No matter what type of financial market you’re invested in, scammers and thugs will always try to devoid you of your money. The cryptocurrency marketplace is no exception to the unfortunate reality. As people around the globe continue to invest in cryptocurrencies, fraudsters have forged several ways to scam the holders.
Once you lose your Bitcoins (or any other cryptocurrency), there’s almost no way to get them back as the whole crypto marketplace is decentralized. This makes the biggest power of cryptocurrency its weakest point as well. No law can be made for and applied to cryptocurrency due to its independent nature.
So, if scammers trick you into making certain mistakes while using your bitcoin, they can easily steal all of it and leave you with nothing but tears. Once this happens, there is literally no way you can adopt to get your cryptocurrency back.
Therefore, if you are either interested in trading or holding cryptocurrency or are already doing it, you should definitely learn a few tips and tricks to keep yourself safe on the internet. In this article, you’ll read about some of the most common bitcoin scams you might come across on the internet and how you can avoid them easily.
Data Breaches/ Theft
One of the most common ways scammers use to steal bitcoin from others is by blackmailing them and threatening them to leak their personal information if they are not paid in bitcoin. They steal personal information related to bitcoin owners and threaten to leak it if they are not paid in bitcoin. Data thieves can ask you for other types of money as well, but the most common is bitcoin, as you will have nothing to trace them afterward.
The best thing you can do to keep your personal data safe on the Internet is to be careful about the type of websites you visit while surfing the web. Additionally, you should be extremely careful about who you share your personal information with. Any type of information you post online can be fabricated and used against you by scammers.
You can also use two-factor authentication on all of your accounts to make it really difficult for hackers and scammers to reach your personal information. This way, the chances of someone stealing your personal information and threatening you will be minimized.
- Always use a VPN to browse the internet safely.
- If you suspect a data breach, immediately change all of your passwords.
- Report every case of cyber-harassment to the local authorities.
Another common bitcoin scam is fraudsters copying names and structures from original cryptocurrency exchanges and making fake applications and websites to loot people looking to buy or exchange bitcoin. There are a number of fake exchanges with good-looking applications and interactive websites. Once you put your login credentials on the website, they use your information to log in to the real exchange and steal all of your money.
Fake exchanges usually provide unrealistic bonuses and free cryptocurrency to attract more investors.
To keep yourself safe from fake platforms that look like your real exchange, you should bookmark the URL of your cryptocurrency exchange and should always re-check it before logging in. You can also visit popular online communities and read reviews to identify real URLs and spot fake ones.
As far as fake mobile applications are concerned, you should check out their reviews and the number of downloads. Following these simple steps will keep your bitcoin safe and away from scammers.
- Never provide your login information on a third-party platform.
- Never download an application directly from the internet unless it is provided by the legitimate platform itself.
- Never believe in unrealistic bonuses and giveaways.
Phishing is a very broad domain. It usually involves the target clicking on a suspicious link that they receive either from WhatsApp, Telegram or through email. Once the target clicks the link, they are directed to a fake website which is made just like the real platform they use on a daily basis to manage their bitcoin. This is an easy way to steal login information from anyone. This process also includes you downloading a suspicious application on your device, which then helps the scammers steal important data.
In Email phishing, you might receive an email claiming to be from your Bitcoin exchange. The email might contain a warning that you need to take a few important steps to keep your account safe. The main goal of this process is stealing your login information, which will then be used to steal your bitcoin.
You can easily avoid phishing by double-checking if the emails you are receiving are coming from the original source. If you are curious about the email you just received, you should directly contact the customer service of your bitcoin exchange and should inquire with them about the email. Always look for misspellings and tricky website names.
Even if you do not see any red flag in the email, you should still avoid clicking any links you receive through emails. Rather, you should try to log in to the exchange by manually typing the URL by yourself or using the bookmark.
Follow these steps to avoid phishing-related scams.
- Never click a suspicious link you receive through an unknown email address or through any other social media platform.
- Always double-check the spelling of the website before clicking any link.
- Always save the real URL of your crypto exchange by bookmarking it.
As the name suggests, it is a specific type of malware that, when installed on your device, will keep it from functioning normally unless a ransom is paid to the hackers. These days, hackers ask for ransom in the form of bitcoin as the transaction is almost impossible to trace, and hackers feel safe this way. While you might not be bothered by losing your personal data to hackers, these attacks can be detrimental if done on government bodies, hospitals, and other important public places.
Once the ransomware starts working, it blocks access to all types of important data available on a specific device. The hackers then contact the victim and ask them to pay a specific amount of bitcoin as ransom if they want their data back. Even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that hackers will give the access back.
Ransomware attacks can be dangerous. So, here are a few important tips you should follow to keep your business or your personal computer away from Ransomware attacks.
- Use regular offline or online backup to access your files even if you come under a ransomware attack.
- Do not click on every ad you come across on the Internet. This applies to every suspicious link you receive through emails and social media as well.
- Never open attachments you receive with emails from untrusted sources.
- The best way to keep your computer safe from ransomware attacks is by installing a premium antivirus. There are various free versions as well.
- There are various Ransomware recovery tools available on the Internet which you can try even after your device has been infected by it. There are both paid and free versions available.
