Thousands of dollars stolen after Ozzy Osbourne NFT project CryptoBatz shares scam link

At one point there were over 1300 members of the scam community.
At one point there were over 1300 members of the scam community. Photo credit: Sutter Systems/Ozzy Osbourne/OpenSea

Heavy Metal icon Ozzy Osbourne's NFT project has ended up costing potential investors after scammers used a Twitter link shared by its official account to phish for cryptocurrency.

The reality TV star and lead singer of Black Sabbath created the CryptoBatz NFTs with Sutter Systems, with each of the nearly 10,000 cartoon bats getting a unique look.

However, scammers took advantage of a change in URL of the project's official Discord channel to steal thousands of dollars.

Discord is an online community platform, popular with both gaming and NFT enthusiasts. Members of a Discord channel can talk with each other as well as send messages and files easily.

Links to Discords are typically shared via short vanity URLs, and early tweets from the official CryptoBatz Twitter account did exactly this.

But when the web address of the discord channel changed, scammers were able to set up a fake server at the old address.

With neither Osbourne or Sutter Systems deleting the tweets pointing to the old server, they led people hoping to join the crazy train of NFT ownership directly to the scammers.

According to website The Verge, there were over 1300 members of the fake community, each of whom were asked to verify their cryptocurrency wallets to participate.

Tim Silman told The Verge he lost between US$300 and $400 after he visited the Discord server.

"I've seen at least a dozen people on Twitter voicing this same issue," Silman said. "If you look at the transactions others lost a lot more than me."

The wallet address linked to the scammers had just under 15 ether, the world's second largest cryptocurrency, transferred to it in just a short period, worth over NZ$60,000 at the time.

Even after Silman contacted the project, the tweets pointing to the scam server weren't deleted.

"I tagged them a few times in various tweets, as have a few other people, but no response. This is an expensive lesson," he told The Verge.

The links were eventually removed after The Verge contacted the project owners, with a co-founder of Sutter System known as Jepeggi laying the blame squarely with Discord.

"Although we feel very sorry for the people that have fallen prey to these scams, we cannot take responsibility for the actions of scammers exploiting Discord," the co-founder said.

Osbourne isn't the only celebrity who has attracted cryptocurrency scams.

Last year famed street artist Banksy's website was hacked, with a collector forking out US$336,000 for what they thought was the first official Banksy NFT.

It turned out to be fake and although the collector got refunded, they were left thousands of dollars out of pocket due to fees associated with transferring cryptocurrencies.