The 9 Worst Cryptocurrency Scams and How to Avoid Them

Harry Nicholls
Apr 1, 2018 · 23 min read
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Are you worried about being scammed out of your hard-earned cryptos? Concerned that a criminal is going to steal the coins right out of your wallet?

This article covers the 9 worst scams in the cryptocurrency world, how to spot them, and how to avoid them. Armed with this knowledge you can confidently go out into the crypto world and make your millions, without fear of it being stolen from under your nose.

Where there are complex financial products, there’s fraud. As Bitcoin becomes mainstream, more and more people are aware that there’s a lot of money to be made in cryptocurrencies. But most people aren’t experts, and fraudsters know this.

The mantra of the crypto-con artist is to, “Convince unassuming individuals that you can make them rich, then steal their money.” (Thanks for the line, Louise Matsakis, Wired). They know that they can evoke strong emotions in people through promises of fortunes and gold, and it’s the emotion that blinds people to the risks involved.

I don’t want you to lose your trading capital to any scams in the market, so pay attention! Here are the biggest scams going on right now.

Fake ICOs & Imposter ICOs

More than 8 out of every 10 ICOs are scams. If that isn’t a cause for concern, I don’t know what is.

This figure comes from a study by Satis Group LLC, an ICO advisory firm based in the US. They looked at the quality of ICOs with market capitalization over $50M, finding that 81% are scams, and only 8% of ICOs moved on to being actively traded on an exchange.

This means, less than 1 out of every 10 ICOs successfully completes funding and moves on to an exchange. One of the main reasons to invest in an ICO is to sell your tokens for a higher price at a later date, but if the token isn’t trading anywhere then it’s going to be near impossible to do that.

8 times out of 10, you lose the money you invested.

Satis Group defines a scam as:

“Any project that expressed availability of ICO investment (through a website publishing, ANN thread, or social media posting with a contribution address), did not have/had no intention of fulfilling project development duties with the funds, and/or was deemed by the community (message boards, website or other online information) to be a scam.”

I’m not surprised by the findings. It’s a topic that really gets my blood boiling. And that’s saying something! Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are rife with financial misconduct and outright fraud.

The basic premise of an ICO is this, the company creates Tokens (aka coins) and sells these to investors for some amount of cryptocurrency (often ETH). The investor can hold onto the coin in the hopes that it will rise and they can sell at a higher value. In some cases holding a coin actually allows you to obtain services from the company, but in many cases it offers no benefit other than the possibility of it’s value increasing.

But there’s not always a possibility that the price will rise. If the coin holds no value, i.e. you don’t get any income from the company for holding the token (like bonds and dividends), or you don’t have the right to future profits of the company (like stocks), or there’s no physical asset behind the token (like commodities), then what is it’s value? Nothing. People are buying tokens in the hope that they can sell it to someone else at a higher price, who also hopes they can buy it low, and sell it to someone else at a higher price, who also hopes that they can buy it low, and sell it to someone else at a higher price, who… Hang on a minute. Isn’t this called a bubble?

A bubble occurs when there’s “a surge in asset prices unwarranted by the fundamentals of the asset and driven by exuberant market behaviour” (Investopedia). Many of the tokens handed out in ICOs don’t have any fundamentals. There is no right to future profits, no dividend stream, the companies will not be buying back the tokens at a higher price, and they certainly won’t be giving any services in exchange for tokens. The world’s gone mad!

A company called Prodeum appeared on the scene late in January, 2018. Their white paper, all 12-pages of it, explained their plan to build an online database of fruits and vegetables. A few days later the company disappeared, leaving only a distasteful message on their website, “penis”. The individuals featured on Prodeum’s team page apparently were victims of identity theft, and have had no connection with the company. It’s not clear how much Prodeum raised over the few days that their ICO was active, but it looks like less than $1,000.

It seems all you need is a white paper, a few “experts”, and off you go. Launch your ICO and take unsuspecting people’s money for your business idea that has no use for a Token, and will be useless in a years time. If the company even makes it a year!

Here’s an ad for a particular company’s ICO. It should set alarm bells ringing in your head. And not the good kind.

Bold claims about value increase

The company wants you to invest “before the price doubles”. They can’t possibly know in advance that the price is going to double, they can hope, but not know.

I’m not saying this company is fraudulent. But I would think twice before investing in this ICO, because of this particular ad.

