Well, this post will talk about how your personal data (and/or money) is stolen by many of the supposed freebies around the internet and hopefully make readers more aware of what they are doing. Most of the people that started using a web browser before 15 years ago will be already aware of the right behaviors over the net, but it seems that most of the people that joined later are considering it like an oracle: “if it’s written on the internet it must be true”, considering every source as trustable. Not only the crypto space is hit by this kind of phenomenon, else we wouldn’t have fake news spreading everywhere.
Let’s start with an obvious thing: if it looks too good to be true it probably is.
Second obvious thing: airdrops are made to spread the ideas under a new coin and get more sales, if the website of the airdrop doesn’t work well it means it’s not meant to get more sales (like broken links, wrong text, no whitepaper…) so it’s probably meant just to collect personal data. There are airdrops just giving away coins without an ICO but they are the minority and some of them may be legit but in that case they are meant for another reason and the reason must be clear from the beginning.
Third thing: You actually want to waste your time only for airdrops that may be worth (hopefully a good bunch of money) in the future, some people say just try: I don’t have anything to lose. This is the wrong mindset, first of all because your personal data have an actual value, second because if a project starts in a really bad way there is no hell reason it may be worth something in the future, it will be only just trash.
**Let’s make an example: **A new exchange is opening (wow, really an innovative thing.. there is a crappy exchange opening every day now) and they are giving away xxx$ of credit to start with an airdrop. They are probably giving away some money only usable to cover up your trading fees and with an expiry date: for example 500$ credit to use in one year from registration, the exchange is just opened so it’s not trustable (they may run away with money). If things go well you may think to use it after 10+ months of online activity with no relevant issues reported (on reddit/bitcointalk etc), you have some fee credit so it may be ok to exchange something but how much did you gain from this? If the fees are 0.5% you need to trade a volume of 1.000.000,00$ to use that “bonus” for example, but hey.. surprise: if the exchange is new the volume is probably low so the spread between buy and sell will be terrible and trading that much will be almost unpossible. There is another option: the exchange never opens, they just collect email addresses and some other personal data (maybe full name, phone number, and in some cases id card or passport) and they just sell the aggregated data they collected in black markets. Maybe you get some email spam (not a big problem), maybe some sms spam (this may be a bigger issues), maybe your identity gets stolen and you get bit troubles. So: is it worth registering? Probably not.
Example2: An ICO is doing a bounty, they ask you to do tons of tasks (twitter follow/retweet, facebook like, follow youtube, stay in telegram chat etc) and there are many reports that they are not counting right what they promised. Are you sure they are going to actually launch a product? Things that start with bad management never end up well, so it’s easy to avoid also this kind of thing.
Example3: An ico is doing an aidrop of a big amount of their supply (more that 3%) and/or they are offering a 75% bonus to early investor, why not buying before it’s late? Well because if the token economy under their product is already burnt before starting, they lost value before even going on an exchange, who will buy at full price? This kind of projects generally doesn’t even reach an exchange, they just grab money and run away.
If the airdrop is worth more than 10$ at the ICO price that token is 99% sure not going to be worth anything, so why bother registering?
Example4: there is an airdrop but they don’t ask you your wallet address and they just provide token numbers in an online dashboard without any withdrawal possibility.. Well it’s high likely they are just collecting email addresses for selling them to spammers.
If you can’t withdraw coins you are collecting always keep your eyes open: it’s probably a scam.
A special note for this kind of things: there is an app that is adding “red envelopes” containing crypto tokens with relative wallets inside Telegram, I won’t mention the name of the app, but they are asking you to login your telegram account (by giving them the code) from one of their servers in Hong Kong. This means they have full control of your Telegram account, they know your phone number and the numbers of your friends if you authorized it in the app once and they can subscribe you to any chat/channel they want! They are supposedly giving away big money with value expressed in Chinese Yuan but surprise: you can’t withdraw anything wow. It seems like the perfect scam and they have more than 35k active users.
If you want a real application that is doing good airdrops (MUXE airdrop will be probably one of the best ones under circulation and it will be live soon) and you can actually withdraw money from it you can check out LomoStar: https://www.lomostar.com/index.html if you download it now you can add the invitation code 15G3SG during registration. (LomoStar is currently down for maintenance, it will be back soon).
Example5: there is only a telegram bot and the supposed airdrop is an established crypto currency (like eth, ltc, xmr, xvg, trx.. and so on): is this clear enough that this is a scam, is it?
More example like this will come other time. Time is precious, don’t waste yours helping scammers and spammers. Small side note of the value of the data: 1000 targeted confirmed email addresses (in this case they know you are interested in Crypto Currencies) may be sold for something around 100$ (double than that is the price on "legit" markets, so it should be a possible price for a black market), think about how many of them fake airdrops are collecting.