Despite a market downturn that saw the values of most nonfungible tokens (NFTs) fall hard, scammers reportedly stole no less than $100 million worth of NFTs between July 2021 and July 2022.
According to crypto risk management firm Elliptic which issued a 13-month report on Wednesday, in July 2022 alone, scammers stole an estimated 4,647 NFTs – the most in any month.
The NFTs and Financial Crime report also mentioned that May 2022 saw the highest NFT loss in terms of value. At the time, the stolen assets were worth roughly $23.9 million.
But the highest-value singular NFT scam was that of a CryptoPunk that was stolen last November, says Elliptic. At the time it was stolen, the Punk was worth $490,000. And shortly after the Punk incident, scammers also made away with “16 blue chip NFTs worth $2.1 million,” all from one victim.
Interestingly, the report indicated an important trend concerning NFT thefts. Between June and July 2022, valuable NFTs saw a reduced number of scam incidents. Whereas, the opposite was the case with those projects in their early stages. Per Elliptic, this goes to show that owners of valuable NFTs did not really engage in transactions during the bear market. And as it were, there’s always a reduced chance of scammer activity when there is no activity.
Are scammers having a field day with NFTs?
NFT-based scams may be on the rise. And this is so because of the loss recorded for last month.
The unrelenting scammers continue to devise new means of relieving digital asset collectors of their beloved holdings. But usually, they do this by exploiting the trading marketplaces or via phishing attacks. So much so that NFTs were recently targeted in a lawsuit which could alter the course of events. Particularly, with respect to how the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission would categorize crypto assets.