Cryptocurrency scammers are reported to have had a field day with $2 million, using a fake ICO. Initial reports suggest that those cryptocurrency scammers may be behind some other recent thefts too.
Modus Operandi of the Cryptocurrency Scammers
The scammers used LinkedIn by creating a fake profile with unreal personas by copying images from Instagram of the persons they were impersonating. These con artists were able to attract around 1,000 investors into a new ICO project named Giza.
So What Lead to Investments into Giza?
Although the impressionable investors believed the project to be true, they could not identify or relate to any early warning signs which could indicate trouble ahead. The investors only started sensing problems when they did not get any correspondence from the founders. Moreover, the investors could not get back their invested funds despite numerous efforts.
The Person of Interest in Giza Cryptocurrency Scammers
The main person of interest behind this newly unfolding Giza cryptocurrency scam is a guy who goes by the name of Marco Fike. Marco Fike’s LinkedIn profile shows that he is the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of this whole shady crypto venture. However, the interviews of company’s previous employees, partners, and investors reveal that none of them ever saw or met Marco Fike.
The Mysticism Surrounding the Attractive Giza Crypto Project
As cryptocurrency investors, we are all looking for that one big technology revolution which would be disruptive and unique, besides turning our hundreds or thousands into millions. Something no one has ever imagined before, a concept or idea so big that it could potentially become the next Bitcoin, Ethereum or any of the other top cryptocurrencies. So, Giza’s promise was to develop a super-secure Giza device for storing cryptocurrencies.
Giza ICO and Gathering of Funds
The ICO took place back in January this year, garnering a lot of interest from the investors. The company was able to attract around $2.4 million from the investors. This amount equates to 2100 ETH at the time of this ICO’s take off. Out of those 2100 ETH, all have vanished except 16 that still remain in the account.
Supplier’s Warning of Giza Cutting Ties
All hell broke loose when the suppliers for that supposed device could not reach Giza. They soon flooded the internet and claimed that since the company was not responding, it may just be a scam.
Notably, Giza remained in touch with Third Pin LLC last year for getting that device. Third Pin LLC makes hardware for different industries. This company also cut ties with Giza later on. Third Pin CEO revealed that one of the representatives of Giza got in touch with him before New Year sharing design for the device. However, he did not get any technical requirements for the device from him.
Once Third Pin LLC’s engineers did come up with a design, they signed up a contract with Giza worth $1 million. After that, Third Pin LLC got in touch with STMicro, a company that provides components, to help get parts for Giza. Larionov could not answer many of the questions asked by STMicro’s Sales Manager and for that they had to ask Fike to give answers. Similarly, Fike also wanted Larionov to set up operations outside Russia due to strict Russian regulations on cryptocurrency. Furthermore, the cost of the production of the device also went up from $1 million to $1.5 million. Larionov suggested that Fike could choose to make the payments in installment which he did not want.
By Mid-February things started to become more frightening with Giza associated digital wallet addresses showing continuous outflows of large amounts. The last transaction in one of the Giza associated digital wallet address took place on 2nd March 2018.
Who is Marco Fike?
Marco Fike, the COO of Giza, still remains a mystery character.
Some of the organizations that he supposedly worked for, as per his LinkedIn Profile, include Assistant at JPMorgan Chase & Co, Community Manager at Microsoft, Assistant to CEO at UNITED ARAB EMIRATES AGENCY, and COO at Giza Device. Microsoft has already clarified that Marco Fike did not work for the company. His academic record shows that he studied at Torrejon High School and University of Oxford. However, Oxford University is said to be investigating this matter to get to the root of it.