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A fake link directed bidders to an online auction for Banksy’s NFT, which was posted on the now-deleted page of banksy.co.uk.
The website of the world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy was hacked this week and redirected towards a fraudulent NFT auction page. The fake digital art was reportedly sold for $336,000 (£244k) through the artist’s official website.
The link directed interested bidders to an online auction for the NFT, which was posted on the now-deleted page of banksy.co.uk.
NFTs, abbreviated for Non-Fungible Tokens, are unique crypto-based tokens that represent ownership of a rare digital item, such as a piece of art, digital image, GIF, video, antique goods, and sports memorabilia to name a few. NFT sales have skyrocketed this year, owing to the rising interest in both cryptocurrencies and collectable items.
The Banksy fan who was tricked stated he believed he was buying the first-ever NFT offered by Banksy. However, Banksy’s team told BBC, “any Banksy NFT auctions are not affiliated with the artist in any shape or form”.
The man who is in his 30s and wanted to remain anonymous explained over Twitter direct messages that he suspects Banksy’s site was hacked, and that he was the victim of an elaborate scam.
Surprisingly, the hacker returned the stolen money except for the transaction fee of around £5,000.
Criminals are Using NFTs
The growing popularity of the NFT space has become the new target of financial crimes. Money launderers are using these tokens to hide illegally earned funds in the form of NFTs, making it just about impossible for anyone to trace. The identity of the seller is often hidden, making the situation even more difficult for authorities. The FATF has issued guidance on Virtual Asset Service Providers and, for the first time, NFTs have been included in the global watchdog’s guidelines. However, KYC verification and AML screening can effectively minimize this burgeoning threat.