A fake food delivery company succeeded in tricking influencers and celebrities to promote a cryptocurrency token, bilking investors out of $500,000 before completely vanishing off the internet, according to multiple reports.
A company calling itself “CryptoEats” began paying British influencers and celebrities earlier in October to promote its brand, billing itself as an alternative to food delivery services like UberEats and Doordash in which customers could pay for their meals with cryptocurrency, Vice reported.
While the links to the documents are no longer in service, the fake company reportedly issued fake press releases through legitimate public relations service GlobeNewswire, with the releases appearing on MarketWatch and Yahoo Finance, according to Vice.
The press release is still available on Coinspeaker, and claimed the company successfully beta-tested its service in London over the summer of 2021.
The company also claimed it had secured $8 million in Series A funding from investors in anticipation of a $1 billion market capitalization within six months of its launch, and that its founder, Wade Phillips, had partnered with major restaurant chains including McDonald’s and Nando’s.
The company held a sale of its EATS cryptocurrency token on Oct. 17, Vice reported. However, according to blockchain records, the developer of the EATS token transferred roughly $500,000 in invested assets during the sale to various crypto wallets before disappearing completely from the internet.
All social media accounts, websites, emails and other digital traces of the company vanished overnight, according to Vice.
One of the influencers who promoted the company, British reality star Joey Essex, who appeared at a CryptoEats launch party in West London, told The Sun he was “fuming.”
“This company used my name to dupe lots of people into investing money. It’s disgusting and I feel bad for anybody in that situation,” Essex said. “I do tons of appearances. It’s difficult to vet everybody and this seemed like a legit brand.”
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