March 29, 2024

A Telegram channel scam used part of James Clayton’s report

Chiranjeevi lives in Hyderabad, India, with his young family.

He is a smiley, glass-half-full kind of guy – naturally positive and full of energy.

He’s smart, too, and works in an Indian tech company.

He’s the least likely person, you’d think, to fall victim to an online scam.

Yet in October he was defrauded out of his life’s savings – $4,000 (£3,000).

He couldn’t believe it.

“I was so stressed. I was just lost. I told my wife and she said, ‘I thought you were intelligent. How did you lose so much money?'”

He messaged me in late October out of the blue, telling me what had happened.

He wasn’t just telling me about the deception, though. He was warning me.

Because central to the scam was a distorted version of my reporting.

Earlier this year I was given access to a Bitcoin mine in New York state. I made a report about it – focused on how mining Bitcoin produces carbon emissions.

However, that is not the report that Chiranjeevi saw.

On 18 October he joined a Telegram channel called B2C Mining.

Telegram is an encrypted messaging service, like WhatsApp, but with “channels”, which can feel more like a Facebook group.

The B2C Mining channel claimed to be part of a company that owned and operated a Bitcoin mine in Russia.

At the top of the group, pinned to the channel, was my report… only it wasn’t quite my report.

It had been altered, cutting out anything to do with climate change, and suggesting that the mine I had reported on was…

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