There are countless rackets and swindles in the midst of cryptomania, and everyone should be extremely cautious. Because many Bitcoin investors became millionaires after buying the crypto in the 2010s, the world took notice, and it created an opportunity for scammers to get on board.
The following was excerpted from PCMag.com's SecurityWatch to help people avoid future scams. See crypto glossary
1. Do Your Research
It can be hard to ignore advice from online influencers, but do your own research before investing. Start with PCMag's guide to buying, selling, and managing Bitcoin. Do not take information online at face value. If an investment sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam.
2. Don't Trust Everyone
Treat anyone who contacts you directly and asks for payments in cryptocurrency or offers you an investment opportunity regarding crypto with extreme caution. Do not trust emails even if they appear to be from government officials, public figures or anyone who asks you to pay for anything using crypto.
3. Secure Your Crypto Wallet
You may have heard stories about people who lost at least a few bitcoins due to losing control of their virtual wallets. If you own cryptocurrencies, never share your private key or seed phrase with anyone. Store that information offline.
4. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Use multi-factor authentication on your wallet to try to keep the bad guys out. It is not a sure-fire solution, but it gives people a fighting chance against many attackers.
5. Check That URL
Look carefully at the URL for the crypto websites you visit. Phishing scammers copy the URL of legitimate sites and swap out letters or numbers. Be sure the site is secure, so look for the little lock symbol next to the URL (see HTTPS
). Remember to turn on your antivirus software. The best AV we've tested looks out for phishing scams and also blocks malicious URLs.
6. Reject Fee Offers
You may see crypto offers that require an up-front fee. Reject them all, and especially avoid "offers" involving a fee to be paid in cryptocurrency. Many investment opportunities in the crypto realm are scams. Before investing anything, check the company's website to find out how they protect their customers and look for reviews from other investors.
A Scam that Created a Netflix Documentary
The Most Outrageous
In 2022, Netflix released this documentary about a Canadian crypto exchange where investors lost $200 million in bitcoins (see QuadrigaCX
). (Image courtesy of Netflix.)
Based on her OneCoin cryptocurrency, Ruja Ignatova's Ponzi scheme defrauded investors out of four billion dollars. See OneCoin