There are a number of cryptocurrency scams in the blockchain world. Some of the most common types of cybercrime are blackmail, fake currency exchanges, fake prize offers, social media phishing, copy-and-paste malware, phishing emails, Ponzi and pyramid scams, and ransomware.
Let’s go over each of these so you can protect your Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from the most common scams.
As long as technology keeps getting better, scammers will keep looking for new ways to make money. Since Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, it gives cryptocurrency scammers a unique chance to obtain money.
Because Bitcoin is autonomous, you are in charge of your own money. This, however, makes it harder to set clear legal and regulatory limits. Scammers can steal your Bitcoin if they can get you to make careless trades, and there isn’t much you can do about it.
So, it’s important to know what to watch out for and how con artists work. Even though there are a lot of Bitcoin scams, some are more common than others. To help, we’ll look at eight common Bitcoin scams and give you tips on how to avoid them.
Knowing about Bitcoin Scams and How to Avoid Them
Scammers often use blackmail, which is a form of coercion where the target is threatened with revealing private information if the blackmailer is not paid off in some way. By far, the most popular way to pay this way is with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
Scammers use blackmail when they get or make private information about their target and use it to force the target to send them Bitcoin or other forms of payment.
If you want to keep your bitcoins safe from criminals who could use blackmail to get you to send them money, be careful about whom you give your personal information to online, the websites you visit, and your login credentials. When you can, it’s also a good idea to use two-factor verification. If you know that the information they’re using to blackmail you is false, you might be safe.
As the name suggests, fake exchanges are fake versions of real sites for trading cryptocurrency. Most of the time, these scams come in the form of mobile apps, but they can also be desktop programs or fake online addresses. Be careful, because some fake deals look a lot like the real ones. Even though they look real at first glance, their goal is to get you to give them money.
Traders and buyers in cryptocurrency are easy targets for these scam exchanges because they often offer free cryptocurrency, low trading costs, and even freebies.
To avoid falling for a scam on a fake exchange, you should save the real URL and always double-check it before logging in. Binance Verify can also check the authenticity of a website, a Telegram group, or a Twitter account.
Before installing an app, you should always check the developer’s name, the number of downloads, the score from reviews, and the notes from users. Read Common Mobile Device Scams to find out more.
Scammers will use “giveaways” that offer free stuff in return for a small amount of cryptocurrency to steal your money. Scammers often say things like “send 0.1 BTC to receive 0.5 BTC” to get people to send money to their Bitcoin address. But if you do these kinds of Bitcoin deals, you will never be able to get your money back.
There are many different kinds of fake gift scams. Some scams may ask for Ethereum, Binance Coin, XRP, or another asset instead of Bitcoin. They might want private keys or other information from you that isn’t public.
Twitter and other social media sites are common places to find fake freebies because this is where scammers can quickly respond to breaking news or announcements (like a protocol change or an upcoming ICO).
If you don’t want to fall for a fake giveaway scam, don’t enter any contests that ask you to send money or other goods before you get the prize. There will never be a request for money from a real gift.
Phishing on Social Media Sites
Social media scamming is likely to happen to you online, just like fake Bitcoin offers. Scammers will create a fake account that looks like that of a well-known member of the Bitcoin community. Then, they’ll tweet or direct message fake gifts.
The best way to avoid a phishing scam is to make sure that a social media friend is who they say they are. On Twitter and Facebook, these signs look like blue checkmarks.
Scammers can take your money in a very covert manner by using copy-and-paste malware. If you aren’t careful, this kind of malware can steal your financial information from the clipboard and send it to cybercriminals.
Suppose you’ve decided to pay your pal Bob with bitcoins. He sends you the Bitcoin address to enter into your Bitcoin wallet as per usual. On the other hand, if you have copy-and-paste malware on your device, the scammer’s address will replace Bob’s address the instant you paste it. This means that the scammer will have your BTC as soon as the transaction is sent and completed, and Bob will get nothing.
You must take extreme care when it comes to computer security if you want to prevent falling victim to this con. Avoid opening messages or emails from unknown senders, as they may contain malware. Be cautious about the content of the websites you visit and the apps you download. It’s also a good idea to have an antivirus program and run scans on a regular basis. It’s also crucial that you always use the most recent version of your device’s operating system (OS).
Phishing can take many forms. The use of phishing emails, which attempt to fool you into downloading an infected file or clicking a link that takes you to an illegal website that looks authentic but is actually harmful, is one of the most popular methods. When these emails try to pass themselves off as a service or product you regularly use, be very wary.
Typically, the message will encourage you to act quickly to protect your money or account from the scammer. They may want you to change your password, update your profile information, or submit files. Typically, they are looking for your login information so that they can break into your account.
The first line of defense for avoiding phishing emails is to verify the sender’s identity. You might also call the business to make sure the email really came from them if you have any doubts. Second, you can preview the URLs of the links in the email without actually clicking on them to see if there are any typos, strange characters, or other problems.
Avoid the links, even if there are no obvious warning signs. You should use an alternate method of accessing your account, such as entering the URL into your browser or utilizing bookmarks.
Pyramid and Ponzi Schemes
Financial Ponzi and pyramid schemes have been around for a very long time. When new investors pay dividends to existing investors, this is known as a Ponzi scheme. When the con artist can no longer recruit fresh victims, the money stops coming in. To illustrate the dangers of crypto Ponzi schemes, consider OneCoin.
Payment in a pyramid scheme is directly proportional to the number of new participants. When it becomes impossible to sign up new customers, revenue will also dry up.
The easiest way to avoid falling victim to either of these scams is to educate yourself about any cryptocurrency, Bitcoin or otherwise, that you’re considering purchasing. You have probably fallen into a Ponzi or pyramid scheme if the value of a cryptocurrency or Bitcoin fund is contingent on fresh investors or members entering the program.
Ransomware is a form of software that encrypts data on infected computers or mobile devices and refuses to decrypt it unless the victim pays a ransom (often in Bitcoin). When directed at important facilities like hospitals, airports, or government buildings, these attacks can have disastrous effects.
Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts data and then threatens to remove it if the owner doesn’t pay up by a certain date. Even if the assailants say they won’t attack again, that doesn’t mean they won’t.
Some preventative measures against ransomware are as follows:
- Put in an anti-virus program and always update your software.
- Stay away from questionable advertisements and links
- Avoid opening attachments in emails. Files with extensions like. exe,.vbs, and.scr require special caution.
- Make sure you frequently back up your data so you can restore it in the event of a virus infection.
- NoMoreRansom.org is where you can discover free recovery tools and helpful guidance on how to avoid falling victim to ransomware.
Be wary of the numerous Bitcoin frauds that exist today. However, understanding the mechanics of such cons can help you avoid falling for any of them in the future. You can protect your Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency holdings by avoiding the most prevalent scams.