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Can someone explain what might be going on with this wallet for example: https://etherscan.io/address/0x4dcCCF58C6573eB896250b0c9647A40C1673AF44

Look at the last 6 transactions. It's actually 3 coupled transactions where in each couple, the 1st the wallet receives some ether amount, and then in the 2nd it spends the entire amount on fees(???) for a self transaction.

What is that self transaction? and what could explain this behaviour? why spend all that ether on fees?

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This was likely a scam (last operated on May-22-2020 06:23:40 PM +UTC).


The idea is to hold a certain amount of tokens in the account, but no ether.

Then, the scammer would "innocently" publish the private key of that account, attempting to lure other users into withdrawing those tokens.

But you cannot do that without any ether in the account, so you first transfer a small amount of ether to it, and then try to withdraw those tokens from it.

Alas, your token-transfer attempt reverts, and while you're busy trying to figure out why, the scammer withdraws the ether that you have transferred.


Q1: what guarantees that your token-transfer attempt will always revert?

Well, a simple require(msg.sender == scammerAccount) statement in the token contract's transfer function guarantees that only the scammer can withdraw those tokens.

Q2: why would such token would ever show up on Etherscan as a valuable asset?

Well, the same question can be asked on a ton of other non-malicious tokens.

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  • Check this (now deleted) answer for a similar scam attempt. Dec 20, 2020 at 11:24
  • Wow, great answer and possibility. however, you say it is likely what happened. Isn't there a way to verify it? like what you suggest implies that there is a smart contract somewhere that "listens" on eth transfer into this wallet? isn't there a way to trace such a contract?
    – shaharsol
    Dec 20, 2020 at 11:38
  • I also don't understand what the scammer wallet owner gets from it. It seems that all the eth transferred to the wallet is then wasted on that self transaction fee. Or is there something I don't understand?
    – shaharsol
    Dec 20, 2020 at 11:38
  • @goodvibration This kind of scam can also exist without the use of a malicious token contract. For exemple, take a look at : etherscan.io/address/0x001d3f1ef827552ae1114027bd3ecf1f086ba0f9. Every time ethers are sent to the account, an attacker withdraws its using very high fees (>90% of the ETH value) to ensure his transaction gets mined first.
    – clement
    Dec 20, 2020 at 11:55
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    @shaharsol: there is a smart contract somewhere that "listens" on eth transfer into this wallet - not a smart-contract, but an off-chain server (a bot, if you will). Dec 20, 2020 at 12:26

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