Ozzy Osbourne‘s launch of a series of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) was reportedly targeted by scammers who made use of a fake Discord server to defraud supporters of hundreds of dollars in cryptocurrency.
The project, known as ‘CryptoBatz’, is a collection of 9,666 “digital bats” – a reference to Osbourne infamously biting the head off a bat during a concert in the early ’80s. The collection was previewed two weeks ago, with Osbourne himself describing the project as “fucking mental”, and a pre-sale for the NFTs opened in December through its official Discord server.
As reported by The Verge, however, the ‘CryptoBatz’ launch was targeted by scammers after the project changed the URL of its Discord server. The server moved from “cryptobatznft” to simply “cryptobatz”, and scammers took over the former Discord server. Because neither the CryptoBatz or Osbourne’s official Twitter accounts deleted tweets with the old URL, people reportedly continued to join what they believed to be the official CryptoBatz Discord.
Users who joined the scam Discord server were asked to “verify [their] assets” in order to participate, and were directed to a phishing site that gave the scammers access to the users’ cryptocurrency wallets. The Verge spoke to one victim named Tim Silman, who said he lost about $300 to $400 in Ethereum cryptocurrency to the scammers.
On January 21, the official ‘CryptoBatz’ Twitter account warned supporters of the scammers, saying it was trying to get Discord to close down the fake servers. “There are multiple FAKE discord servers pretending to be CryptoBatz, some are very sophisticated – one has even hijacked an old vanity link we were using,” its tweet read.
⚠️ There are multiple FAKE discord servers pretending to be CryptoBatz, some are very sophisticated – one has even hijacked an old vanity link we were using.
We’re trying to speak to @discord to close down these fake servers.
Please be vigilant – the official link is in our bio.
— CryptoBatz (@CryptoBatzNFT) January 21, 2022
In a statement to The Verge, the co-founder of ‘CryptoBatz’ co-creator Sutter Systems – known only as “Jepeggi” – said that the blame lay with Discord.
“Although we feel very sorry for the people that have fallen prey to these scams, we cannot take responsibility for the actions of scammers exploiting Discord – a platform that we have absolutely no control over,” he said.
“In our opinion, this situation – and hundreds of others that have taken place across other projects in the NFT space – could have easily been prevented if Discord just had a better response/support/fraud team in place.”
Peter Day, the senior manager for corporate communications at Discord, noted in a separate statement to The Verge that the company was “investigating the incident.”
“Our Trust & Safety team is in touch with the server owners,” Day said. “Our team takes action when we become aware of attacks like this one, including banning users and shutting down servers.”
Ozzy Osbourne has yet to comment on the reported scam.
Outside of NFTs, Osbourne has reportedly been at work on the follow-up to 2020’s ‘Ordinary Man’ – which will be his 13th solo studio album overall. The album will feature contributions from Osbourne’s former Black Sabbath bandmate, guitarist Tony Iommi.