Several members of the community are accusing CoIntellect.com of being a scam, based on a series of evidences that should attest so.
CoIntellect.com is a cloud mining service with a special emphasis on Dogecoin, allegedly based in Tallinn, Estonia, and incorporated under a company called Sonera Corporative OU. Starting from August 27, stories and articles have been published all over the Internet arguing on the legitimacy of the service.
The cautious employee
While both the website and the miner software have sleek and elegant designs, some believe that it is just a way to lure new users. Eivind Helgesen wrote on Medium:
"... And it looks fancy, way fancier than any other miner software out there. It has gimmicky graphics which no other miner software has, which leads me to believe that they want to lure new users to use their software because it is so fancy."
Helgesen works part-time at a digital currency exchange. He reported being contacted by several users complaining that their funds have been maliciously withdrawn from their accounts. Some of them stated having both their desktop and web-based Bitcoin wallets being emptied and compromised, as well as their Stellar accounts. One of these users noted that this happened right after he signed up and downloaded CoIntellect's software.
After scanning the mining software with VirusTotal, Helgesen said the deep antivirus malwares scan revealed 4 possibly malicious hacking viruses, including a Trojan horse:
- a variant of Win32/BitCoinMiner.AM
Other elements have conducted Helgesen in concluding that CoIntellect.com was scam, including its SSL-certificate belonging to an undetermined user, as well as the excessive amount of backlinks for such a small mining company. Many of these links come from porn, privacy and gambling-related websites.
1a20.com also noted that CoIntellect's domain name linked back to many fishy scamming websites and businesses. According to the blog, CoIntellect, as well as CoinGeneration, CoinBeez and IPUServices, all exploit a similar scamming scheme and were most likely created by the same person(s).
Helgesen added that most of the reviews of CoIntellect were certainly paid stories, as all the articles were quite similar by their content and illustrations; and indeed, many of them seem to be plain advertisements (see this article of the Daily Doge, as well as this one from TechGYD).
The skeptical job seeker
A Coinality user and job seeker, who we will name Tom, reached out to Cointelegraph to share his experience with CoIntellect. Tom applied for a PR Manager position a couple of days ago and was directly contacted by the company.
In an email communication, he wrote:
"The company, which seems legitimate on the surface, and their agreement seems fairly forthcoming and nothing is out of the ordinary on it, except that they lacked a letterhead and all communications from their HR people lacked any name."
Skeptical, Tom started researching on CoIntellect's background and profile and discovered all of the previously mentioned elements that made Helgesen suspicious.
Then, he received an email from CoIntellect, describing his first assignment. He was asked to promote their application, as well as work on CoIntellect's re-branding:
"We'd like to ask you for your first assignment this,
We have been having people complaining about our software, that is stealing Bitcoins. This is complete absurd [sic] and we need to clarify this to our customers and users.
You as a PR Manager are welcome to find a reputable source that will check the source code of our software to provide evidence that everything is clean.
Are you able to do that?
Tom stated they wanted to hire him as a contracted "PR Manager" to “spread their application around” and have people analyze why the malware scan was showing false positives. He added that it was "possibly as part of a scam to steal coins."
Both Helgesen and Tom pointed out that CoIntellect's social media's followers and likes were likely fake, stating that having 7500+ followers on Twitter while the account has been active for only 2 months, was a bit suspicious.
Sure, paying for Facebook likes and Twitter followers isn't a big deal and surely doesn't assure whether a business is a scam or not. But in light of all the elements that have be gathered on the issue, including CoIntellect's lack of transparency and the presence of malware in its software, it would be wise to stay away from CoIntellect until official explanations are made on the issue.
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