With the spread of blockchain and Bitcoin, scams have also started to emerge, as criminals exploit this asset to organize various scams by inducing victims to have their private keys handed over, for example.
In the panorama of scams related to the Bitcoin world, there are different types. In order to stay alert and make users more and more aware here is a list to recognize them.
The 5 most common scams related to the Bitcoin world
A first category we can identify in email extortion: criminals send victims emails, sharing confidential information about the victim, usually an email and password.
The criminal then pretends to be in possession of personal information or images, asking for a ransom in Bitcoin in order not to spread the material.
A very popular variant of this email is the one called sextortion, in which the criminal reveals to the victim that he has compromising sexual images and videos, demanding a ransom in Bitcoin.
What to do in case of sextortion?
Once you receive such a message, you simply have to trash it, before opening the content because there might be some malicious links inside it that could direct you to some unreliable site or virus.
In fact, these threats are just fake and criminals are not really in possession of compromising images. Basically it is just a bluff to recover bitcoin.
Fake exchange scams
Another category of scams involves fake exchanges that only appear to have the same functions as the original ones. The victim does not have the slightest doubt about the reliability of the same since everything works normally and without suspicion.
Usually the victim is lured into this exchange through messages on social networks, such as Discord, Instagram and so on, and then is invited to register. The procedure is very simple, requiring only email and password.
Unfortunately, however, once the funds are sent to these exchanges, the victim discovers that they cannot withdraw them in any way. Often these portals cite account verification reasons and push the user to provide and pass KYC (Know Your Customer). We have discovered over 140 of these sites.
How to defend yourself against fake exchanges?
The first thing to do is to delete the message of these fake exchanges and never enter your credentials into these kind of platforms, as this way criminals have a database of emails linked to real people.
Bitcoin giveaway scams
Even gifts, like giveaways, do not escape from scams as criminals exploit names of famous people or news related to important projects, claiming to give away crypto to everyone who participates.
The scam is very simple: an article is written with some information about the person or a recent event that really happened and then a site is built where the whole page is completely fake and structured in such a way as to invite the user to send their crypto.
The modus operandi of these scams is to convince the victim to send their crypto through a well established claim, that is to double their funds by simply sending a certain crypto to a certain address.
But obviously this will not happen and you will lose your crypto.
Considering that we are talking about crypto and blockchain it is quite easy to unmask fake transactions, so in these cases it is enough to take the criminal’s address and analyze it in a block explorer to check all the transactions and if they match what is reported on the web page.
One of the scams that unfortunately is spreading and has a lot of success is phishing, a technique that aims to make the victim believe that he is interacting with the official platform of a service in order to make him enter his credentials.
In this case, criminals exploit fake platforms to recover victims‘ emails and passwords, as happened with the recent case against Ledger.
The email that the victim receives invites them to enter or update their device. Usually in this email there is a link that leads to a copy of the site, in which without his knowledge the victim entering the credentials in fact delivers them to criminals.
How to defend against phishing?
First of all, it is necessary to check and compare the sender of the email with the original ones and in case of divergences, it is better to delete the received email. It is important to never click on any link within the email itself because it can not only lead to a misleading page, but may even contain a virus that will nest in our PC.