This is a scam that is running on the Telegram app, pretending to be operated by the Crypto Lark, a well known and respected crypto analyst and commentator. But it is Not being run by him. It’s a fraud.
The premise of the group is that they will find arbitrage opportunities across the crypto space, meaning you should be able to make relatively risk-free profits with your crypto currencies.
And you know what, even I fell for it!
I broke all my golden rules. Didn’t research thoroughly enough. Didn’t fully understand the investment parts. Didn’t step back and take a rational assessment of it all to see if anything didn’t look quite right. Didn’t ask another knowledgable person for advice. In other words, I got caught up in the eagerness to take advantage of a good (too good) opportunity.
Now arbitrage can be a very good way to make money. Has been done in money markets for a long time, taking advantage of different rates of exchange for the same instruments. It is more common now in gambling markets. It is not entirely without risk though. Prices can change before you complete the trades. A bookmaker or broker with your funds may suddenly go bust.
And yes, there can be scams too.
How does the Lark Arbitrage scam work?
This one built on the reputation of Lark Davis. A well known and respected analyst and commentator on all things crypto currency related. He has a huge following.
Apparently there are, and have been, many fraudulent accounts set up pretending to be him, always with the intent to defraud unsuspecting people of their crypto currencies.
The scam arbitrage involved Ethereum ( ETH) and a fake Chainlink (LINK) token.
It involved swapping/exchanging ETH for LINK at a very favourable rate, 80 LINK for one ETH. The you would be able to take your LINK to another exchange to exchange back in to ETH and get 1.25 ETH for every 80 LINK you have.
Unfortunately, after you had obtained the LINK and tried to send it to your Exchange/Broker or Trading platform it never turned up.
This is because it wasn’t the official LINK that all the Exchanges recognise.
Every Token has a Contract address so you can verify which token is which, as many can have near identical names.
This is one of the drawbacks of the state of the Decentralised cryptocurrency markets at the moment.
Being Decentralised is great in many ways, but it means there is virtually no real time oversight. Changes will happen gradually. There is no customer support when things go wrong.
How to avoid falling in to traps like the Lark Arbitrage scam
When you find yourself offered a very good opportunity , that sounds extremely good, and you are enticed to move forward, just take a step back. Look at the whole thing. Does anything look or sound not quite right?
Do you fully understand how all the steps and instruments work?
If you don’t, seek out someone who does.
Don’t take everything you read or are told as fact. Even honest people could unintentionally give you the incorrect information. Check the facts yourself. Verify.
Conduct internet searches for the Company, Product, Scheme or Person name + scam.
Try many variations on your search terms. Sometimes you will not get the answers you need first go.
And if you go ahead, try to invest the minimum to get started, as a trial run to see if everything works. ( This is not a sure fire check though, as clever scammers can lure you in to making big subsequent payments when they have your confidence).
And remember, when investing:
Return Of your capital is more important than return On your capital.
And yes, I forgot all of my own advice!
So stay strong. Learn. Move forward.