And How to Protect Yourself

The cryptocurrency industry seems to be overgrown with all sorts of rumors and some of those are not ones with happy endings. Forums, news and educational websites, different guidelines, and social media are full of articles about people who got scammed, describing the scammer’s tactics and red flags one should notice right away. And if you’ve already joined a couple of crypto groups in Telegram, chances are that you have been approached by some shady people on multiple occasions.

Although we’ve mentioned some of the unfortunate participants of the crypto scam business earlier, we have never compiled a full list of things to stay away from. And even if you’re no longer a newbie, you might still want to continue reading as every time you think you know every trick in the book, scammers pull some new ones out of their sleeves.

The Most Common Scam Techniques

Phishing

Phishing is a commonly used way to get your personal info such as passwords and login details and later use it to lay hands on your money. Scammers create a website identical to a popular wallet or exchange and send you an email with a link to this website. This email can be just about anything from offering free coins from your favorite exchange or some regular info with the latest updates — the goal is just to catch your attention and make you click on that link. If you’re not attentive enough you won’t notice their hidden agenda, click on the link, and give away your login details thinking that you are signing in to your account.

Scammers can also use fake Facebook pages or introduce them as a support team in chats in order to get in touch with you and fool you into giving away the info they need.

How to protect yourself:

  1. Always check the URLs, make sure it’s all written correctly. Or simply add your frequently used exchanges and wallet to the bookmarks and only use them to access your account.
  2. Don’t click on everything you are offered to click at just for the sake of it.
  3. Never ever share your private keys.

Dodgy wallets and exchanges

Not all fake exchanges and wallets can be spotted immediately. Nowadays, it’s not unusual to bump into a scam website that looks completely legit and very professional. Some of the apps even made it to the Google store. They usually offer some great deals or announce some special offers in order to attract clients and suddenly disappear after you transfer the assets to their accounts. As an alternative to vanishing with all your money, the shady exchange or wallet might ask for an extremely high withdrawal fee.

How to protect yourself:

  1. Always do your research before you start using new platforms. If you do not trust your detective skills, websites like cryptocompare.com can provide you with basic info on the majority of legit crypto wallets and exchanges together with users’ reviews.
  2. If the exchange deal looks too good to be true, that’s probably ’cause it is. Ignore such offers.
  3. Never ever share your personal info with strangers!
  4. Use Lumi Wallet and be the only master of your private keys! Ok, we might not be objective here, but one thing is certain: your funds are safe with us.

Infamous ICOs

The last couple of years have taught crypto investors to be calm and reasonable. Not every project that uses words like ‘unique decentralized ecosystem’ actually has a real-life product they are ready to show. In fact, most ICO projects do not even have a MVP (minimum viable product, which is basically some lines of code to prove they’ve actually done some work already). Moreover, some reports have showed that in 2017 80% of all ICOs turned out to be nothing more than just a regular scam. We’ve all heard the sad stories about people investing in all sorts of promising projects and ending up losing everything as the team mysteriously disappears after collecting a certain amount of money. Although in 2019 it is not the easiest way to trick crypto enthusiasts as we’ve all matured and don’t trust so easily anymore, keep in mind some basic advice if you plan on investing wisely.

How to protect yourself:

  1. Read and research. The whitepaper should be original, the team should be real, and, in an ideal world, the MVP should be out there on GitHub. Oh, and don’t forget about the legitimate token economy, the roadmap, and proper English. It won’t guarantee you’ll be able to get your profits at the end of the day, as there is always a risk, but it will definitely teach you how to protect yourself and spend your money wisely.
  2. Think twice before investing. Make a decision and think again. Don’t be afraid to contact the team and ask questions.

Ponzi schemes

Pyramid and Ponzi schemes are probably as old as money itself. There is always some “charming smart guy” who appears out of nowhere with an exciting investment opportunity and promises to multiply your investments and basically make you a millionaire overnight. The early investors get the promised payouts but those payouts are sponsored by the funds that were received from later investors. That may last for a while: the happy investors will spread the word about the project and attract more and more participants but eventually, the pyramid will crash anyway. The initiator runs off with the money or at least tries to. Everyone’s pissed off and can’t understand how this could have happened to them.

How to protect yourself:

  1. Never lose your common sense: unrealistic profit offers always come from scammers
  2. Do not engage in activities that require you to encourage others to invest into something

Pump & Dump

‘Pump and dump’ is one of the most popular manipulation schemes in the crypto trading industry. Usually, the necessary information is shared on a Telegram group (or any other chat group) with an impressing amount of members. Those groups are available in every language you can think of. The goal is to engage numerous people to buy a certain altcoin with a smaller market cap in order to drive up the price of the coin and then sell it straight away when the price rises. Notice, that this should be also done at a particular time and there’s a big chance you’ll miss it.

Security markets have already made this practice illegal, by the way.

How to protect yourself:

  1. Stay away from such groups, this is not how you want to make money
  2. If some unknown coin makes an unusual take-off, take your time to watch what’s gonna happen (it will probably fall down as fast as it’s risen)
  3. Do not trust everything you read on social media

Other Trespassers

The laziest scammers can simply create a fake social media account of some famous figure in the crypto sphere or a popular influencer and then ask you to send them your coins for whatever reasons. This may sound silly, but they can be pretty persuasive and some people (we’re sure that’s not you though) are extremely naive.

Earlier we also mentioned cloud mining projects that invite you to participate in mining activities without the hard work of buying and maintaining the equipment and simply rent the computing power. Although there might be a few legitimate companies who do this, the majority of this market doesn’t look very bright. If there is no compelling need to use such services, we recommend staying away from them for your own safety.

All sorts of malware can potentially do a lot of harm to your device from stealing access to your wallet to installing a mining client. Make sure your antivirus is always up-to-date!

Conclusion

The universal advice we can give is to not trust strangers and double-check all the info that you receive before engaging in any activity, especially if this activity is related to crypto. The scammers are not going anywhere and as long as money is involved you have to be very careful. If you are new to crypto, it is safer not to take a risk and spend a few months watching others and doing your own research.

And if you need a safe wallet and easy exchange for the most popular coins and the majority of the tokens that are circulating in today’s market, we recommend giving Lumi Wallet a try. It is a very simple and safe way to manage your digital assets, especially if you’re only beginning your crypto journey. Our team can be easily reached on our Telegram Chat in case you have doubts, questions or suggestions. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Reddit for more useful info.

Stay safe and don’t give your private keys to strangers!