My morning as an NFT detective: 4 tips to help you avoid being scammed

A lot of money is changing hands in the NFT space and, unsurprisingly, this attracts the more unscrupulous elements of society. This morning I came across an amazing looking NFT collection, but I noticed a number of red flags that led me to the truth: it was a case of plagiarism. Here are four tips to help you avoid fake NFT projects.

Red Flag 1: High quality art for a relatively low price

Once you’ve been in the NFT space for a few weeks, you will begin to get a sense of NFT pricing. I recently came across an NFT, from a collection, that seemed like a bargain for 0.1 ETH. The art was high quality 3D art and I would have expected such pieces to be selling for 1 ETH at a minimum. This was the first red flag.

On Open Sea, every NFT has an ‘About’ section which should contain a description of the piece along with social media links and links to the collection’s or artist’s website. This particular NFT, and all of the others in the collection, had no description and no links.

Red Flag 3: No search results or social media posts about the collection

I decided to search the collection name on Google, but nothing came up about the collection. Next I went to Twitter, the current meeting place of the NFT community, and the same search term yielded no results. This was highly suspicious because the NFT space is so small that almost every artist knows that they need to tweet and speak about their collection in Twitter Spaces in order to reach NFT collectors and enthusiasts.

I right clicked on the first image in the collection in OpenSea and conducted a Google Image Search. No results containing the image were returned. I tried a few more of the images, and I eventually found dead OpenSea links – a sign of collections being taken down. I then searched a name used by one of the fake collections and this revealed the real collection. Sure enough, the floor price was 1 ETH, the artist’s social media accounts were attached to the Open Sea listings, and there were several social media posts about the collection.

OpenSea and other platforms need to do more to prevent such plagiarism, but for now use these tips to channel your inner Columbo/Nancy Drew/Sherlock Holmes and do some sleuthing!

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