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Aurora Labs exec details ‘fascinating and devious’ crypto scam he almost fell for

Aurora Labs’ head of product, Matt Henderson says there is a sophisticated over-the-counter (OTC) transaction scam running about that almost duped him into losing a stash of his hard-earned cryptocurrency. 

Henderson detailed his personal run-in with a scam artist known as ‘Olai’ to his Twitter followers on Aug. 5. 

Olai’s scam essentially involves tricking a victim into believing payment had been received for an OTC crypto transaction, when in fact it wasn’t.

Today I nearly got caught by a fascinating and devious crypto scam during an OTC transaction. Read on to learn what happened, so you can avoid it happening to you.

— Matt Henderson (@dafacto) August 5, 2022

How it worked

Henderson explained the crypto scam began when Olai contacted him on the Telegram messaging app, inquiring about purchasing AURORA tokens with USC Coin (USDC).

The pair agreed to conduct the transaction via escrow, a common strategy by which a trusted, neutral third party holds assets on both sides of the transaction and releases them to the counterparty when payment conditions are met.

In this case, Henderson selected Aurora Labs’ head of security Frank Braun to act as the escrow agent, who he initially referred to as “Steve” in the Twitter thread. 

Olai suggested:
1. I send the AURORA to Steve
2. Olai sends me a small USDC test transaction
3. Steve send Olai an small AURORA test transaction
4. Olai send me the USDC balance
5. Steve then sends them the AURORA balance

— Matt Henderson (@dafacto) August 5, 2022

However, Henderson caught wind of something suspicious when his escrow partner shared a screenshot of him supposedly giving the go-ahead to release the full amount of AURORA tokens to the buyer. 

According to Henderson, the scammers replicated his Discord profile and directed Braun to release the AURORA token balance to the scammers.  

Discord’s blocking function made sure Henderson was unaware his profile had been cloned and scammers were impersonating him. 

Based on this, some security steps I’ll take in the future:

1. All funds sent to the escrow. No exceptions.

2. Inspect…

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