In fact, China and South Korea have both banned ICOs. Chinese authorities called ICOs, “illegal fundraising”, while the South Korean Financial Services Commission said that there would be “stern penalties” for any businesses or individuals conducting ICO-related business. If countries are banning the practice, there must be something to be said about the legality of ICOs.

Besides fake ICOs, you also have to look out for imposter ICOs! Criminals are known to mimic, or impersonate, a legitimate ICO in an attempt to steal your money. This happened to the messaging company Kik. Before Kik launched their ICO, a fake URL was posted on social media. The post stated that the Kik ICO had started 40 minutes early. There was huge demand for Kik’s ICO, so many people fell victim to the fake URL to the tune of 70.9 ETH (about $21,656.82 at the time).

Analysis by Chainalysis estimates that $225m was lost to fraudulent ICOs in the first 8 months of 2017. About 30,000 investors were affected. It’s a big problem in the industry.

To avoid being conned by fake or imposter ICOs, keep an eye out for these symptoms:

  • Unrealistic claims about price growth
  • Useless tokens
  • The company offers guaranteed, high returns
  • Unsolicited offers to invest in an ICO
  • Pressure to buy RIGHT NOW

Also, do the following:

  • Check the teams LinkedIn profiles — is this company listed?
  • Check industry sites like CoinDesk

If the team members don’t have the company listed, they may be victims of identity fraud. And if the company isn’t on CoinDesk, that’s another red flag.

Don’t lose your head. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Companies will attempt to manipulate your emotions by making promises they don’t intend to keep. Do your own research into any ICO you want to invest in, and you’ll be able to spot and avoid dodgy ones.

Would you rather spend an hour reading up on the company or lose $1,000?

That’s what I thought.

Phone Porting

August 2016. Medellin, Colombia. Jered Kenna fell victim to a phone porting attack and lost a significant amount of Bitcoin. He was working late into the night and received notifications that his passwords had been reset on 2 of his email addresses.

When Jered tried to reset the passwords himself, he found that the verification texts didn’t reach his phone. After speaking with T-Mobile, his phone provider, he found that his number had been transferred to another provider. A hacker had called T-Mobile, faked Jered’s identity, and had his phone number transferred to another provider. The hacker was now receiving all messages and calls to Jered’s number, enabling him to reset Jered’s passwords even though he had 2-factor authentication enabled.

The hackers locked Jered out of 30 of his accounts including 2 banks, PayPal, and (crucially) his Windows account. With access to Jered’s Windows account, and therefore his PC, they were able to steal a significant amount of Bitcoin from an encrypted hard-drive connected to the PC.

Jered said he was left with, “60 coins or something, which is nothing compared to — it’s a fraction.”

Even with seemingly advanced security, Kenna became a victim and suffered a substantial loss.

Hacking doesn’t always involve sitting in front of a computer writing code and running scripts in a terminal (as Hollywood would lead you to believe). It is often low-tech and simple, such as calling a mobile phone provider and pretending you’re someone else.

From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zack Weinersmith

How do you avoid this happening to you?

Firstly, turn off SMS authentication on any apps or services you use, and use Google Authenticator instead. Google Authenticator is not linked to your phone number. It’s an app that uses a Time-based One-time Password Algorithm (TOTP) and HMAC-based One-time Password Algorithm (HOTP), to generate a code that you enter along with your username and password.

This is like SMS-based 2-factor authentication, but much more secure. When you setup an app to use Google Authenticator, there’s a secret key that’s shared between the app and Google Authenticator. For a hacker to gain access to your account he or she must also know the secret shared key. And it’s much more difficult to obtain this key than to port your phone number.

Secondly, take full advantage of other security measures that the app or service offers, such as security questions. They provide another layer of security, and more information that the hacker must obtain before being able to reset your password and access your accounts. Don’t make it easy for them!

It doesn’t take much time or effort to setup Google Authenticator to work with your most important apps and services. It’s certainly worth the effort to secure your trading accounts, which will soon be brimming with Bitcoin you earned in the markets!

Hackers

Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash

Hacking is becoming a bigger and bigger problem as we rely more and more on technology in our businesses and lives. In no market is this more apparent than cryptocurrencies.

On June 13, 2011, Bitcoin Talk user, allinvain, wrote on the forum, “I am totally devastated today. I just woke up to see a very large chunk of my bitcoin balance gone.” Allinvain lost 25,000 bitcoins to hackers. The hackers managed to gain access to his PC, and move the bitcoins out of his wallet to their own bitcoin wallet address. As bitcoin transactions are irreversible, there was no way for allinvain to recover the stolen coins. That amount of bitcoins would be worth around $218M at today’s price.

