they owned a "bubble gum ape and matching mutant", valued at $567,000 (£433,000) according to NFT expert Quit.
The user posted their two NFTs on Swap.Kiwi, a trading website that allows people to trade NFTs, and looked for a trade of similar market value.
In a trade initiated by s27, both NFTs were traded for three different "Bored Apes", which looked to be quite the lucrative deal for s27. However, as the old adage goes – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Upon closer inspection, it turned out that the three NFTs received in return for their legitimate ones were fake. The scammer had taken JPEGs of legitimate NFTs and photoshopped a verification tick onto them to mimic Swap.Kiwi’s marker for real listings. With no way to check, s27 traded their NFTs away for little more than a screengrab of the real thing.
One of the main draws to NFTs is the fact they live on the blockchain and are therefore decentralized. However, this leaves transactions open for a number of scams – and no support should you make a terrible mistake.
Quit now proposes a range of improvements that the site needs to make to avoid similar scams happening again, as it is remarkably easy to do with very limited options in verifying real assets. In the meantime, they provide some sage advice for wannabe NFT traders.