Fake Celebrity Giveaways
Another very common bitcoin scam being used these days is fake celebrity giveaways. In this type of scam, scammers will use fake videos of credible celebrities and business leaders giving away lots of bitcoin for free. But in order to receive these bitcoins, one must send them a specific amount first. Many giveaways promise to double your bitcoin holdings. This scam is very common on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Scammers use your fear of missing out (FOMO) to push you into sending them lots of bitcoin. To make this game look legitimate, scammers will also use bots to give an impression that the giveaway is actually working. Once you see lots of people (bots) thanking the scammers for the giveaway, you will be intrigued to send them your bitcoin.
If you see a Twitter account with a blue verification mark on it, you should still not believe in any bitcoin giveaways. This is because these are actually hacked accounts that scammers edit to impersonate real celebrities later on. There are hundreds and even thousands of followers on these accounts. But all of these are from bots and not real humans.
We are not saying that you cannot get any cryptocurrency for free. But usually, it is in the form of small airdrops when a new platform is launched, and there is almost always a catch.
Here are a few steps you can take to keep yourself safe from fake celebrity giveaways.
- You should believe that all of the celebrities who give away on social media are fake.
- You can always check Apple login explorer to see how much money the given address is making and giving away. This is an easy way to verify whether or not they are giving any money away or not.
- Whenever you come across a specific celebrity’s video about the giveaway, you should visit their real account by searching them on Google. This will help you verify whether or not the giveaway is real.
Pump and Dump Schemes
The crypto market is always volatile, and any rise in the number of buyers instantly triggers a price hike. Therefore, lots of speculators are always waiting for the market to go up and down to place their bids and earn a lot more than the Bitcoin holders themselves. Since there are market manipulation laws that currently apply to bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies, speculators take it as an opportunity to initiate pump and dump schemes.
In these schemes, a large group of investors team up and target an altcoin (or, in some cases, even bitcoin). They then buy the coin in a huge quantity to instantly drive the price of than altcoin up. The purchase is made at a specific time to multiply the effect. The price hike intrigues newbie investors to buy out of the fear of missing out.
This type of market manipulation would generally be seen as illegal in any securities market. But due to the largely unregulated nature of the crypto market, scammers can easily go away with pump and dump schemes.
Here are a few tips you must follow if you want to keep away from pump and dump schemes.
- Never rush buy any low market cap cryptocurrency which has seen a sudden rise in its market value lately.
- Always learn the basics and history of a cryptocurrency before you make any purchase decisions.
- Stay away from fake news on social media and only rely on trusted sources.
There are different types of mining used by crypto enthusiasts who want to collect any cryptocurrency of their choice. For example, one of the most advanced mining methods is cloud mining. It allows you to rent remote server space, which mines your desired crypto at a set rate and gives you profit in return. You can also invest your money in any cloud mining company if you want to earn money that way.
However, scammers and thugs haven’t spared this market either. Many platforms promise unreal results, take your money and run away. Others do not disclose any hidden fee and start charging your card for things you never agreed to when signing up with them.
Even if we talk about real mining, it is generally less profitable when compared to directly buying and holding bitcoin for a reasonably long time. Mining schemes have varying returns, and a sudden price drop can empty your pocket quickly rather than filling it.
So, even if you’re thinking about signing up with a legitimate cloud mining platform, you should keep in mind that it is a bad investment.
This is one of the most old-school scans but still works on many bitcoin holders around the globe every year. These scams are just like the fake Tax Officer scam in which you receive a call from a fake tax officer who urges you to bribe him if you don’t want to get a tax penalty and jail time. Similarly, scammers can try to contact you with some fake evidence and try to blackmail you into sending them your bitcoin.
Another old-school blackmailing scam includes a fishy email from a hacker who has access to your computer and has found some evidence against you. The scammer might also tell you that they’ve recorded you while doing something embarrassing through the webcam of your computer. They will threaten you by saying that they’ll send the video/ evidence to all of your contacts and post it on your social media accounts if you don’t pay a specific amount of bitcoin in the form of ransom. They will also include a manual on how you can buy bitcoin (if you don’t have any), and will send you an address to send the bitcoin as well.
But you don’t need to worry at all if you have started receiving emails like these. This is all a lie, and scammers send these emails in bulk quantities in hopes that they’ll scare some people and a few will actually pay them.
Follow these simple steps to keep yourself away from blackmailing scams.
- See if online communities are talking about the same fake emails.
- Using a VPN while surfing the web is highly recommended. It’ll help keep data thieves away.
- Never believe a scammer, no matter what they threaten you with.
Do This In The Case Of A Bitcoin Scam
If you’ve been hit by a bitcoin scam recently, keep in mind that the chances of recovering your cryptocurrency are literally next to none. This is the case with every scam, which includes international scammers, but in the case of cryptocurrency, it is the worst.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t even report it. There are agencies and organizations dedicated to the online safety of internet users. For example, you can report crypto-related scams or any other online crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center established by the FBI. For international fraud and scams, you can submit your complaint with eConsumer. They are dedicated to the protection of online consumers around the globe. So, instead of being embarrassed that you lost your money to a Nigerian prince scam or an insurance scam, be more vocal about it and report the crime to the concerned agencies. This will help stop the spread of that scam faster.
Additionally, every social media platform uses a “Report” button, which you can easily use to report any scam directly. This will help them spot the scam and block the scammers from their platform.
The internet is still far from being safe. But you can do your best by enabling 2-factor authentication, using a cold wallet for your bitcoin, only logging in on trusted platforms, double-checking addresses before visiting sites, and by keeping your login information limited to yourself.