Bitcoin Scams: All that glitters is not gold

Bitcoins. Cryptocurrencies.  It took the world by storm when it was first introduced in 2009, leaving many bewildered, fascinated, many folds richer – but also poorer than before. Other than losing money in an investment we do not fully understand; people also lost their hard-earned cash to bitcoin SCAMS.

Scammers manipulate emotions and desires in a person, identify their weaknesses even in the most well-educated person and prey on them – making them the next unwilling but unsuspecting victim in their elaborated web of lies. It may not be easy to tell the authenticity at first glance, but there will be tell-tale signs that warn you if something is amiss.

THE CRYPTO SCAM CHECKLIST

This checklist (as adapted from here) is a guide to help you identify if the particular crypto website you’re on is a scam.  

Disclaimer: This checklist is by no means a full fledged, fool-proof guide to all the possible red flags out there. It is a general guideline, and one should also practice due diligence and precautions before sharing any personal information online.

This checklist is also available as PDF for you to download and print.

Once you’ve done ticking off the checklist for suspicious crypto websites, the next step is to identify the different forms of scams usually faced by unsuspecting investors.

1. Phishing

So, what is phishing? Phishing is the method of obtaining sensitive personal information such as your account username and password through the disguise of fake websites that were designed to look like the real deal. Once you have logged on to the website by keying in your personal details, that’s when the scammers have the opportunity and new found knowledge to steal your money through your actual account – leaving you high and dry.

How to prevent phishing scams:

  • Make sure the website URL is genuine. Double or even triple check to be sure.
  • Do not click on suspicious links in your email, especially when the headline sounds too good to be true.
  • Never give away your private login details

2. Wallet and Exchange Fraud

Using so-called wallets that were designed to store Bitcoin or exchange Bitcoin or both, users are tricked into believing these are legitimate means of stashing and exchanging their Bitcoins with other users.

Red flags to look out for:

  • Too good to be true promotions upon signing up, or someone is pressuring you to sign up with the promise of the aforementioned deals
  • Platforms charging exorbitantly high fees making it impossible for you to withdraw your funds, and then empty whatever deposit you have in your account
  • Fake wallet apps that resemble legitimate apps – there are cases of these apps making into platforms such as Google Play. Remember to report these apps to Google to ensure that it gets taken down as soon possible.

It’s vital to research and find out as much as possible before downloading anything or when you’re asked to sign up for deals and promotions that sounds incredulously good. Do not give away critical personal details before finding out as much as you can about a particular app or platform.

Here’s a list of cryptocurrency exchanges that have been screened and vetted to be legitimate (in no particular order):

3. Mining Scams

Mining is the core of Bitcoin. It is the process of creating and discovering cryptocurrency by solving complex computational math problems with high powered computers. These math problems are so complex – it’s akin to miners striking gold when one of these problems gets solved. The odds of it happening is so rare, there’s only 1 in 6 trillion chances of it succeeding.

Consequently, bitcoin mining services such as cloud mining emerge to fill this need. Users are then able to mine cryptocurrencies without the need to purchase expensive hardware, and thus lowering their upfront capital significantly.

Knowing this, scammers play on an unsuspecting investors’ desire to invest as little as possible but gain maximum profits in a short amount of time. They would sing the usual song of promising investors an unbelievable or almost astronomical amount of returns, and would conveniently leave out a range of hidden fees. There are also other instances of mining scams in the form of Ponzi schemes that are out to make you part with your hard earned cash.

Bitcoin Scammer List Alert

There is a website dedicated to identifying and reporting Bitcoin scammers. Identifying fraud and preventing other people from falling victim is a continuous community effort.

Help us, help you to help those that you care and love.

Spread the news, and don’t get scammed.

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