The amount that Bitcoin has grown in recent years is staggering. In around a decade or so, it has gone from a relatively unknown asset to an incredibly popular and valuable cryptocurrency that has made front-page headlines across the world. It has shown a lot of promise and potential in both finance and tech.
You can now buy Bitcoin instantly, and it is incredibly easy to become involved in the industry and market, as there are thousands of cryptocurrencies out there now thanks to the foundation that Bitcoin laid.
However, with all of this growth comes a little bit of risk. Because as Bitcoin continues to grow, so do cryptocurrency scams. Scammers see the potential in the market and feed off of inexperienced individuals who are new to the space.
The means of scamming that they use can also vary greatly. Some scammers use phishing to get personal information. Some attempt to blackmail people, and others try to make them send their money to fake addresses or platforms. There are also mining scams, scams that inflict your computer with malware, pyramid schemes, and even full initial coin offerings (ICOs) that are fraudulent.
Speaking of crypto scams, there have been two pretty large ones that have materialized recently, and each has gotten widespread coverage and focused on some pretty big names. Let’s take a closer look at them.
This was a major scam that occurred on Twitter back on July 15th, 2020. A hacker managed to compromise the accounts of some incredibly famous individuals, including Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian, Bill Gates, and many others. Even several crypto-related accounts such as Coindesk, Ripple, Coinbase, and Bitcoin were targeted too.
Once they had access to their accounts, hackers made public posts essentially saying that if a person sent Bitcoin to a particular address, they would get double the amount back in return. While this seems like an obvious scam to many people, because so many big names were tweeting it, some people thought it was legitimate.
It got so bad that, for a while, Twitter stopped verified accounts from having the ability to make posts to prevent the hack from spreading even further. This scam earned the creators over $100,000 as many people were fooled into sending their Bitcoin to the scammers’’ address. The hacker was able to do this thanks to exploits through some of the internal tools within the Twitter platform.
Twitter isn’t the only platform that has landed in hot water recently due to crypto-related scams. YouTube has gone through their own issues as they have actually been sued by Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple. This all stems from several videos put out on YouTube that claim that Wozniak is holding a Bitcoin promotion and will send back twice the amount of Bitcoin that is sent to a specific address.
Wozniak claims that YouTube knows about the many scam videos, but has done little in terms of removing them. As you could imagine, this sort of scam not only hurts those losing their Bitcoin, but also the reputations of Wozniak and others who are affected.
At its core, this is quite similar to the Twitter scam as the scammers are trying to trick people into giving away their Bitcoin, and using the names of famous individuals to look more legitimate. While there don’t appear to be any hacked accounts in this scam, it is still a problem.
As you can see, these crypto scams are growing in size and reach, and have been victimizing some pretty big names as well as hundreds of people who lose their investments. While there are no guarantees that you will never be a victim, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself.
At this stage, you will also need to do some research. In order to protect yourself from crypto scams, you need to be able to identify them. Some common signs of a crypto scam include a very brief or general explanation about what the platform or cryptocurrency does and a lack of technical details. There should be a white paper or similar document somewhere on their site, and a lack of this and other major and important key details should raise red flags in your mind.
Also, if the company or platform make any guarantees of returns, that should be another sign of a scam. These unrealistic claims are impossible to make, especially in a market as volatile as cryptocurrency. It is also important to check out the team behind the platform or potential opportunity. If you can’t find any information about the people or you see stock photos used on the site, there is a good chance that the team doesn’t exist and the whole thing is a scam.
However, many crypto scams are becoming incredibly complex and robust and could look like real opportunities for many people. So be sure to do a ton of research online to learn all you can about an asset, ICO, or platform before you put any money into it. If you think something seems a little off, or even too good to be true, it is best to listen to your gut. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
In conclusion, as Bitcoin and other crypto-assets continue to grow, so do crypto scams. It is essential to keep your eyes out for them if you participate or plan to buy Bitcoin. We hope this article has helped you learn more about some common and recent crypto scams, and also help you identify them and protect yourself. Of course, not all crypto scams are easy to predict, so be sure to do your own research.