If you’ve not heard of it, Squid Game, a TV series broadcast on Netflix has broken some serious viewing records. It’s the most-watched series in the history of Netflix. In 28 days following release, the show was watched by viewers from more than 142 million households making it seven times more popular than the most-watched episode of Game of Thrones, another blockbuster.

Given its insane popularity its hardly surprising that hackers developed a digital currency scam based on the show. They created a bogus cryptocurrency called Squid Game and then used the attention-getting name to lure investors into buying Squid Game coin.

Rug scam

Of course investors had no idea it was a scam and as the value of the bogus Squid Game coin rocketed the scammers cashed in their coins to the tune of an estimated $3.3 million. Then, and almost inevitably, the cryptocurrency’s value plunged off a digital cliff and its value became less than a penny per coin.

This is known as a rug pull scam in which investors quickly exchange their cryptocurrency for real money and effectively drain the exchange of value. The Squid Game cryptocurrency actually had no relationship to programme apart from using the Squid Game name as bait.

It’s instructive to note:
  • The currency was not available for purchase on mainstream cryptocurrency platforms.
  • Investors could only buy the Squid Game coin on a platform that doesn’t guarantee the transactions made upon it.
  • Investors could only buy the currency, not sell it, effectively locking them to their investment.
The scam was set up via a website and an accompanying technical whitepaper to give it an air of serious integrity and knowledge. However, apparently both were full of spelling and grammatical errors. That said, it required serious work to put it all together but with a potential prize of millions of dollars the scammers were clearly focused.

Stick with the familiar

Of course this approach is familiar to most of with phishing mails that typically imitate well-known brands in the hope of baiting victims. Some of them are very polished, others hopelessly clumsy. Perhaps one of the most laughable we have seen is scammers trying to pass off as Asda the well-known UK supermarket. The scam attempted to lure shoppers into parting with personal details in return for a £50 voucher from ‘Adsa’. Spelling and grammar errors should always raise a red flag.

If you’re inclined to invest in cryptocurrencies stick with the well-known ones such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Furthermore, avoid investments that ask you to contribute money directly from one of your own accounts rather than via a well-known cryptocurrency platform.