Cryptocurrency Scams: The Most Common Types And How To Avoid Them
Any type of online transaction is going to come with a certain amount of risk, but some virtual ventures can put your entire life’s savings in jeopardy. Investing in cryptocurrency is one of those ventures. While the security risk that comes with investment doesn’t mean that you should always avoid it, it does mean that you need to take certain precautions.
Many scammers have tried and true methods that they will return to again and again. The good part of this repetition is that it has gotten much easier to steer clear of the scams. Let’s take a look at the frequent fliers of the cryptocurrency scamming world.
Scamming through email is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it doesn’t make it any less effective in the modern world. If you get an email from a legitimate cryptocurrency company asking you to invest, be sure that the email truly came from that company. Check that the email address is identical to the company’s real address and that the logo and branding are identical. Scammers will often change the address or logo with tweaks that are barely noticeable to fool people into believing they’re the real company.
If you have any doubts that the email in your inbox is actually from the company it claims to be, simply contact the company. By asking a real person about the legitimacy of an email promotion, you can simultaneously verify that the email is legit and get a feel for the company’s customer relations. There’s nothing wrong with giving them a quick call about a potential scam and you may even be doing them a favor by bringing it to their attention.
Fake Social Media Posts
As a general rule of investing, never trust offers that come from social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Anyone can make a social media account under whatever name they wish as long as they have an email address to connect the account to. Accounts that advertise seemingly impossible results are even more suspicious, as these offers are designed to grab unsuspecting victims with enticing words and numbers.
A fake account doesn’t even need a real human to run it, as impersonating bots have been running rampant on social media sites. These bots make posts that are just close enough to what you would expect from humans. With these similarities, you might not realize that an investment offer is fake. Don’t be fooled by other accounts commenting on or replying to an offer on a social media post, as they could also be fake accounts designed to draw you in.
Imposter Websites and Mobile Apps
Even when you’ve done your research and are following cryptocurrency investment tips from a trustworthy source, you may end up on a fake website or app. Just as scammers can create fake email addresses and logos that closely resemble legitimate ones, they can also build nearly identical websites. Cryptocurrency fraudsters are also known for creating fake links to payment portals. Always check that the URL is exactly the same, there is a small lock icon near the URL to indicate security, and that the site address has “https” at its beginning.
Scammers can also create fake apps that seem as if they belong to legitimate cryptocurrency companies. These apps can be for any type of smartphone, whether it’s Apple or Android. The most obvious signs that an app is fake is that the web copy for it in the app store is riddled with typos and that the colors of the branding are slightly off.
Over 15.4 million customers in the United States became victims of identity fraud in 2016. As technology advances, it’s likely that this number will only grow. You can keep your cryptocurrency investments and other personal assets out of this expanding statistic by practicing care and vigilance at all times.