Not becoming a victim of Bitcoin fraud should be of paramount importance to you. This involves avoiding scam exchanges designed to steal from you. As Bitcoin grows in popularity, so will its value. This tends to bring out the worst of the worst in people. Here are some Bitcoin scams methods you should be aware of and try your very best avoid;
Fake Bitcoin Exchanges
One method of Bitcoin fraud is the fake Bitcoin exchanges. Often on social media, you’ll see a link saying something similar to “Buy Bitcoin for 15% under market value. Save big!” This is a trick to get you to visit and use their fake exchange.
If you visit any exchange site the very first thing you want to do is make sure it’s HTTPS secured. This means that the web traffic is encrypted and secured; if it’s just HTTP without the “S” that is a big red flag and means stay away.
Another red flag to look out for is fake exchanges that offer to sell Bitcoin for PayPal. On these sites, you’ll see a web form to enter your PayPal email and amount to sell. After submitting, you will be presented with a QR code to send your bitcoin to. But the money never gets to you.
Fake Bitcoin Wallet
Another Bitcoin fraud practiced in the bitcoin community is fake Bitcoin wallets. Spotting fake Bitcoin wallets is more difficult than spotting a fake Bitcoin exchange because wallets primarily are about storing Bitcoin and not buying or selling it. It has less to do with money than it does with the software you may use. Typically, fake Bitcoin wallets are just scams for malware to infect your machine in order to steal your passwords or private keys.
Just like with fake Bitcoin exchange sites, you should trust your instincts and look for red flags. Does the wallet site use HTTPS? Is the name of the wallet site trying to resemble another reputable Bitcoin wallet by impersonating it? Outside of the obvious, it may be hard to tell if a wallet is fake. A good practice is to ask your peers if someone has used the wallet before.
This is a very common Bitcoin fraud. Phishing is when someone tries to trick you into thinking they are a trusted company or website by having you visit a fake site.
Normally, phishers contact you through email or through a fake web advertisement. The end result is you go to their website by mistake and either get malware or lose your bitcoin through a fake sale.
With emails, you have to be careful. You may receive an email from a wallet or exchange you already use, either by coincidence or through past database hacks.
Best practice is to not click on any hyperlinks in an email or open attachments. Go directly to the website if you have to do business there. A common tactic is to make a hyperlink look real, but if you hover over it you will see the fake website URL.
With fake web advertisements, you have to be careful on the site you are visiting. This usually happens when searching the web for things like “Bitcoin wallet.” The top result could actually be an advert via Google for example but may end up being a fake Bitcoin wallet. Best practice is to not visit sponsored ad content in search results, and just manually type the real website address directly into your browser
Bitcoin Ponzi Schemes
Ponzi scams are promises from websites that you will “double your Bitcoin” overnight or some similar bizarre proposition. These sites may be difficult to spot, but they’re easy to figure out once you figure this out: the only way to double your money is to first send it to them.
Ponzi sites also normally have referral programs, so if you get others to sign up for the site by visiting your affiliate link, you may make a few cents. This is another red flag, as many times you will see on social media sharing links with referrals within the URL.
Cloud Mining Scams
This can be a bit tricky because not all cloud mining operations are scams. Some are totally legitimate, however many are scams.
For the uninformed, cloud mining is shared mining hashpower, where people pool their funds together to rent Bitcoin mining machines. In legitimate operations, this works and can be profitable. For scams, returns may be low or non-existent. As we’ve previously established, it’s best to trust your instincts and look for red flags.
Here is a few question you should ask when about to join a cloud mining pool. Does the site use HTTPS? Did you find the site from a referral link on social media? Does the cloud mining operation not give any insight into what pool they use to mine, or let you select the pool you want to direct your hashrate to?