Scams suck. How do you know when it's a scam?
When the Cryptocurrency craze hit, I was one of those sucker FOMO types who definitely got involved in the hype like many others. I joined a lot of the communities related to Crypto and some had well into the 100,000 plus members. Some really cool people and friends have been made through these.
However, scammers can smell blood in the water when it comes to any large Crypto Discord. Thousands of people jumping into a new and likely, poorly understood technology is ripe for victims to steal money from.
Direct messages for pump and dumps, buy this 'new exciting, once in a lifetime opportunity', sign up to this new exchange, do this quick BTC/USD arbitrage trade real quick. The list goes on and on and on..
In comes DNDW
I thankfully did not fall for any of these scams, having played too much RuneScape in my youth I was well aware of the average 'doubling money' bullsh%t. But I did notice that many of the scams I got messaged had no reports when I googled them, as in no negative online presence like they should.
This is what lead to DNDW, an acronym for do not deal with in some trading communities, to be formed. If I could provide a place for these scams to be discoverable when a Google/Other search is performed then people will be less likely to be scammed!
The plan for this project was fairly simple for a proof of concept:
Setup a forum
Flarum was the software of choice with some quick research. I've used Xenforo in the past as displayed by my previous projects but I wanted to move forward and try something new with this type of project, as is the current philosophy of learning something new.
Flarum has its pro's; slick, out of the box, very stable, open source. But, the cons are not invisible; setup isn't simple, Google Adsense support came out 3 months after I started using it, via a community bounty for a plugin. That's how fresh this software appears to be, when it's years into development.
Setup a Discord Bot
With the logic of Discord being the home of where this idea came from, it seemed like a great idea to partner it up with a Discord Bot!
One of the main developers of the Flarum has an extension repo by the name of Extensiverse. They open source everything including the Discord Bot which has the ability to search the site from within Discord, perfect I thought! I can use this feature to allow people to search the name of a scam they just got and it will pull up posts about them.
A problem I do wish to solve moving forward would be allowing users to submit posts via the Discord Bot, a friend of mine Riverside Rocks ran a site doing this concept and honestly it was great, it was shut down and the database provided via a torrent. I believe it is due to running costs.
It's not about success, it's about helping people
One of the major things that I focus on is making the projects viable for long term success, however, this project has the simple goal of stopping scams. One major way of reaching Google quickly is making Reddit posts. Creating the subreddit which would mean less traffic to DNDW was an odd choice for me personally, but I knew it was the right thing to do moving forward and I am very proud to put people over money first!
DNDW has helped save upwards of 100 people at time of writing from being scammed, many of these people show up in the Discord convinced they have won a giveaway and take multiple tries to tell them, no, Cryptocurrency you deposit WILL be lost and have saved many thousands for some and helped report other scammers in the process. I am beyond happy with the proof of concept and plan to grow this in the future.. but that's for another update.
Why has DNDW closed?
There comes quite a large amount of difficulty and ongoing maintenance with a project like this. The majority of scammers (once discovered) will buy a new url as this is a small cost relative to what they are getting out of the victims they are after. Unfortunately, this has caused DNDW to fall behind. I am also at fault, the software development for the project has slowed significantly since mid 2022.
Much like Lets Flip, due to the sensitive nature of the database as a whole, I feel better shutting down the project and open sourcing the elements that are safe to do so then leaving what could become an insecure site open to attack. Particularly with the users in question being possibly vulnerable to future scams.