If you plan to invest in crypto; you need to understand the dangers of various coins based on the size of their blockchain. For the most part, cryptocurrencies are just another item of value; and like many other digital platforms, access to where records are held can be enough to defeat our individual (often inept) security measures. Like your online bank account; if someone can gain access to that account with your details and password, they might easily steal all of your money with a click of a keyboard. Let’s find out How to Protect Yourself From Crypto Scammers?
The methods used to do this are not new to how local crypto wallets (stored on a device); or remote exchange accounts might be compromised.
To get access to your funds; thieves can take several tricks from stealing your ID or password to convincing you to send the funds yourself.
If you have a healthy interest in all things deceptive, these tricks will be quite familiar.
The fact that most digital currencies are not regulated creates a Wild West aspect that attracts online bandits; and offers them a degree of impunity compared to other forms of theft.
As a result, the diversity of thinking from this new generation of fraudsters can create remarkably complex or elegantly easy methods for taking your money.
How They Track You
With any con game, knowing what a potential target wants is the cause upon; which most scams are built but scammers also need to target victims with treasure that’s worth stealing.
Online profiling can create a catalogue of viable crypto investors simply by trawling forums; video comments, and social media groups while collecting any available data from these sources.
With your email, phone number, and name, scammers can link people in several ways; so fostering a disposal identity that’s difficult to connect to your own can be a good strategy to protect your true identity.
Often anonymous online interaction tends to foster negative discussions, insults, lies, and general bad behavior; but when it comes to not revealing yourself as a target for thieves; an alter-ego might not be that bad an idea when publicly discussing financial matters.
An important factor is that there are a lot of new investors vulnerable to many forms of attack; and crypto seems to attract a certain type of investor who tends to be overconfident in the face of much more sophisticated adversaries.
Like a brand-new chess player convinced they could hold their own against a grandmaster when in fact; they’re almost certain to lose; whereas a wise beginner might have the self-awareness to recognize when they’re sitting opposite a superior opponent; and expect the inevitable.
This is nothing new and poker players all over learned the hard lessons of hubris only to take full advantage when tables are turned later in their playing careers!
How They Get You
An extensive list or description of methods might fill a book; so take these are merely examples of how scams might catch you. You must be aware that new variations are common.
You will recognize all of these tactics from other types of scams; but that does little to help if you don’t remain vigilant when trading online; and accept that you might outplay and outgun if you fall into a well-concealed trap.
Conventional methods like phishing; where an email or online communications encourage people into accessing bogus sites and/or installing (openly or secretly) malware onto their devices remain successful.
No matter how hard you try; there will always be a link you shouldn’t have clicked or a page we shouldn’t have opened.
A key component to the success of phishing is timing; and while you might have send billions of emails expecting that a few will fall into a victim’s inbox; just after they contact the bank or company being emulated; crypto scams can make great use of data trawled from the sources earlier mentioned; and be almost tailored to individual recipients.
A powerful trick is to find subscribers to certain websites; channels, or individuals and then spoof these sources to make it look like you are speaking with someone you may already trust.
Recently, multiple celebrities were hacked and their online identities were used to advertise a giveaway of cryptocurrency; where any amount of crypto sent to them would be doubled and quickly returned.
Of course, this appears to be a scam. But the fact it came from verified sources (apparently) gave it enough credibility, and inherent trust in these famous accounts trapped lots of people into foolishly sending their money.
2. Investment Opportunities
Viruses can come from many sources; and now that the incentive to hunt and steal digital currency is high. Don’t think that sloppy emails or texts are the only ways to get past your personal security measures.
Genuine software updates from prominent companies have had viruses incorporated at source; and it’s only a matter of time before one of the big two operating systems has a disastrous event baked into its own code that might trigger before it can be recognized.
Hardware is also a very real threat and anything you plug into your computer might have something unexpected lurking inside.
You should also be hyper-cautious about all USB sticks and hard drives to the point; where you would prefer to use one device purely for monetary affairs and protect it from all other unnecessary software or hardware.
In a recent event, there is news of a USB flash drive company sending tens of thousands of sticks to corporate clients. Each with a virus on board waiting to find the right conditions for a digital heist.
It’s easy to become super-paranoid but a little paranoia will do in the face of unwanted parasites infesting seemingly legitimate products and providers.
3. Online Imposters
In addition, fake websites have become increasingly common as a way to facilitate various types of crypto theft and these sites might run for hours, days or months before recycling into a different form with a similar name.
Fake websites might be a complete replica of a recognized legitimate site but with a tweaked URL to fool those who don’t double-check things and still click through from emails.
Social Engineering attacks often direct people to these bogus sites and encourage them to create accounts or enter details that might be useful elsewhere.
This type of attack uses human-to-human (apparently) engagement to gain trust or manipulate people into giving sensitive information or taking actions that compromise their personal online security.
You can check these sites for yourself with services like Crunchbase but if you don’t know what you’re doing or have any reason to doubt, stick with well-known exchange sites and always check the URL you’re using.
What is the best Defense?
The best defence is awareness. You should not get too deep and too openly involved in any financial venture without learning as much as you can about what’s safe and what’s not and to always recognize that the less you know, the more vulnerable you are.
Make sure your passwords are strong enough and be equally careful with password recovery methods that should be as strong as the password itself.
For instance, if you have a 50-digit password with numerals, letters, and symbols but your password can be compromised by knowing the name of your dog or your mother’s maiden name, you’re not as safe as you think you are.
By using two-factor authentication on all your accounts, tracking all wallet or exchange activity, removing any remote access software that might be on your devices, and using advance phrase recovery for your accounts, you minimize the chances of being scammed.
And finally, make sure your anti-virus software is up to date on any devices you use for financial purposes.
Such steps will make you a harder target but if hackers smell blood in the water and concentrate their efforts on anyone, it’s only a matter of time before they break through.
And if you do get hit, stop all activity immediately, reset passwords and report it immediately to your brokerage.
If possible, have a trusted, verifiable source for advice on how to navigate the minefield of cryptocurrencies.