You may have heard of Mt. Gox. The Japanese bitcoin exchange that was brought down by hackers in 2014. At the time it was the world’s leading bitcoin exchange. In February 2014, the exchanged announced that 850,000 bitcoins had gone missing, most likely stolen by hackers. This debacle still affects the bitcoin market today.

The bitcoins still held by Mt. Gox have appreciated from around $400 each to around $9000 today, allowing Mt. Gox to repay their creditors. The company’s trustees have been dumping bitcoin into the market, and may have caused some large price dips. They allegedly sold about $400m worth of bitcoin in between September 2017 and March 2018. Selling that amount of an asset has a significant impact on price, but let’s not get into that here. We’re here to protect your from the criminals of crypto world, not rail on Mt. Gox’s trustees.

The point is, hacking is a big issue and nobody is safe from hacking. Not individuals and not big exchanges. So how do you protect yourself from being hacked?

Firstly, don’t store your bitcoins in exchange wallets when you’re not trading. They’re a big target for hackers. All of those bitcoins in one place, who could resist? Store your bitcoins offline in a cold wallet. You can store your bitcoins on a USB drive or other external storage, on a paper wallet, on a bearer item (such as a physical coin), or use a purpose built offline Bitcoin hardware wallet. All of these methods allow you to receive money with the same ease as an online wallet, however it’s more difficult to transfer bitcoins out of these wallets. You actually have to physically have the cold wallet in order to send bitcoins.

This makes it much harder for hackers to steal your coins. However these methods are not foolproof, and have they’re own associated risks. For example, digital storage (USB, hard-drive, even Hardware wallets) could become corrupted, paper wallets can get wet and blur the printed data, and physical coins could be compromised before you even receive it if the manufacturer doesn’t have sufficient security protocols. These are a few of the associated risks that you’ll have to manage.

The point is, while these storage methods have their own unique risks, they’re much more secure than storing your bitcoins in an online wallet that any techno wizard can attempt to hack and access remotely.

The next layer of security involves creating new, unique emails for your trading accounts. If you use an email address purely for your trading accounts, and no other communication, it’s much less likely that hackers will obtain your email address. Therefore, they can’t access your account. It’s as simple as that.

Make sure to set strong passwords on your accounts. I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before, but protecting your trading account, which could hold thousands of bitcoins during trading hours, is more important than making securing your Facebook account where someone could post viral messages to your friends. Secure and unique passwords will lower your risk of being hacked. Seriously, use a password you don’t use anywhere else. That way if another service you use is compromised, you don’t have to worry that hackers might have the 1 password you use for everything.

This one is kind of hypocritical on my part, but worth talking about. Don’t talk about cryptocurrency publicly. And definitely don’t publish your trading account email addresses on social media. Once it’s out there, there’s no taking it back. If people become aware that you’re interested in cryptocurrencies then you become a target for hacking. You’re more likely to hold the bitcoins the hackers want, than your cousin Joe who posts pictures of cats pushing things off shelves all day.

I’m talking about cryptocurrencies, so I’m breaking my final rule. I’m doing it for a good reason, to educate you about the dangers of cryptocurrencies and how to protect yourself against them. And to teach you how to make huge profits in the market!

Pump and Dump

Now to a more traditional scam. Pumping and dumping. A classic.

The principle is this, a group of people buy an asset, whip up hype and frenzy around the asset, encouraging many others to buy the asset, and then the initiators sell their holdings before anyone else realizes what’s happening. Once people become aware, the market drops like a stone, and lots of people lose out.

These type of schemes are most likely to happen on small alt coins with low market capitalization. This allows the scammers to take a big enough slice of the market, and move the price significantly.

It’s believed that the latest Binance debacle was part of a pump and dump scheme. More on this below.

I recently discovered that there are in fact social media groups dedicated to pump and dump schemes. I kid you not!

They’re most prevalent on Discord and Telegram. A group will be created looking something like the image below.

The Alt Pump, pump and dump group on Discord

Groups don’t usually start pumping until they reach at least 2,000 members. The group owners will publish the name of a coin to pump, along with a target price, then it’s every man and woman for him- or herself!

Pump signal on Discord

The owners often charge a fee for joining the group, and have different ranks of membership depending on how much you pay, or how many other people you recruit to the group. The higher rank a person is, the sooner they get notified of the coin name and target price. Generally the first people in to a pump and dump scheme will do the best, as they buy at the lowest point, so stand to make more money.

