Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses cryptography to secure transactions. Since its existence, cryptocurrency has been a game changer for electronic payments. Crypto payments do not require regulators to verify payment transactions. People from different regions can send and receive money within seconds. However, the exceptional ease of transacting with cryptocurrency has been a tool for many scammers. Although cryptocurrency is not yet a widely accepted payment method, reports over the years show that many have fallen victim to crypto scams. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), cryptocurrency scammers have stolen over $1 billion since 2021. Here is an article on common cryptocurrency scams, how to spot them, and how to protect yourself from cryptocurrency scams.
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Common cryptocurrency scams
- Phishing Scams: Phishing scams often target personal details relating to online wallets. This involves scammers sending emails with malicious links to a fake website specially built to gather personal details, such as wallet private key information. When scammers have all the information needed, they can steal all the money in the targeted wallet.
- Fake Investments and Giveaways: These include fake crypto investments and opportunities with unrealistic gains. Scammers send enticing messages to people on social media with promises of doubling their capital within a short period. Scams can also come in form of giveaways where fraudsters promise to give you free money for completing a simple task.
- Blackmail and Extortion Scams: Another popular method is sending blackmail emails by scammers or hackers. In such emails, scammers claim to have records of adult websites or any illicit web page visited by the user and threaten to expose them unless they send cryptocurrency.
The threats in these scams are almost always fake but try to sound legitimate to scare the recipient into making a quick decision to give up their money.
Example of an extortion scam
Below is a message received via email sent by a scammer threatening to reveal information unless cryptocurrency payments are made.
Unfortunately, I have some unpleasant news for you.
Roughly several months ago I have managed to get a complete access to all devices that you use to browse internet.
Afterwards, I have proceeded with monitoring all internet activities of yours.
You can check out the sequence of events summarize below:
Previously I have bought from hackers a special access to various email accounts (currently, it is rather a straightforward thing that can be done online).
Clearly, I could effortlessly log in to your email account as well (email@example.com).
One week after that, I proceeded with installing a Trojan virus in Operating Systems of all your devices, which are used by you to login to your email.
Actually, that was rather a simple thing to do (because you have opened a few links from your inbox emails previously).
Genius is in simplicity. ( ~_~)
Thanks to that software I can get access to all controllers inside your devices (such as your video camera, microphone, keyboard etc.).
I could easily download all your data, photos, web browsing history and other information to my servers.
I can access all your social networks accounts, messengers, emails, including chat history as well as contacts list.
This virus of mine unceasingly keeps refreshing its signatures (since it is controlled by a driver), and as result stays unnoticed by antivirus software.
Hereby, I believe by this time it is already clear for you why I was never detected until I sent this letter…
While compiling all the information related to you, I have also found out that you are a true fan and frequent visitor of adult websites.
You truly enjoy browsing through porn websites, while watching arousing videos and experiencing an unimaginable satisfaction.
To be honest, I could not resist but to record some of your kinky solo sessions and compiled them in several videos, which demonstrate you masturbating and cumming in the end.
If you still don’t trust me, all it takes me is several mouse clicks to distribute all those videos with your colleagues, friends and even relatives.
In addition, I can upload them online for entire public to access.
I truly believe, you absolutely don’t want such things to occur, bearing in mind the kinky stuff exposed in those videos that you usually watch, (you definitely understand what I am trying to say) it will result in a complete disaster for you.
We can still resolve it in the following manner:
You perform a transfer of $1590 USD to me (a bitcoin equivalent based on the exchange rate during the funds transfer), so after I receive the transfer, I will straight away remove all those lecherous videos without hesitation.
Then we can pretend like it has never happened before. In addition, I assure that all the harmful software will be deactivated and removed from all devices of yours. Don’t worry, I am a man of my word.
It is really a good deal with a considerably low the price, bearing in mind that I was monitoring your profile as well as traffic over an extended period.
If you still unaware about the purchase and transfer process of bitcoins – all you can do is find the necessary information online.
My bitcoin wallet is as follows: 13jKLyAFhjVRiWyg1TTPVjweFBAyUyBiy8
You are left with 48 hours and the countdown starts right after you open this email (2 days to be specific).
Don’t forget to keep in mind and abstain from doing the following:
> Do not attempt to reply my email (this email was generated in your inbox together with the return address).
> Do not attempt to call police as well as other security services. Moreover, don’t even think of sharing it with your friends. If I get to know about it (based on my skills, that would be very easy, since that I have all your systems under my control and constant monitoring) – your dirty video will become public without delay.
> Don’t attempt searching for me – it is completely useless. Cryptocurrency transactions always remain anonymous.
> Don’t attempt reinstalling the OS of your devices or even getting rid of them. It is meaningless too, because all your private videos are already been available on remote servers.
Things you should be concerned about:
> That I will not receive the funds transfer you make.
Relax, I will be able to track it immediately, after you complete the funds transfer, because I unceasingly monitor all activities that you do (trojan virus of mine can control remotely all processes, same as TeamViewer).
> That I will still distribute your videos after you have sent the money to me.
Believe me, it is pointless for me to proceed with troubling you after that. Besides that, if that really was my intention, it would happen long time ago!
It all will be settled on fair conditions and terms!
One last advice from me… Moving forward make sure you don’t get involved in such type of incidents again!
My suggestion – make sure you change all your passwords as often as possible.
How to protect yourself from cryptocurrency scams
- Research before getting involved: Not all cryptocurrencies or crypto opportunities are scams. When you come across a crypto investment for the first time, take your time to carry out detailed research before investing your money. Try to find out everything about it, the founders, how it operates, and most importantly people’s views on the project.
- Protect your wallet: Keep your private keys and other personal financial information to yourself. If anyone asks for your private keys, there is a high probability you may be scammed.
In addition, many digital wallets have the option to enable two-factor authentication. This can be an added layer of security to protect your money.
- Avoid “Get Rich Quick” Schemes: You may receive messages via email or social media inviting you for some investments with unrealistic ROIs. Some scams can also come in form of giveaways or free cash. It is advisable to stay away from such investments or rich-quick schemes.
It is important to be security conscious before getting into an investment. Money transfer in cryptocurrency is irreversible by the nature of blockchain technology. This is why it is good to double-check before making payments. Cryptocurrency scams are everywhere and can come in different forms. Also, make enough research and double-check before submitting your details online. Most crypto scams are done by gaining access to your private information to get away with your money or force you to send them money. Common examples of crypto scams include phishing scams, fake investment schemes, extortion messages and emails, blackmail and extortion, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), among others.