Don’t fall victim to these common crypto scams.
The cryptocurrency market is a multi-billion dollar industry with the potential to grow to several trillion dollars in the upcoming years. As the cryptocurrency market grows it also becomes a bigger target for scammers and hackers. They usually prey on unsuspecting individuals but even seasoned veterans in the crypto space can fall for their bag of tricks.
Investing in the cryptocurrency market can be very lucrative, especially since blockchain technology is in its infancy and has plenty of room for growth. Investors can turn a couple thousand dollars into hundreds of thousands in a matter of months.
However, they can lose all their hard earned cash in a matter of seconds by becoming a victim to one of many crypto scams. In this article, I outline some of the most common scams, so you can avoid falling victim to them and keep what is rightfully yours.
One of the most common crypto scams are impersonation scams. This usually takes place on social media outlets such as Twitter and Youtube. The scammer creates an account name that is almost identical to that of a social influencer or prominent crypto figure. They then claim to be doing a giveaway for a substantial amount of free coins to the first 100 people that make a contribution to the scammer’s wallet address. Sometimes these impersonators will even tell you to send them your private key in order to receive a large amount of free coins.
(Notice the difference between the real @cz_binance(top) and the fake one with a slight misspelling(bottom)
Prevent yourself from falling prey to: Impersonation Scams
In order to protect yourself from this type of scam, always be vigilant and never trust anyone on the internet. If something seems too good to be true, it’s usually a scam. Don’t send your hard earned cryptocurrency to anyone over the internet. Even if the account claiming to give you free coins is the real account of the social influencer or crypto figure, you can’t discount the possibility that their account may be compromised by a hacker.
Also, keep your private keys to yourself! I know sharing your private key with John McAfee is tempting. But trust me, you don’t want to do that. Also remember that for legitimate giveaways and airdrops, there is no need to send funds to anyone nor is there a reason to give out your private keys, as the tokens are distributed to your public wallet address.
Phishing scams usually take place on forums, chat rooms, and through e-mail. In a phishing scam, the malicious party posts a link in a chat room or forum that takes you to a website that looks similar to the official website of an exchange or online wallet. In fact, in most cases it looks 100% identical to the official website. You may then unknowingly enter your private key to access your wallet or try to login using your credentials to the official website on this fake site.
The information you enter on the phishing website will get sent to the attacker and they then obtain control of your funds. Also, beware of e-mails that are sent to you with fake links or sent by fake support teams. These e-mails usually tell you that due to some reason or another, your account has been breached. You are then prompted to either log in a bogus website, or to reset your password by entering your old password and your new desired password. If you log in or disclose your old password, the attacker will then log in to the actual website using the credentials he stole from you.
Here is an example of a phishing scam on Bittrex. The real website is www.bittrex.com. Yet you see that the phishing site looks very similar www.blttrex.com . The fake site has an ‘l’ instead of an ‘i’.
Prevent yourself from falling prey to: Phishing Scams
To avoid becoming a victim to phishing scams, never click on links that are posted on social media, especially if you are on the computer you trade crypto on. Another way to prevent yourself from getting phished is to have links to exchanges and wallets bookmarked and only access these websites through the bookmark. We highly recommend you use bookmarks, as even Google searches for exchanges and wallets might yield result with links to malicious websites.
Always double check to see if you are logging in the correct website. And as an extra measure of security, check the SSL security certificate. Also make sure the website you are accessing is secure – secure websites start with “https” and not on “http.”
As for not getting phished through e-mail, never click on links that are sent to you via e-mail no matter how legit the e-mail looks. If you receive a support e-mail to log in or to change your password, contact support yourself to see if the e-mail was sent by them.
ICOs are getting more popular these days. Naturally coupled with that, is an increase in the number of ICO scammers. These individuals prey upon people who are participating in an ICO. They get a ahold of your e-mail and invite you to be part of a “private pre-sale” with a “bigger bonus.” Some even ask you outright to send funds before the ICO is released to their wallet address. Just like the e-mail phishing scams, they create e-mail addresses that resemble the addresses of admin or support team members from the ICO you are participating in to solicit funds from you.
Telegram is also a hotbed for these scammers.. Sometimes when you are participating in an ICO, you also join the Telegram chat room to stay up to date on information. Upon approaching the start of the ICO, the Telegram chat becomes filled with scammers posting their own address as the contribution address for the ICO. This contribution address is fake of course. Often times, these scammers will create a Telegram account name that is similar to that of an admin in the Telegram chat room, and then use that fake admin account name to post the fake address in the main chat or even privately message you with the fake contribution address.
(Here is a malicious individual impersonating an admin in a popular ICO Telegram channel)
Prevent yourself from falling prey to: ICO Scams
So how do we protect ourselves from ICO scammers? To prevent yourself from becoming game to these ICO scammers, always double check the ICO contribution address with multiple sources. When the ICO starts, make sure to check the contribution address on the official website, along with the pinned message on Telegram, and the latest Twitter feed from the company’s official Twitter. Never blindly trust messages that are being spammed in the Telegram channel claiming to be the official contribution address. Also, never give in to solicitation on Telegram or through e-mail from people that may look like an admin or support team member.