Rank system info for a pump and dump group on Discord

Seems like a good idea to be part of one of the groups, eh? Easy money! Well, not exactly. The hysteria and chaos that occurs during a pump leads to 90% of participants losing money when the price drops. The market might not reach the target price, as the early buyers start dumping early to secure profits. So the latecomers get stung with high prices and can’t get out before the market drops back down.

Trading is a zero-sum game. This means that somebody always has to be on the other side of your trade. Buyers need sellers, and sellers need buyers. Prices rise when buyers are willing to pay more for an asset, often due to a lack of sellers at lower prices. Prices fall when sellers are willing to accept lower prices for an asset, which can be due to a lack of buyers at higher prices. So after prices spike during the pump, early participants start to sell to latecomers. Then as fewer buyers enter the market (because of the inflated price), sellers have to accept lower and lower prices, causing the price to crash down to the pre-pump level or even lower, where there are genuine buyers.

How to avoid pump and dump schemes? Just don’t join them. They make promises about how much money you’ll make, but more likely than not you’ll lose out and be left holding the bag.

The thing is, there’s no such thing as easy money in the markets. There’s always a price to pay, there’s always a risk. Great traders know how to use this to their advantage and swing the odds in their favour.

Ponzi Schemes

Do you remember Bernie Madoff? He was arrested in 2008 and charged with securities fraud, investment advisor fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, false statements, perjury, making false filings with the SEC, and theft from an employee benefit plan. A very busy boy. In 2009, Madoff admitted that he’d turned his investment management company, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, into a Ponzi scheme worth approximately $64.8 billion. Yes that’s a “b”.

Madoff’s scheme followed the basic principle of all Ponzi schemes. Persuade people to invest by offering a consistent, above-average rate of return. Use funds from new investors to pay old investors. No actual investment takes place, money is just moved form one investor to another.

People running Ponzi schemes are focused on marketing, and bringing in new victims. When the new money runs out, the scheme can’t pay old investors, and it collapses!

Companies are using these old tactics in the cryptocurrency markets. Again preying on people’s desires and emotions, promising to make them rich with no effort.

In India, a company called OneCoin marketed investments with guaranteed rates of return and no risk. Alarm bells should be going off in your head. Here’s their marketing material.

OneCoin marketing material

I highlighted the sections that should have put potential investors guard up. “NO RISK”, “earn some BTC fast”, these are statements aimed to get you excited. They’re designed to make you think of the possibilities of being rich, and what you could do with all the money OneCoin will make for you. But there’s no basis to these claims. They’re straight up lies.

The table of “guaranteed” profits should also make you wary. Nobody can guarantee returns in any market. That’s a fact. Any company that claims they can, should be avoided entirely.

The third item I want to draw your attention to is the little spiel about typing the address into your browser. This is a very unusual request. Why would you need to type a legitimate company’s URL into your browser? Why wouldn’t they want bots crawling their website? Are they hiding something? Yes they are! They’re running a Ponzi scheme!

In spring 2017, Indian financial enforcement officers raided a OneCoin sales meeting. They eventually jailed 18 OneCoin representatives and at the time it looked like OneCoin had already moved $350 million through a payment processor.

Trendon T. Shavers setup the Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) and defrauded investors of their hard-earned cash between September 2011 and September 2012. Shavers offered a bitcoin investment scheme with a return of up to 7% weekly. He actually used investors money to pay other investors their “interest”, fund his own day trading account, and pay for his personal expenses. Shavers ended up conning people to the tune of 700,000 Bitcoin, worth around $4.5 million at the time, which is almost $6.5 billion today!

Spotting Ponzi Schemes 101

Look for:

  • Upselling
  • Bold claims about returns
  • Claims of “no risk”
  • Anything that seems too good to be true

Take a look at the OneCoin marketing material again. They tick all the boxes.

Are you seeing a trend yet? Criminals in the financial markets look to turn your hopes and dreams in to tools they can use to take your money.

Dodgy Exchanges

Next on my hit list is dodgy exchanges. These guys are out to steal your money, plain and simple.

Earlier this year, the founder of BitFunder, Jon Montroll (aka “Ukyo”) was charged by the SEC with “operating an unregistered securities exchange and defrauding users of that exchange”. This exchange was a bitcoin-denominated market for stocks of bitcoin-related companies. The company was the victim of a hack and lost around 6,000 bitcoins, which Montroll failed to disclose to investors. The SEC also claim that Montroll embezzled funds from the exchange. The exchange actually closed it’s doors in 2013, but not before the stocks crashed as investors scrambled to withdraw their money.

The Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) published a list of sites that they’ve received complaints about. I investigated a couple of the names on the list, Ether Invest and Capital-Coins. Both websites seem very suspicious. Ether Invest focuses heavily on how much the price of Ether has changed, “Already +3000% since january 2017” and “Ether is growing 500% every year”. Appealing to your emotions, telling you that you’re missing out on something big!

They also claim that “Thanks to Blockchain mechanism … the system is unassailable, unfalsifiable, and absolutely independent from any incident that can occur on a global scale.” This is just not true. We don’t know yet what will happen to the cryptocurrency markets in the face of a stock market crash, or an economic or financial crisis. There will be an effect, that’s for sure, but nobody can predict which way it’ll go.

Another flag from Ether Invest is the claim that they have, “NO TRADE FEE, NO OPENING FEE, NO WIN / NO FEE” so how do they make money?! It all seems a bit strange to me. I’d advise to you avoid all websites making these kind of claims. I doubt you’d ever see your money again.

The thing about Capital-Coins is, their “Regulation and License” page. This page has been copied (ironically) from the popular copy-trading platform, eToro.

Extract from eToro’s Regulation & License page
Extract from Capital-Coins’ Regulation & License page

What’s more is that cryptocurrencies are not regulated yet. Capital-Coins claims to be based in the UK, and there are no regulatory requirements for exchanges in Europe right now, so their words are not worth the pixels they’re made from.

Extract from eToro’s Regulation & License page
Extract from Capital-Coins’ Regulation & License page

The company states that they’re based at One Canada Square Canary Wharf E14 5AB London, United Kingdom. Right in the heart of the British banking industry. But the map on their website doesn’t show this location. This is where the pin is located:

Capital-Coin’s office location apparently…

Capital-Coins terms and conditions state that they’re, “Registered in the RCS of London.” A quick Google search for “RCS of London” returns a chauffeur company based in London, and the Royal College of Surgeons. I don’t think either of these have any authority to “register” cryptocurrency trading platforms.

It doesn’t help that their registered name, Capital Coins (UK) Ltd., can’t be found in the Companies House registry, where all UK companies are registered. And neither can the Bulgarian company, Finbg Ltd., listed in the Legal Notice at the bottom of the T&Cs page.

Capital Coins “Registered Name” doesn’t exist

All of these things are red flags and should be setting of alarm bells. Make sure you do your own research before signing up to any cryptocurrency market. I don’t want you to lose your trading money to any fraudsters!

Coin Doesn’t Exist

Another classic scam involves cold-calling. You get a phone call, out-of-the-blue, from some guy who says he’s from Scamumor Investment Management Ltd. Asks if you’ve heard about Bitcoin, and focuses on telling you about the amazing profits you can make with cryptocurrencies. How much they’ve gained over the last year etc. Then he makes you an offer, invest $5,000 into CraptoCoin, and you’ll be a millionaire by Christmas. The problem is you have to invest right now on the phone, you have to get into the market now! Otherwise all hope is lost. What do you do?

Fortunately, this is an offer you CAN refuse. This guy ain’t no Marlon Brando.

Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone in The Godfather

In 2017, The City of London Police shut down a “cryptocurrency boiler room” set up just around the corner from the Bank of England. The group had defrauded investors of £160,000 through cold-calling people and trying to sell them non-existent cryptocurrencies. Police stated, “Victims were cold called by salespeople who allegedly persuaded them to invest in a cryptocurrency that does not exist and is therefore worthless.”

The criminals will often setup, or appear to be setup, in a location that is renowned for financial services, such as the City of London or Canary Wharf. To add some authenticity to their operation, even though nothing they’re doing is authentic.

The Times of Israel got their hands on a cold-calling script, reportedly provided by an ex-employee of a cold-calling company. You can see the signs of a scam in the script — focusing on profits and gains, some talk about “guaranteed” returns, and no mention of the risks involved.

As the name suggests, these calls will be unsolicited. If you didn’t arrange the meeting, or haven’t had any prior contact with the company in question, then have your guard up. If the deal is so good why do they have to call random people? Surely al the financial pros would be lining up to get a piece of the action?

Look out for aggressive sales tactics and an urgency to invest RIGHT NOW. Medium- to long-term investment opportunities don’t just evaporate overnight. If the opportunity really was as good as they say, then you’d have some time to get in to the market.

