On March 16, a phishing campaign surfaced on social media, offering users access to a new USDC DeFi trading platform, which turned out to be a fraudulent scheme. The campaign featured a fake blog post located at http-circle-dot-blog and a bogus trading platform located at http-circledefi-dot-center, which claimed to allow users to trade Circle’s USDC stablecoin for Tether’s USDT stablecoin, with purported support from TRON DAO.

The interface of the fake platform was modeled after the legitimate DeFi platform Raydium. The extent of the financial losses incurred by victims of the scam remains unclear.

The phishing site was primarily spread through Reddit, and while it was not shared on /r/cryptocurrency, it was circulated on approximately 20 other subreddits, including /r/USDC. Interestingly, the scammer first attempted to gain attention on /r/Buttcoin, where they received numerous comments. It is possible that the scammer hoped that the subreddit's skepticism towards cryptocurrency would cause commenters to overlook the details of the scam.

A representative from Circle confirmed that the aforementioned websites are fraudulent but did not disclose any actions they would take. Additionally, the company has posted a recent tweet urging users to remain vigilant for scammers and fraudsters with fake accounts.

There was no mention of the DeFi product in Circle's latest update on its official blog, which was last updated on March 15 on the site. The scammer's attempt seems to be taking advantage of USDC's recent recovery after it lost parity with the U.S. dollar. Following the closure of Silicon Valley Bank, USDC's price dropped to as low as $0.88 on March 11 before recovering to $1.00 on March 13.

During this recovery, Circle worked to enhance USDC by clearing backlogs and establishing new banking arrangements. The fraudulent announcements attempted to depict the DeFi Swap as one of Circle's efforts to improve its product, referencing these positive developments.


Mar 17, 2023
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