The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has concocted a genius plan to help educate investors on how to not only identify Initial Coin Offering (ICO) scams but then also troll the fraudsters that run them.

They recently released an eight-page whitepaper detailing a new coin that will revolutionize the travel industry using blockchain technology. ‘HoweyCoin’, as they called it, was launched with the statement: “The SEC Has an Opportunity You Won’t Want to Miss: Act Now!”.  The website — howeycoins.com — looks very real and tempts investors with a 15 percent discount if they purchase in the next two weeks.

It claims that the HoweyCoins ICO presale is live and makes claims relating to its affiliations with the US government and SEC-compliant exchanges. The whitepaper goes on to detail how the coins are finite and their dedicated use in the travel industry will somehow make them the “coin of the realm for travel”. Early adopters are promised a return on investment as high as two percent a day and a minimum growth rate between 7 to 15 percent – similar to high-performing mutual funds.

A section on the website details the “Investment Ladder” that promises users the ability to buy, sell and trade in a frictionless environment, and speaks about an exclusive e-commerce partner – TravExcoins.  All in all, it’s very convincing and it would be easy to see how some not-so-savvy investors might be sucked in by the hype. They even feature celebrity endorsements from athletes and social media influencers and have some very professional looking photos of their “team” of strategists, engineers and architects.

Clicking the token sale button takes you to a section with four options to get higher discounts the sooner you buy in. However, once you click any of the ‘Buy Coins Now’ buttons you’re redirected to a site stating “If You Responded To An Investment Offer Like This, You Could Have Been Scammed – HoweyCoins Are Completely Fake!”

The website details just how easy it is to set up fake ICO scams and draw investors in. They explain how easy and quick it was for their team to create the fake website.

The fact that the SEC feels the need to develop such a strategy indicates just how extensive ICO scams have become.

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