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Ozzy Osbourne’s NFT Project shared a link that was a scam, and his followers lost thousands of dollars

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When a pop-cultural icon such as Ozzy Osbourne announces a NFT collection, it is easy to expect the project to get publicity. The launch of the “CryptoBatz” collection, a series of 9,666 digital bats, received coverage in outlets like Billboard, Rolling Stone, NME, Hypebeast, and Business Insider, among others.

But just two days after tokens were issued, supporters have been targeted by a scam to drain cryptocurrency from their wallets. This is based on a link that was shared by the official Twitter account of the project.

Finally, CryptoBatz uses Discord to organize its community. This is a common practice for NFT projects. The official CryptoBatz Discord is now accessed through the short link discord.gg/cryptobatz. But previously, the project used a slightly different vanity URL at discord.gg/cryptobatznft.

When the project switched to the new URL, scammers set up a fake Discord server at the old one. Ozzy Osbourne and CryptoBatz did not delete tweets that referred to the old URL. This meant that Osbourne’s tweets were still there directing people to a fake server.

Ozzy Osbourne tweet containing link to a scam Discord

One tweet from CryptoBatz, posted on December 31st, 2021, received more than 4,000 retweets and hundreds of replies. The tweet was only removed on January 21st after CryptoBatz was contacted by The Verge.

Cryptobatz tweet containing link to a scam Discord

On clicking the scam link, the invite panel for the fake Discord showed the total number of members as 1,330, an indication of the number of people who could potentially have been fooled by the scam.

Inside the server, a bot spoofing community management service Collab Land asked users to verify their crypto assets to participate in the server — but directed users to a phishing site where they were prompted to connect their cryptocurrency wallets.

A representative of Collab Land declined to comment.

Fake Collab Land bot

Tim Silman, a nonprofit employee, is one person who lost money through the scam. Silman estimates that around $300-400 in ETH was drained from his wallet after he visited the fake Discord server through a link posted on the CryptoBatz website.

“I’ve seen at least a dozen people on Twitter voicing this same issue,” Silman told The Verge. “If you take a look at Etherscan transactions, you’ll see that others have lost a lot more than I .”

An Ethereum wallet address Silman indicated was linked to the scammers had received a series of incoming transactions totaling 14.6 ETH ($40,895) on January 20th and sent it onwards to a wallet containing more than $150,000.

The project had been slow to remove the bad links, even when informed, Silman said.

“I tagged them a few times in various tweets, as have a few other people, but no response,” he said. “This is an expensive lesson, I suppose.”

Even as the fake link remained present in a prominent tweet, the CryptoBatz project continued to hype the public token mint. As of January 21st, CryptoBatz NFTs were being resold on OpenSea for around 1.8 ETH ($5,046).

Asked whether the project should accept responsibility for leaving the old link online, Sutter Systems, developers of the CryptoBatz NFT, laid blame for the scam squarely with Discord. Sutter Systems cofounder Jepeggi stated in an email to , that the compromise was possible due to the simple setup and maintenance for the scam Discord instance.

“Although we feel very sorry for the people that have fallen prey to these scams, we cannot take responsibility for the actions of scammers exploiting Discord — a platform that we have absolutely no control over,” Jepeggi said. “In our opinion this situation and hundreds of others that have taken place across other projects in the NFT space could have easily been prevented if Discord just had a better response/support/fraud team in place to help big projects like ours.”

Discord said that it was aware of the incident and in contact with the affected team.

“Our Trust & Safety team is in touch with the server owners and are investigating the incident,” said Peter Day, senior manager for corporate communications at Discord. “Our team takes action when we become aware of attacks like this one, including banning users and shutting down servers.”

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