Cryptocurrency has been enjoying the spotlight for quite a while, and scammers are eager to cash in on the excitement. Here is what you need to know about cryptocurrency scams and how to avoid them.
There are several ways scammers are using cryptocurrency to con people out of their money:
Blackmail. In this ploy, scammers send emails to their targets claiming they have compromising information about them. They threaten to go public with the information unless the victim pays up in cryptocurrency. Of course, the scammer is lying about the materials they possess and this is illegal blackmail and extortion.
Social media. Here, a target receives a social media message appearing to be from a friend and asking them to send cryptocurrency immediately to help them out of an alleged emergency. If the target complies and sends cryptocurrency to their “friend,” they will never see that money again.
Mining. In this scam, bogus websites lure people into what appears to be opportunities for mining or investing in cryptocurrency. The site may even offer several investment tiers, promising bigger returns for a more significant investment. Unfortunately, any money invested through these sites can never be withdrawn.
Giveaways. These “giveaways” appear to be sponsored by celebrities or big-name cryptocurrency investors. Victims are promised exponential returns for small investments in cryptocurrency, or for simply sharing some personal information. Of course, none of it is real, except the loss you will experience if you fall victim.
Look out for these red flags to help you avoid cryptocurrency scams:
- You are promised big payouts with guaranteed returns for a small investment in a specific cryptocurrency.
- A celebrity or famed cryptocurrency investor is sponsoring a cryptocurrency giveaway.
- A friend contacts you on social media, claiming they are caught in an emergency and need immediate rescue, but only through cryptocurrency.
- You are promised free money in cryptocurrency in exchange for sharing some personal information.
- A caller, organization, or alleged government agency insists on payment via cryptocurrency.
Be sure to follow common safety measures when online and never share personal information or money with an unverified contact. If you are unsure whether you have actually been contacted by a friend or an authentic business, reach out to them to learn the real deal.
If you’ve been targeted:
If you believe you have been targeted by any of the above cryptocurrency scams or a similar scheme, immediately report the scam to the FTC.
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