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How to Avoid Getting Hooked by Crypto Fraudsters


— January 4, 2021

Cryptocurrencies are the future of money and still have a lot of untapped potential as investment vessels. This has attracted a big number of hackers and scammers in the crypto ecosystem.


Cryptocurrencies have considerably increased in price in the past year. But if one thing is certain, it’s that this bull run has attracted a lot of attention, and not always the best kind. 

Hackers and scammers have once again invaded the space and are trying to do their best to get into your pocket. Today, you need to be extra vigilant when you buy Bitcoin, so you don’t compromise your data or get robbed of your hard-earned money. 

No one wants to become a victim (or a statistic), but with ever-evolving methods, hackers try to stay one step ahead of the masses. For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of some of the main methods scammers in the crypto sphere use regularly, so you will be able to detect and avoid them if encountered. 

Let’s get started. 

Imposter Crypto Exchanges

With exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase getting the most trading volume in the crypto market, you would think that it’s safe to buy and sell crypto from their websites. 

However, there’s a surprising number of websites that have been set up to resemble these exchanges. Even if the site looks identical to the one you think you’re visiting, you may find yourself directed to another website, with malicious intent. 

When browsing on an exchange, make sure there’s a small lock icon indicating security near the URL bar. 

Additionally, always carefully double-check the URL of the website for anomalies, as the differences can be quite subtle. For example, phishing sites often use a zero instead of the letter “o”. We recommend that you keep your exchanges bookmarked and never click on external links before you log in. 

Ponzi Schemes or MLMs

Thanks to the profit potential of cryptos, many multilevel marketing schemes have emerged. They often offer naïve investors incredible “opportunities” for progressively larger sums of cryptocurrencies.

A typical Multi-level marketing MLM binary tree structure
A typical Multi-level marketing MLM binary tree structure; image courtesy of Pyramid8Ball.svg via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/

Many of these types of investment scams ask for people to send a minimum of a given coin while promising a considerable payout in the future. However, in the crypto sphere, these almost always function on a pyramid scheme funding. 

They require recruiting more people to join to keep funding the entire network and only the top sees any kind of profit. When the funds run out, they will simply disappear and stop answering your emails or phone calls. 

You can safely assume that when offered a significant ROI in a very short time, they are trying to scam you. Usually, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is. 

Fake Cryptos

There have been a few cases of “incredible” cryptocurrencies that were presented as the next Bitcoin or Ethereum.  

The main idea these scammers are pushing is that it’s too late to profit from already popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and that you need to invest in one of these up-and-coming cryptocurrencies. 

They usually look like legit projects in the front, but quickly fall apart when you take a closer look. Often, team members are fake and the whitepaper is technical drivel that has no value whatsoever. 

So, before making any investment, it’s vital to learn as much about the company as possible to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Cloud Mining Schemes

Mining and staking are the two only ways of obtaining new coins without exchanging or buying them. But mining rigs are expensive and it takes massive amounts of processing power and electricity, and thus money, to mine a coin.

To this end, some companies are offering users to “rent” mining power from their so-called top-notch facilities. 

However, similar to Ponzi schemes, there’s actually no mining operation whatsoever behind these scams. Funds are bounced from user to user until they ultimately stop paying them and disappear from the face of the earth, leading to a massive loss of funds. 

Malware Apps

Another common way scammers trick cryptocurrency investors is through fake apps available for download. 

These fake apps can pose as known exchanges and promise to sell cryptocurrency. Instead, they steal your credit card information and siphon you out of your funds. They can also steal your crypto wallet data and drain it. 

Malware can also be used to mine cryptocurrencies thanks to your computer processing power, without your knowledge, slowing down your PC considerably. 

You can install malware by clicking links in your email or on social media. If someone claims a link is giving away free crypto, it’s usually bad news. 

Wrapping-up

Cryptocurrencies are the future of money and still have a lot of untapped potential as investment vessels. This has attracted a big number of hackers and scammers in the crypto ecosystem.

Unfortunately, there are many ways they can exploit your computer systems if you aren’t careful. They can steal your payment information or ask you to send them money for a “promising opportunity” that will never realize. 

Bitcoin and other cryptos are volatile and risky enough as it is, so try to stay safe and detect shady websites and schemes before it’s too late.

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