When money is involved, cons will inevitably follow. The same holds true for cryptocurrency. Wormhole, a website for trading cryptocurrencies, had a $320 million hack in February 2022. The Federal Trade Commission found that, since 2021, bitcoin scammers had taken in excess of $1 billion.
One way to convert digital currency into fiat currency is to transfer it from a digital wallet to a bank account. For example, money earned while playing bitcoin poker exist outside of the realm of digital currency. Since it does not go via traditional financial institutions and instead relies on the blockchain for verification, it is more difficult to get your money back if you become a victim of theft.
While Bitcoin is a relatively new phenomenon, criminals are nonetheless employing tried-and-true techniques. Be aware of these widespread bitcoin frauds:
1. Dating app scams
Cryptocurrency scams are not uncommon in the world of online dating applications. These cons centre around online-only, long-distance relationships in which one person slowly wins the trust of the other. One party gradually persuades the other to make a monetary investment in crypto.
2. Social media cryptocurrency giveaway scams
Many social media posts that claim to give away bitcoins are actually scams. In certain cases, the scammers would use bogus celebrity profiles to promote the free stuff and entice victims in.
People who click on the giveaway link are led to a fake site that requires verification before they can claim the bitcoin prize. Payment into the account is part of the verification process.
This payment may be lost, or even worse, the victim may have their personal information and cryptocurrencies taken if they click on a shady link.
3. Bogus cryptocurrency trading platforms
Swindlers may entice victims with the promise of a lucrative cryptocurrency exchange, or even more bitcoin. However, the investor will not realise the transaction is a sham until after their money has been lost.
Use only trusted cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase, Crypto.com, and Cash App. Before inputting any personal information, it is a good idea to do some research and check industry sites for specifics on the exchange’s reputation and legitimacy.
4. Speculative bitcoin investment schemes
Swindlers who run Ponzi schemes with bitcoin approach potential victims by pretending to be “investment managers” with years of experience. So-called “investment managers” promise their victims they will make money on investments while boasting about making millions themselves by betting on bitcoin.
The fraudsters want money from the outset so they take the up-front payments and run without making any more money. Scammers may also try to get their hands on bitcoin by asking for personal information under the guise of making a deposit or transfer.
Another type of investment scam employs phoney celebrity endorsements. Scammers use actual images superimposed on fabricated social media profiles, advertisements, and news stories to trick their targets into thinking the celebrity endorses the investment and stands to win a lot of money.
These statements come from what appear to be reliable sources, including well-known companies like ABC and websites with official-looking logos. The endorsement, however, is completely bogus.