As long as new technology is flourishing on this planet, Scammers will search for a residence to blossom from. Therefore, it should be no surprise that these resourceful con artists began operating cryptocurrency and Bitcoin scams virtually as soon as the technology was created.
While Bitcoin might be relatively unique, many more widespread types of bitcoin scams still depend on tried-and-true techniques to flourish. Almost all fraud schemes, including phishing and Bitcoin scams, depend on the victim’s willingness to trust the con artist. It’s all about winning someone over; after all, that’s why they’re called “con artists.”
Here are some more typical Bitcoin scams. This article provides people with a solid understanding of what to look out for so they can safeguard their assets even before they begin investing in Bitcoins.
Bitcoin: What is it?
Bitcoin is essentially an electronic form of money; it is untouchable and decentralized, with no central authority. Instead, every bitcoin is kept in a “digital wallet,” which uses blockchain technology to record every transaction.
Bitcoin was created in 2008 by a programmer who goes by the alias “Satoshi Nakamoto” as a secure, verifiable, and immutable method of transacting in electronic currency. Hence, bitcoin was created. The true originality of the creator is unknown. The decentralized nature of bitcoin, which does not enable any bank, government,or other organizations to govern its operations, is one of its most appealing qualities. Bitcoin has a finite supply; only a few bitcoins are minted each hour according to a mathematical procedure. The process will conclude whenever there are 21 million Bitcoins altogether. The permitted number does not exceed that. Scammers and criminals are drawn to bitcoins because of their semi-anonymous nature.
Top 4 Bitcoin scams to avoid?
- Bitcoin extortion schemes:
Con artists occasionally pose as tax officers to pressure victims into parting with money, they will also pretend to be hackers with some damning information.
One typical variation of this con is an unrequested email from somebody proclaiming to be a hacker who has gained access to your computer. They’ll claim they’ve uncovered some damning proof or that they’ve seized control of your webcam and have recorded a video of you doing something humiliating or something that you’d prefer to keep hidden from the public. Of course, they try to take advantage of the situation by threatening that incriminating evidence will be sent to your email or social media connections unless you send the blackmailer some Bitcoin. These emails usually include instructions on how to buy Bitcoin and where to send it.
Naturally, everything is a lie. Paying these fictitious blackmailers makes no sense because they generally lack proof that they do have any sensitive information that could impact you. This Bitcoin scam is a numbers game in which the con artists believe that if they send out enough emails, enough people will be alarmed and send them some Bitcoin.
How to avoid Bitcoin extortion schemes:
- Check online and spot whether others have been complaining about such emails.
- Do not believe the con artists.
- To browse more confidentially and to improve your protection against this sort of bitcoin scam, employ a VPN.
- Pyramid or Ponzi schemes:
A Ponzi scheme is straightforward yet is one of the most frighteningly successful Bitcoin scams, enticing new investors with the promise of huge profits. First, a promoter persuades individuals to invest in his/her plan, which is how it starts operating. These first investors receive payments that they mistakenly think are returns but instead are disbursements from the capital that newer investors have put. Then, having gained confidence in the plan’s legitimacy, investors who have received rewards continue to participate and persuade new investors to do the same.
The scheme eventually fails when the promoter disappears with the money, or when it gets too challenging to attract fresh investors. Although these pyramid scams are nothing new and are usually obvious, they have nonetheless managed to con some cryptocurrency buyers in a few high-profile cases.
How to stay away from pyramid/Ponzi schemes:
- Watch out for bitcoin initiatives that entice you to bring on additional investors to earn more money.
- Never put your faith in a scheme that offers returns that seem unreal.
- Pump and dump scam:
As a result of the widespread endorsement of cryptocurrencies as a speculator’s paradise that is open to some degree of market manipulation, “pump and dump” scams have become more prevalent. This is where vast groups of customers target an altcoin with a tiny market cap, purchase it in massive quantities at a specific moment to raise its price (which draws in a tonne of additional purchasers inspired by FOMO), and then sell to benefit from the sharp cost growth.
Despite being prohibited in traditional protection markets, this activity is widespread in the primarily unregulated domain of cryptocurrency. Therefore, you must remain savvy and aware if you want to avoid these Bitcoin scams. Because numerous online groups and forums are devoted to this practice.
How to avoid pump and dump scams:
- A minimal trading volume and abrupt price rise in a low market cap cryptocurrency should raise your suspicions.
- Watch out for “false information” that encourages specific coins on social media.
- Before purchasing any cryptocurrency, carefully check its credentials.
- Malware scams:
Online fraudsters have always used malware tools. But because cryptocurrencies are complicated, highly technical, and most people don’t fully understand them, malware has become more dangerous.
Crypto-related malware is intended to access your web wallet. And drain your account rather than stealing your credit card and bank account information. It is also designed to check the Windows clipboard for cryptocurrency addresses, replacing your actual address with the scammer’s address. Finally, it may even infect your computer that serves as a cryptocurrency miner.
How to avoid Bitcoin malware scams:
- To protect yourself against malware, regularly contemporize your antivirus software.
- Never download or install softwares unless you are sure it is from a reliable and trustworthy source.
- Never open shady attachments.
The semi-anonymous feature of bitcoins attracts scammers and criminals. Bitcoin is essentially an electronic form of payment, without any governance of the central bank, untouchable, and decentralized. Therefore, people should clearly understand what to watch out for when it comes to protecting their crypto investments. An unsolicited email from a person identifying as a hacker is a classic form of these Bitcoin scams.
The con artists behind this scheme are just playing a numbers game. Hoping that if they send their targets enough emails, enough people will become worried and send them some Bitcoin. Never trust a scheme that promises returns that seem improbable.