Putting pressure on you is another way of tapping into your emotions. The salesperson tells you about an amazing deal, and invokes images in your brain of Ferraris, ski chalets in the Alps, and gold-plated cutlery. Maybe that’s just my fantasy… Anyway! The point is, the salesperson invokes strong emotions from you, and then tells you there’s only a limited time to achieve your dreams, compounding your emotions, adding pressure in to the mix. This can whip people up into hysteria.

But you’re a logical trader. You know that trades done purely from other people’s advice, or by impulse, will not end well. Fight the urge to give in to the criminal on the other end of the phone, because they’re just going to run away with your money anyway! It’s all a ruse, a charade, to blind you from the truth about their game.

Professional, legitimate businesses do not use the kind of strategies listed here to attract customers. I’ll admit that they do manipulate your emotions and put pressure on you by offering time-limited offers, but what I’m saying is they won’t call you up out-of-the-blue to sell you CrockOCoin.

Put the phone down. Block the number. Burn your SIM card. Okay that’s a bit much, but you get the point. Question why this person (that you don’t know) would call YOU and offer YOU such an amazing opportunity.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, this is especially true in the markets.

Phishing Scams

Phishing is something you’re probably already aware of. Weird looking emails or text messages from banks you don’t have accounts with, telling you there’s a tax refund to claim or some other nonsense.

They’re a plague in the cryptocurrency world.

There are many different aspects to target. For one, criminals can set up fake wallet services with a URL similar to a respected wallet service, e.g. block-clain.info vs. blockchain.info. They impersonate the real service in order to gain your login credentials and security phrases. Then they login to your real account and drain it.

The recent Binance attack is a good example of phishing. Criminals set up a fake Binance site with a slightly different URL (see image below). It’s incredibly difficult to tell the difference between the real URL and this fake one. The “n”s in the URL have a small dot underneath, so they’re a different character and a completely different domain name to the real Binance site. Honestly, I might’ve thought it was a bit of dust on my screen!

From Games_sans_frontiers via /r/CryptoCurrency

Victims logged in to the fake Binance site, and were redirected to the real Binance site. They had no idea that criminals had just stolen their credentials! The criminals the proceeded to sell Bitcoins for an alt coin, ViaCoin, in what looks like an attempted pump and dump scheme.

To protect yourself from phishing attacks, look out for dodgy domain names. Make sure you’re on the real domain of the service you’re using. The differences can be very slight, so be aware!

Generally, the phishing site will not be secure. That is, the URL will start with “http://“ not “https://“. The legitimate sites will start with the latter and there’ll be a “Secure” message or icon in your browser’s address bar.

From HeizenBook via /r/Bitcoin

Notice the difference between the fake URL (pink) and the legitimate URL (green). The fake one doesn’t start with “https” and has strange characters in it.

However, some hackers have been able to overcome this issue, as demonstrated in the Binance attack.

The phishing sites will look exactly the same as the legitimate site, the URL is the only noticeable difference, so keep your eyes peeled!

Other things may alert you too, if you save your passwords and your browser autocompletes them, then you can expect that they’re not autocompleted on the phishing site, but are on the legitimate site. Take a second before typing in your details.

I’d say this is the most difficult type of scam to identify, because of the subtle differences. But the differences are there and you can protect yourself.


There’s a lot to contend with out there in the crypto world!

The best defence against these criminals is education. Educate yourself in their tactics, so you can spot and avoid them. If an email, website, or phone call has your emotions running high, dreaming of champagne bubble baths, then slow down! Take a step back from whatever it was that triggered this and think through the offer calmly and logically.

The best advice is, anything that’s too good to be true probably is. Yeah, your brain will wish that it wasn’t, and there’ll be a sliver of hope that it’s legitimate, but you know deep down that the offer is way too good to be true. It can’t possibly be, otherwise everyone else would be doing it, right?

If you’re unsure about an investment then don’t do it. Wait, sleep on it, if somebody is pressuring you then hang up the phone, end the conversation, walk away, block their email. You have to trust your own judgment. Don’t let anyone else pressure you into doing a trade you’re not comfortable with. Great traders blaze their own trail.

Stay safe out there! It’s a 21st Century Wild West.


If this article was helpful or interesting, please hit the clap button 👏 and feel free to share it, because someone you know might find it useful.

Harry Nicholls

Written by

Software Developer @ Rangle.io.

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