Don’t Fall for It: Scammers Are Impersonating CoinDesk Staff on Social Media

9 February 2020

Scammers have been impersonating CoinDesk reporters and editors in recent months, promising coverage of projects in exchange for a fee. 

At least two different victims have paid hundreds of dollars in bitcoin and ether to these crooks and contacted us only after realizing something was wrong. 

To be clear: CoinDesk does not, and will never, accept payment for coverage. 

If you are being contacted by someone claiming to be one of our reporters on Telegram or LinkedIn, and that person asks for payment, know the account reaching out is a fraud. Please report it to the relevant social media platform, and to us right away, by emailing and If possible, please include screenshots of what was written.

If you need to confirm you are, in fact, communicating with a CoinDesk staffer please email or check our masthead.

Why are we writing this?

Scams and crypto go hand in hand. We hate that this is the case but it is the truth. Now that CoinDesk has been implicated in a number of scams, we’d like to explain what is being done and how.

Most of the victims receive a Telegram message like this one:

Multiple potential victims have reported verbatim messages sent from accounts purporting to be at least four different CoinDesk reporters and editors.
Source: Image via CoinDesk

The back and forth between the scammer and the news editor is usually friendly and, in some countries where organizations often pay for news coverage, expected. The opportunity is simple: Send the scammer $500 or so in bitcoin and get onto CoinDesk’s front page.

Some of these scammers have gotten sophisticated to the point where they are spoofing CoinDesk email addresses to “verify” their identities (check the headers of these emails!). One con artist even forged a CoinDesk editor’s passport to “confirm” their identity. 

A fake passport sent to a fraud victim by a scammer as "proof" of identity. For the record, CoinDesk Executive Editor Marc Hochstein is six years younger than the made-up birthdate shown.
Source: Image via CoinDesk

One of the victims requested $150 in USDC to be sent to this address: 0x586Cb8bd74D6A6d69EC3AF69914eE478Ddfd4eeE.

One scammer went so far as to create an invoice for their victim to further lend the offer credibility.

CoinDesk is not located at this address.
Source: Image via CoinDesk

CoinDesk is working with our legal counsel and tech team to find ways of thwarting these impostors. 

In the meantime, please verify the handles of the accounts reaching out to you. CoinDesk’s reporters and editors list their digital accounts on their individual author pages. 

You should also email the writer or editor directly if you have any questions. 

Other scams

More recently, CoinDesk was made aware that our daily newsletter, Blockchain Bites, is being copied to promote questionable cryptocurrency giveaways. For the record, CoinDesk does not promote such giveaways, and certainly not in our newsletters.


Why you shouldn’t pay for coverage … ever

We understand marketing is hard for a startup. In a world full of good ideas, how do you make your voice heard?

Paying for coverage isn’t one of them. In the years we’ve been writing, many “PR people” have approached startups with sure-fire ways to appear on the front pages of multiple big organizations. Some of these people are outright frauds. Some of them will actively reach out to editors on your behalf and tell them you are building something cool and that they should write about you. The chance you will get a post out of that interaction ranges from zero to a few percents, especially if the PR person has a prior relationship with that reporter.

What is the best way to reach out to any reporter?

Prepare an email that says,“Hey, I’m doing something cool. I’m the CEO of [your company], a company in [place]. It is a [what your project does.] Can I show you how it works?”

Include a link and screenshots. Research reporters who might be interested in your topic. Find their emails, Twitter handles, etc.

Reach out exactly three times. If they don’t respond, move on. That, in short, is the best strategy for reaching out to any reporter, including ones at CoinDesk.

The bottom line?

Never pay for coverage. Never expect coverage in return for tokens or cash. Avoid any news outlet that asks for payment.

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