As the entire cryptocurrency industry is still at infant stage, it already has many potentials that can be used to make money fast online; either good, or through the bad ways mostly known as scams.
Many people have tried investing in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, but instead, they got scammed of their fortune because maybe, they invested in the wrong asset that looked or claimed to be better than the first cryptocurrency, BTC.
Due to the decentralized nature of bitcoin transactions, some bad-minded people (mostly known in Nigeria as yahoo scammers) have capitalized on the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions to steal funds from other unsuspected individuals using their lapses.
If you are keen to start investing in the cryptocurrency world, then it’s also very necessary that you familiarize yourself with some of the most commonly observed bitcoin scams to help protect yourself and your investment finances.
Before we get started, let me firstly explain to you, what cryptocurrency scam is all about – just incase you’re not all that familiar with it yet.
What is Bitcoin scam?
Cryptocurrency scams are those tactics that mostly raises bitcoin complaints against some practices.
These techniques are mostly used by scammers to make investors either invest in wrong crypto projects, or loose their investments entirely due to ignorance.
If you are a regular visitor of this crypto community, you may have known already that i once lost huge sum of money to HYIP scams.
As an amateur then, I use to invest in such schemes which was projected to me as one of the ways to make money fast online with crypto-coins.
Little did I know they were all cryptocurrency scams.
Types of crypto scams
In this post, you will see the most popular bitcoin cryptocurrency scams you should always try to avoid, or you may stand a chance of loosing your cryptocurrency investment.
So, let’s get to dive straight into all the types of crypto scams already!
1. Mining cryptocurrency scam
Cryptocurrency mining is a specialized crypto activity and requires a huge involvement of financed funds and technicality too yield any substantial profit.
However, newbies are being told otherwise by these ‘make-believe individuals’ who claim to offer you fixed returns for investing in their mining programs or platforms.
They normally resort to use edited images, promises of big profits, and fake testimonials to convince you to part with your coins; after which they disappear.
2. HYIP crypto investment platforms
A high yield crypto investment website mostly comes with variety of investment options; example Bitcoin Crypto Doublers (Bitcoins – invest up-to $50 to get $500 in 7 days, or invest $100 to get $1000 in 10 days) kind of platforms.
Others are just regular persuasive comments on social media pages.
“All my life I have been looking for ways to invest in cryptocurrency/bitcoin and have failed till I met Mr John Doe who now trades or helps me earn $100 every 3 days…Contact…”
Sometimes, they could send out direct messages seeking to persuade you into pseudo-investing on their platforms and programs.
3. Fake bounty and airdrop giveaways
A classic example is the fake ‘5000 BTC Binance Giveaway’ – where the perpetrators created fake social media profiles and web links, asking users to join with a promise to get a part of the 5000 BTC available for grabs.
These kind of scam is the type you’ll be asked for some crypto deposit, before you become eligible to win in the giveaway, or you’re asked to register on a clone platform similar to the original, as they try to steal your log in, or data details for later access through phishing.
There are also cases of lofty promises for referrals and the unsuspecting victim goes sharing links to other parties in hopes of a big reward.
4. Crypto pump and dump scams
These ones mostly happens to cryptocurrency traders, when new crypto-coins are freshly introduced into the crypto trading market, and these coins sometimes, may lack the basic features that determines the value of cryptocurrencies.
The people behind such crypto projects may use FUDs, or controversies to push the price of the cryptocurrency high, so their own investment can increase.
As soon as people starts buying into the coin due to price spike, they will start selling their own stakes in the project and the price will fall drastically to almost know value.
If you are a crypto trader, i suggest that you always do thorough research of any cryptocurrency you intend to start trading with your bitcoin to avoid loosing your crypto invested funds due to FOMO (most times).
5. Shit-Coin crypto project scams
Shit coin refers to fake cryptocurrency coins, or tokens with no potential for the long term value. This type of cryptocurrency scam tries to convince an investor of the benefits of a relatively unknown coin, asking him to buy the fake project with the promise that it will be worth more in due time.
It is no longer news that most of these projects have either failed, leaving the investors with worthless ICO tokens, or have pulled exist scams.
The shit coin promoter says;
“Buy xyz coin, it will be worth… value in coming months, Buy xyz coin we have offices in… You’ll win a trip to…”
6. E-mail phishing and hacks
This level of scam is an advanced model which employs tools and behavioural predictability of the victim.
For e-mail phishing, they try to get access to your security passwords, or wallet by sending clone links of websites or infiltrating your PC/device through malware.
These phishing e-mails could have attractive headlines and call to action.
They usually send out mail to their victims – telling them that their investments account have been tampered, and they should reset their password(s).
“Your blockchain wallet password is under review, click here ‘
blocchain.com’to reset password.”
Notice the deliberate omission of the letter ‘k’ in the second link; in a haste and panic response you may not notice immediately.
Hackers employ similar tactics by trying to break down your defences and security in an attempt to steal coins, or gain access to your cryptocurrency investment accounts.
7. Fake crypto exchanges
As bitcoin has become more popular, more people have sought to acquire it. Unfortunately, scammers also take advantage of this and have been known to set up fake bitcoin cryptocurrency exchanges.
These fake exchanges may trick users by offering extremely competitive market prices that will attract them into thinking they’re going to buy it very cheap, with quick and easy access to some cheap cryptocurrencies.
8. Blackmailing for Bitcoin
Be wary of blackmail attempts in which strangers threaten you in exchange for bitcoin as a means of extortion.
The best common execution of this method is by email, where the sender transmits a message claiming that he/she hacked into your computer and is operating it via remote desktop protocol (RDP) and VPN.
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 BTC to suppress the material, or send nothing and see content sent to your email contacts and spread across your social networks.
Scammers use stolen email lists and other leaked user information to mass-mail thousands of individuals.
How to avoid Bitcoin scams
Always use long and strong alphanumeric passwords you can remember.
If you must participate in free crypto giveaways, look out for cryptocurrency airdrops organized by official handles.
Ignore and block off comments, or direct messages promising quick profits, as they are mostly scams that will in-turn ask you to deposit some amount of your bitcoin investment to win gains.
Stick to trusted exchanges and websites, and always check that their URL (i.e. website link) is correct, and check if it has SSL (i.e. https) before clicking.
I strongly recommend using Binance cryptocurrency exchange for all your crypto trading, as they are trusted by many professionals.
To avoid spam mails, you can use VPNs with an email filtering services which requires e-mail sender to pay before his/her mail is delivered to your inbox.
This would deter phishing attempts and help blacklist them without stress. So before investing in any coin projects, do your research.
Study the coin’s development team, product and industry backers, and avoid leaving your investment in an online crypto exchange wallet to avoid getting hacked.
Recommended reading: Best cryptocurrency wallets for storing bitcoins
Avoid greed and quick profit schemes. There is profit to be made in cryptocurrency, but to do so you must understand how it works.
For clarity, the cryptocurrency market is highly volatile hence, there are no guarantees on a fixed amount of profit over a given period of time.
Profits vary with the market; so when promised a fixed return in quick succession set your red alerts.
If it looks too great to be true, please take a good look into the project or scheme and do thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency asset.