People eager to cash in on the cryptocurrency boom through mining have been targeted by Facebook ads touting bitcoin mining rigs, made by industry giant Bitmain, that contain a link to a false website. At first glance, the link leads to Bitmain.com, the firm’s website, but closer inspection reveals the character for “n” in the URL has been replaced with a Unicode character that looks very similar: ņ.
I stumbled across the scam last week when I received a “sponsored post” in my Facebook news feed that looked like it was from Bitmain. I was surprised the firm was advertising on Facebook, so I tweeted it:
This received a swift reply from Bitmain:
One Twitter user helpfully highlighted the trickery:
And here’s a detailed video showing what happens if you click the link in the fraudulent ad:
A couple of Twitter users reported falling for the trick and losing funds:
It’s not clear how widespread or successful the scam has been. But Bitmain’s mining rigs go for over $2,300 each (that’s a genuine link, promise!), so they’re not cheap. The rigs are also regularly sold out, so customers are constantly chomping at the bit to get hold of them. This shortage, and the attendant FOMO, partly explains why people would be so eager to click on ads from fake websites to grab a bitcoin miner.