The website has been collecting ‘ETH’ for fake ‘GRAM’ tokens since January 1 of this year.
As reported to Finance Magnates, Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov has officially confirmed that the Gramtoken.io website claiming to be the host of the Telegram ICO is a scam:
This is scam. Be careful.
— Pavel Durov (@durov) January 15, 2018
The tweet came as a response to Twitter user @kavingchng, who asked ‘Sir, is gramtoken.io Telegram’s ICO?” Other than this response, no one from Telegram has made any statements directly referencing Gramtoken.io.
Although TechCrunch reported on Gramtoken.io earlier this month as if it were the legitimate Telegram ICO, suspicions arose as Telegram made absolutely no mention of any blockchain-related projects anywhere on any of its social media.
Additionally, some Twitter users have pointed out that Gramtoken.io was registered on January 1, 2018 with Namecheap and uses the Cloudflare service, while Telegram is registered on GoDaddy and uses GoDaddy’s SSL certification service.
Over the last several days, Twitter has been abuzz with crypto community members warning each other of the scam.
— Ross Stokes (@bitcoinexpertz) January 15, 2018
A Seemingly Sophisticated Ruse
The erie thing about the Gramtoken.io scam is that it really seems to be legitimate–the website has a well-designed front end, a relatively well-written whitepaper, and does appear to have been collecting ETH in exchange for the ‘GRAM’ tokens that will “power” the fake blockchain, the Telegram Open Network, or TON.
Typically, scams in the cryptocurrency space are marked by badly designed websites with tons of spelling mistakes, and are easy to spot.
It’s not yet clear who is responsible for the elaborate scheme, or where they might be based–Gramtoken.io lacks any sort of information as to how to contact anyone involved with the project, though it does list the real-life members of the Telegram team under the ‘Our Team’ section of the site.
Despite the lack of an officially dedicated announcement or tweet decrying Gramtoken.io, Telegram does seem to be aware that the fake ICO is one in a series of scams related to the company circulating on the internet. Pavel Durov posted this tweet in late December 2017:
Attention: Telegram publishes its official announcements only at https://t.co/ePcweVcGCP. Everything else is most likely scam.
— Pavel Durov (@durov) December 23, 2017
Finance Magnates reported on two of them yesterday in addition to Gramtoken.io–a website called ‘Tgram.cc’ and an email scam offering GRAM tokens (which don’t actually exist in the first place) for $0.15 apiece.
It’s not yet known exactly how many people have lost their ETH tokens to any of the Telegram related scams. In the meantime, please be aware that as cryptocurrency becomes an increasingly normal part of our everyday lives, crypto-related scams may continue to become increasingly difficult to identify.