If you use Bitcoin daily or just bought some time ago, you are already at greater risk of being targeted by scammers.
One of hodlers’ greatest fears is that they are going to be defrauded and lose their crypto holdings in some absurd way that could have been prevented.
And rightly so – since Bitcoin is a very rare and limited commodity, there is no shortage of scammers who dedicate their time to effectively stealing what you have, whatever it takes. And it’s not just about Bitcoin anymore as the Ethereum community is also ridiculed by mischievous people quite eagerly.
Although more often than not, most attempts to steal your money are easily identifiable, many have nonetheless been protected.
We have seen many different tactics that scammers try to use in our community or us, from poorly crafted and sometimes absurd phishing emails to copy-sophisticated but fake websites.
We are about to share some of these examples, so you also know what it looks like.
Bitcoin phishing scams in social media comments
The vast majority of scam activities we see are mostly consolidated on social media. In this case, Facebook stands out significantly as the platform is struggling to manage automated account creation tools and fighting fake account issues.
While reporting and blocking features help in a short space of time, scammers still find Facebook as one of the most attractive places to target unaware users.
How it works (usually):
1. A scammer or group of scammers creates a fake business account, trying to match CoinGate’s profile as closely as possible.
Such profiles can be easily viewed as they display several red flags as soon as you click on them (ie, zero followers, weird / incorrect spelling, bold timeline posts, etc.).
2. Scammer (s) also create several other fake accounts that try their best to impersonate real users.
3. The fake business account comes to CoinGate’s real Facebook page and starts posting lucrative but fake bargain details (ie, randomly transfer the amount to a specific address and get more money in return). This behavior is called phishing.
4. All other fake accounts assemble to praise the fake promotion, as each other’s comments and encourage outsiders to follow the lead and get involved.
In fact, scammers of the Twitter’s famous hack from July 2020, a very similar approach was used. But instead, they targeted and compromised 45 accounts, including celebrities like Elon Musk or Barack Obama, and started tweeting similar promotional messages that ended up being a bitcoin scam.
Fortunately, there has not been a single case of people falling for this type of fraud in our experience. On top of that, our team always responds quickly to dealing with such spam messages, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever see one.
Email phishing attempts
If a fraudster suspects you own crypto (though, not necessarily) and can get your email address, chances are you will receive an email like this one day (click to enlarge):
While such emails vary in content, in the end, they all try to achieve the same thing – extorting bitcoin out of the wallets of people prone to the disease by cheating them with lies, threats and false threats. But by doing a quick look at the bitcoin address, we find that this particular scammer was not successful with his phishing campaign.
Suppose you get a blackmail email like that. In that case, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are being targeted selectively – hackers tend to use email lists found on the Internet, leaked along with your passwords by some 3rds service party you used to in the past.
That’s why a slightly more sophisticated phishing email could contain one of your passwords which was revealed as “proof” that you were hacked (check here at any time your email address is compromised).
However, They can also contain malicious links or attachments, which you should never click on.
Fake bitcoin scam websites
In June 2019, we saw a site that was emerging as a new cryptocurrency exchange platform. However, it had the same company name, terms and conditions, links to our social media channels and many more red flags.
Like our trademark registered and protected under the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), it meant that the company had no right to operate under the same name, let alone use our social media presence as their own .
However, as the site continued to develop, the interface became more sophisticated and therefore credible, albeit in fact, fake. We took all the necessary measures at once to resolve the issue, but the website continued to run for a while, resulting in a few people taking the bait and expressing their anger on our company’s Trustpilot profile.
The trick was simple – a person creates an account, deposits BTC to a fake exchange and never has to withdraw it or do any other action.
Eventually, the website and all social media channels were torn down. The moral of the story is, always do your own due diligence before sending money to unverified services.
The least you can do is a simple Google check to determine the level of shadow. Or check out the website itself for unusual things that might indicate that it is a scam.
One way or another, caution, common sense and attention to detail may be all it takes to get around another bitcoin scam.
If you want to learn more about how to protect yourself and your crypto holdings online, jump in this article.
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