Protect yourself and your finances. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE MOST POPULAR BITCOIN SCAMS.
Scammers seek to take advantage of people by offering free giveaways of bitcoin or other digital currencies in exchange for sending a small amount to register, or by providing some personal information. When you see this on a website or social network, it’s best to immediately report the content as fraudulent, so that others don’t fall victim.
These fake exchanges may trick users by offering extremely competitive market prices that lull them into thinking they’re getting a steal, with quick and easy access to some cheap bitcoin. Be sure to use a reputable exchange when buying or selling bitcoin.
Do not reply to emails or inbound communications from strangers telling you they need help moving some money, whereafter in exchange for your services, you’ll get a portion of the funds.
Be wary of blackmail attempts in which strangers threaten you in exchange for bitcoin as a means of extortion. One common execution of this method is by email, where-in the sender transmits a message claiming that he/she has hacked into your computer and is operating it via remote desktop protocol (RDP). The sender says that a key logger has been installed and that your web cam was used to record you doing something you may not want others to know about. The sender provides two options – send bitcoin to suppress the material, or send nothing and see the content sent to your email contacts and spread across your social networks. Scammers use stolen email lists and other leaked user information to run this scheme across thousands of people en masse.
Unfortunately it’s very easy for con-artists to create social media accounts and impersonate people. Often times they lie in wait, until the person they’re trying to impersonate publishes content. The impersonator then replies to it with a follow-up message or call to action – like a free giveaway – using an account that looks almost identical to the original poster or author. This makes it seem like the original person is saying it. Alternatively, impersonators may also try to use these same fake accounts to trick others via private or direct message into taking some kind of action in an attempt to defraud or compromise. Never participate in free giveaways, and if you receive an odd request via someone in your network, it’s best to double check to confirm the authenticity via multiple mediums of communication.
Hackers have become very creative at finding ways to steal from people. When sending bitcoin, always be sure to double or triple check the address you’re sending to. Some malware programs, once installed, will change bitcoin addresses when they’re pasted from a user’s clipboard, so that all of the bitcoin unknowingly gets sent to the hacker’s address instead. Since there is little chance of reversing a bitcoin transaction once it’s confirmed by the network, noticing this after the fact means it’s too late and most likely can’t be recovered. It’s a good idea to be super-cautious about what programs you allow to have administrator access on your devices. An up-to-date, reputable virus scanner can also help but is not foolproof.
A pyramid scheme promises returns to participants based on the number of people they invite to join. This enables the scheme to grow virally and rapidly, however, it most often doesn’t result in any kind of meaningful return for the members and/or those invited who also joined. Never invite your personal network under the sole goal of accumulating rewards or returns from a product or service, and do not contribute your own capital at the behest of others to accelerate the process.
Be careful when investing in alternative coins (altcoins). Amongst altcoins there may be scam coins, enticing users to invest via private sales, or with presale discounts. Scam coins may feature a flashy website and/or boast a large community to create a fear of missing out effect on people who discover it. This helps early holders pump up the price so that they can dump and exit their positions for a profit. Scam coins without large communities may do airdrops – offering free coins (or tokens) to people in exchange for joining their communities. This enables scam coins to present their initiatives with inflated traction metrics to make investors feel like they’re missing out when it comes time for them to decide if they’d like to buy-in. Scam coins may also use the word Bitcoin in them in an effort to trick or mislead people into thinking there is a legitimate relationship.
When buying or selling bitcoin locally, a counterparty may ask you to meet in person to conduct the exchange. If it isn’t a trusted party that you already know, this is a very risky proposition that could result in you getting robbed or injured. Con-artists have also been known to exchange counterfeit fiat currency in exchange for bitcoin. Consider using a peer-to-peer platform to escrow the funds in place of meeting in person.