How to stay safe in the ICO FOMO pressure cooker

Last night the Ripio Credit Network ICO began. I had passed their Know Your Customer (KYC) process. They were raising around $38M worth of ETH but $31M of that had already gone in the presale.

I’m on the list!

I was pumped when I got my whitelist approval. Ripio is a practical application of the blockchain. They have well known crypto investors, an existing user base, blah blah moon etc etc. All the good stuff.

This post isn’t about that.

It’s about the FOMO pressure cooker that will make unreasonable things seem legit. I have written about some of the crypto scams on slack.

This post is about a well executed example of crypto spear fishing.

The opening

October 24th 1pm UTC roles by.

The crowd sale site hasn’t updated.

1:05pm, still nothing.

Something is wrong, what am I missing? Then my phone goes off with a message from the Telegram group.

Thats cool, technical difficulties I get that, so now we wait.

15 minutes in and I get this email.

Seems legit. Except there is nothing in the telegram group, maybe the email got sent prematurely.

The email title seems weird thought, I already got the approval email …. but one of my friends who also did the KYC hasn’t received his yet. Maybe they had a massive backlog, more issues with the system? Maybe it’s easier to send an email blast to everyone who was approved …. it could happen.

Looking closer the word participate is spelt as “partecipate”.

But maybe they just missed the typo because they rushed sending it out … everything is running behind schedule after all.

The email address sealed the deal though right? This email was from All previous emails came from This seems very suspicious, but maybe their email server is having issues? Maybe ?

Common Ben you know better than that !!! …. but what if …. ?

47 minutes since the ICO was supposed to start and that email is looking pretty clickable … then an update

When moon? Now !


Not quite

Whats the worst that could happen if I try the link in the email?

A few minutes of refreshing and it struck me maybe the S3 config has some browser caching happening. A browser change and boom

welcome to the promised land!

Remember the email ?

The last five digits of our address are: 69154

but the actual address ends in 1f241. Also there are no bonuses for Ripio.

How did they know?

I’m on a lot of crypto slack groups I suspect that is how they got my email address and interest in crypto. From there it makes me a candidate for ICO spear fishing. The delay in the start time, the relatively small amount to be raised gets the FOMO levels up.

How much did they get?

The interesting thing about these sort of scams is we can look at the wallet address on the blockchain. I didn’t click the link because god only knows what would be on the other end. Instead I copied the link and downloaded the source code for the page.

Looking up the address on the blockchain we can see that they got a bit over $30k USD from their spear fishing.

What can you do?

If your unlucky enough to get scammed not much. Get educated about what is normal in an ICO. Verify new information across multiple official channels and be skeptical. Even though I knew the email didn’t seem quite right, my FOMO made it hard to resist the urge to click.

Want to learn more about ICO’s and how to take part safely?

Some other things I have written about crypto: