Hello fellow Nearians,
I am writing this in the hopes that what happened to me, doesn’t happen to anyone else.
Over the last 3 years I have survived both cancer, a bad marriage, and I have dragged myself out of financial ruin. Financially, crypto has helped me enormously. I have been able to augment my income through creating and selling NFTs, building for people in Cryptovoxels and since January working as a council member for both INA DAO and Van DAO. Recently we have created a new DAO called LP DAO, of which I am also a council member.
Not only have I been able to augment my income, but I have been able to save enough for a rainy day. That has come in handy, since I recently discovered that my cancer has come back and I will need another surgery. It was good to know that I had funds to fall back on for the time that I am unable to work. That was, until now, as I have lost 3/4 of those savings.
What happened and how:
As a council member on INA DAO, I am in charge of the gallery shows in both Cryptovoxels and NearHub. On Thursday the 26th of May, I was minting a new collection on Paras, using the wallet I created for INA - inadao.near. I was getting a lot of errors while minting and sometimes it would take over a minute just to process. This was also happening with my personal wallet. - geminirising.near. After clearing my cache, restarting my computer, to see if it was on my end, I was still having problems, so I decided to reach out to the community for help.
I decided to go to the Near Protocol Official chat group on Telegram for that help. It is a verified group and has almost 60K members. I went there, looked through chat a bit, saw that there were 2 moderators active - Near|Fritz and Horus the Elder. I posted my question, which was basically asking if there were any issues with Near wallets. Shortly thereafter, I got contacted by Near|Fritz privately. He asked me some reasonable questions, got me to do a few things, and then told me he was going to talk to the Near dev team. He gave me a link where he said I would be syncing my wallet. Stupidly I clicked the link and typed the inadao wallet passphrase, then my own wallet passphrase, thinking that this was a guy from Near who was helping me. I wasn’t giving him my passphrase, but the link he provided.
So, the first one I put in was the ina wallet, that owns both a Paras store and a Mintbase store. There were only 5N in that wallet. I got back an error, so I tried my personal wallet.
Good old Fritz kept encouraging me to try more wallets, which foolishly I did. (I will provide the transcripts of our conversation below - please note, the links he provided have disappeared). By the end of it, I put in not only my Near wallet passphrases, but my Metamask and Temple as well.
At the same time, I was trying to continue to mint on Paras, but by then nothing was working. I looked in the INA wallet and it said $0, then I looked in my personal wallet, that also now said $0. Like I said, the INA wallet only had just under 5N in it, but my personal wallet had not only Near, but stakedNear and DAI in it - almost $3K worth in value on that date. I then looked at my MetaMask wallet and that was now empty also. I had other coins in there as well, and right in front of my eyes they were disappearing.
I accused Fritz of stealing my assets, but because I was so upset, I said $25K. Since he obviously didn’t get $25K, Horus the Elder took over, telling me he could help me get it back. Of course, by then, I had clued in and didn’t respond (those transcripts attached as well). I did however go back to warn others on the Near Protocol Official chat by calling out the 2. I immediately got booted off the chat and banned from it. I scrolled back later to see everything I said was erased, but I saw Friz and Horus’s comments on how I was the scammer!
In the meantime, I contacted my son, who started helping me try to get out whatever was left. That was when I found out that they had taken my newly bought Cryptovoxels parcel and put it for sale on Opensea at a lower than average price. Thankfully @vandal bought it back, since that was the only thing possible, but now those thieves got another 0.77 ETH.
Because of the way the Near wallets work, I was able to change the passphrases for both Near accounts and was able to save the stores created and the NFTs in them.
Unfortunately this is not the case for MetaMask. My more valuable NFTs were already gone, but I did manage to get out a few. The process was very tricky, as a hefty sum of ETH was needed just to transfer items. I had to transfer small amounts of ETH back into the wallet, just to move my NFTs. A few times, as soon as I did that they scooped out what I put in, so I had to be very quick and organized just to get those things out. I still have quite a few NFTs left to get out. Obviously since they are of not enough value to Fritz he has left them there. All in all, it is going to cost me at least another $500 in ETH to do this process.
After moving all that I could and posting warnings in other groups on Telegram and Discord, I got a message from Fritz on the Creatives chat saying that I had to stop saying bad things about him. After a long discussion publicly and then privately, I was able to find out that this Fritz was the real one. The fake Fritz profile was exactly the same.
The real Fritz.
The fake Fritz.
So, yesterday when I looked at the Near Protocol Official chat, those guys were still there, supposedly helping people out (of their money). Like I said, this “officially verified” group has almost 60K members. A big pond for these scammers to fish in and they are still there fishing! Is there not anything that can be done to stop them? Yes, I know, never give your private keys to anyone. But I was legitimately looking for help with a wallet issue and thought that was a safe place to ask. Personally I will never use that chat again. Everyone, please be aware of this!
I apologize to the real @NearFritz and the real Horus the Elder, but there has to be a way to stop those impersonators from ruining other people’s lives. I will build back what I have lost by more hard work. Unfortunately, I have lost a lot of trust in other people.
*additional note - all my NFTs that I made and bought on @Mintbase have also been stollen.
*** the thief put my funds to this address (my nfts are still there): @087184b14c3cad5de72090c4a48816d46e53f39454df13b957e14350793b18e7, then moved them here: @d647be6806b3000006c36082c3ebec68869e781baea909ffd27c27f808f78338 and then finally to this address: @7747991786f445efb658b69857eadc7a57b6b475beec26ed14da8bc35bb2b5b6
Whoever it is, is certainly raking it in. Really makes my blood boil.