If you receive a call or email stating that you can get rich quick with bitcoins, then hang up or delete the mail as quickly as you can. If it’s probably too good to be true, then it isn’t true.
Scams with digital currencies are becoming more and more common, and hence it’s essential to stay vigilant and protect yourself from schemes of scammers. It’s not just the naive and gullible who fall prey to scammers. Even, Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder reported that he unknowingly lost around $70,000 in a bitcoin scheme.
I would like to illustrate scams with the best example – HoweyCoins.
I urge you to click on this site – https://www.howeycoins.com/
When you land on this site, a page pops up saying that you’ve just a few hours left to stake your claim in the biggest ICO offering of the year. What more, HoweyCoins will partner with major airlines, hotels, car rentals and much more. And, you can exchange HoweyCoins at any of these retail partners. And, the cherry on top, HoweyCoins are registered with the US Government and will trade only on SEC compliant exchanges.
Everything seems genuine. There is a detailed white paper with complete information about the team. The white paper is quite complicated and looks like sufficient research has been done on it. And, the countdown clock makes you hurry and gives you the urgency that you’re missing out on the investment opportunity of a lifetime.
Doesn’t it look a bit tempting? Wondering if you can benefit from this Initial Coin Offering?
The only glitch – there’s no such things as HoweyCoins. It’s all an elaborate scam set up by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) to create awareness among investors about the potential dangers of cryptocurrency investment scams.
So, now that you’ve understood that, “Not all that glitters is gold,” here are a few tips to protect yourself from scams.
Red Flags to Watch for while Considering Cryptocurrency Scams
- High, Guaranteed Returns
Remember that all investments come with certain degrees of risk. There’s nothing like a sure-shot investment that gives you guaranteed returns. If you choose investments with high returns, then it means that you’re taking high risks, which involves losing your entire investments.
If you come across a scheme that states you can get guaranteed, high returns then it’s time to turn your alert antennae.
Remember that there are no investments that give you guaranteed, high returns.
- Celebrity Endorsements
Earlier, celebrities were seen endorsing regular commercial products from toothpaste to luxurious diamond necklaces. Today, you may come across your favourite celebrity promoting a particular cryptocurrency investment. Just because you see a celebrity endorsing an ICO or other schemes, it doesn’t mean that it’s legitimate and scam-free.
Remember that before you invest in any scheme, you have to do your research, check around and come to the right conclusion, without being influenced by celebrity endorsements.
- False Regulatory Compliance
Very often, online trading platforms claim that they are Regulatory -registered when it isn’t the case. Also, few platforms go to the extent of naming themselves as “exchanges.” This gives investors the false impression that they are regulated and meet the standards set by the Regulatory.
When you come across a scheme claiming to be Regulatory compliant, do your homework and double check if that’s really the case.
- No Solid Information about the Coin or the Team
This is another red flag to look out for. Try however you might, you’re unable to get reliable information about the coin or the team behind it, the name of the parent company or an exact physical address for the company’s headquarters and so on.
Also, if you find that the coin only appreciates in value daily, then you can be pretty sure that you’ve got a scam coin on your hands. One of the fundamental characteristics of digital currencies is their volatility. There is no coin that keeps on increasing in value.
- Pump and Dump
This is the most classic of all investment scams. In this scheme, scammers generally create a false sense of urgency. They pump misleading information among investors, thereby increasing the prices of a stock. They then cause the prices to fall, by dumping their similar shares in the market at the inflated price.
Once the scammers have sold all their stocks, they stop spreading misinformation about it. Then the stock prices fall down, and investors are in for a massive shock.
Remember that it doesn’t pay to get panicky in the digital currency market. Trust your instincts and do what your guts tell you.
- Rogue Bitcoin Exchanges
You may have come across ads on social networks stating that you can buy bitcoins, Ethereum, ripple, and other digital currencies at super cheap prices. Beware, as you may be lured into visiting a rogue cryptocurrency exchange.
The easiest way to spot a fake site is by checking its URL. If it doesn’t start with HTTPS (the S is missing), then it’s time to backtrack quickly.
Another way rogue bitcoin exchanges trick investors is by hacking PayPal accounts when users enter their account details. Remember that rogue bitcoin exchanges come and go. They shut shop and quickly begin operations from another name.
- Phony Bitcoin Wallets
This one is difficult to spot. The primary purpose of a bitcoin wallet or any other digital wallet is to store your digital assets. You don’t use it for trading. The aim of this scam isn’t to steal your digital currencies or make money. Instead, it installs malware like Trojans on to your system, which further opens the door for data phishing.
As mentioned above, always transact only on sites with HTTPS. Also, before trying out a new digital wallet, it pays to check out genuine reviews online.
Apart from these, there are plenty of scams out there like Ponzi schemes, cloud mining scams, news chit fund scam and several more.
Ultimately, the responsibility lies on your shoulders. Be vigilant and avoid schemes that sound too good to be true. Have you come across any other scams? Let us know in the comments below.