What are the telltale signs of a Bitcoin scam? The invention of scams probably came soon after the invention of money. Every time monetary mechanisms receive an upgrade, hackers upgrade their scamming tactics. In this era of cryptocurrencies, scammers have an advantage of operating from anywhere. Bitcoin, in particular, is a major point of interest for these criminals for a number of reasons.
Bitcoin Has Become a Weapon of Choice for Online Scammers
As we have mentioned above, scammers are particularly interested in Bitcoin due to a variety of reasons.
Since Bitcoin is based on anonymity to a large extent, it is very easy to pilfer. There is no way of tracking what happened to the money once it has been transferred. So scammers have been adept at using it.
Despite a lot of people investing in Bitcoin, most of us still don’t know the particulars of how it works. This is a major problem and scammers have long been able to con people through simple tactics.
Lack of Regulation
As Bitcoin is largely unregulated, scammers have found many ways of stealing cryptocurrency without breaking any laws. This also means that any such crime is seldom reported and even few of them are legally actionable.
Despite these factors, Bitcoin’s popularity has not dwindled. Also, since it has such a good investment potential, there are chances that the government will soon establish regulatory laws. But until that time, it is up to every Bitcoin user to protect their investment. Thankfully, it does not take a whole lot of technical knowledge to get this done.
How to Spot Fake Bitcoin Exchanges?
On social media, you might have seen posts telling you to buy Bitcoins at a price lower than the market value. This is one of the most prominent marketing tactics of scammers. You’d be surprised just how many people have fallen for it.
But there is an easy way to spot the fakes. The first thing that you must do when you visit an exchange is to ensure it has HTTPS in its web address. If the exchange has only an HTTP behind its address, chances are that it is a scam.
One more way to spot a scam is by checking their exchange method. Most scams offer to trade Bitcoin for PayPal. If you go through it, you will be given a web form to fill up with your PayPal details. Once you submit that, they will give you a QR code by which you will get your Bitcoin. However, the money will never be sent.
In case you’re a looking for a legitimate Bitcoin exchange, check this list out.
How to Recognize Fake Bitcoin Wallets
When it comes to Bitcoin wallets, you will have to put more effort to find the legit ones. The reason for this is that they are just meant for storing your Bitcoin and not trading. So the operative factor here is the software used and not the amount. Usually, the fake wallets inject malware into your device. This malware then proceeds to copy your passwords and other particulars.
Here again, you need to be sure that a wallet is real before transacting with it. Ideally, the web address of the wallet should have the HTTPS stamp. You might also want to look more closely at the address itself. If it seems uncannily similar to another prominent wallet, stay away from it. Other than these two, spotting fake wallets is challenging. A simple way to get over the issue is to ask about it on a forum and wait for the reply. You can also check it for malware using services like VirusTotal.
How to Spot Phishing Scams
These are your garden-variety scams found all over the Internet. Spotting them is easy but a lot of people still fall for them. Normally, phishing scams are done through email. You get a link leading to a site and once there, you either get a malware or lose your Bitcoins. The latter usually happens when the scammers post a fake sale.
You should never open suspicious links. It is possible that scammers got your email from other hackers and are now trying to con you. That is why it is best to avoid these emails altogether and report them immediately.
How to Spot Man-in-the-Middle Attacks?
MITM attacks involve changing destinations of any kind of data transfer including money. To do it, hackers get in the middle of the transactions and reroute them somewhere else. If you try to make a Bitcoin deposit, a MITM attack can leave all parties stranded. They do it by injecting malware or through shared Wi-Fi.
How to Prevent a Bitcoin Scam
The best way to avoid a cryptocurrency scam is by using a VPN. Through the end-to-end encryption of a VPN, you can be sure that your data cannot be intercepted. Even after you have secured your device and taken other precautions, your money could be at risk:
- When you are using a public Wi-Fi. Make sure you never reveal that you use Bitcoin when in public places like coffee shops. You never know who might try to con you.
- When you aren’t using a VPN. Hackers that are snooping on you can easily intercept your data if you’re not using a VPN.
In both these cases, revealing your activity is like asking to be robbed. Above all else, it is important to use anonymity tools that can mask your identity and your actions completely.
Telltale Signs of a Bitcoin Scam – How to Be Safe
Unfortunately, there is no single solution to prevent a Bitcoin scam. However, if you are diligent, you can build yourself a digital fortress where nothing can harm your Bitcoin investment. Here are some tips to help you do that:
- Avoid unsolicited emails.
- Always use the latest software and install all updates as they arrive.
- Know about the latest ransomware.
- Only keep hard to guess passwords and two-factor authentication where available.
- Get a good VPN.
The last one is particularly important as it encrypts everything you do. Even if a hacker gains access to your system, they won’t be able to do anything if you send your data through a VPN. Most importantly, a VPN will give you true anonymity and enable risk-free trading. So consider going for a reliable VPN and beefing up your cybersecurity.