Bitcoin has become one of the preferred currencies for some investors and business people, but unfortunately it is also popular among criminals and scammers. The appeals to use bitcoin are several: it has reached billions of dollars in market capitalization, it is hardly regularized, is very discreet, and in some countries is not subject to taxes. It bypasses banks and governments to some extent.
It is clear that bitcoin is a lucrative market for scammers, especially due to the lack of control. Criminals can manage their business freely without having to report the origin of the funds, which is perfect for them. There is no regulation either in the way coins can be moved from one wallet to another, which makes it very difficult for the average investor to trace the movements of their coins. Another reason is that cryptocurrency is new to many people who do not know how it works. Lots of investors expect large returns in very short time frames, making it easier for scammers to target victims.
To avoid scams, international private investigators have put together a list of tips and things to watch out for. As with any popular trend online, the risks for fraud are greater.
Fake Bitcoin Exchanges, Fake Wallets and Unregulated Brokers
You might have seen in social media or the Internet links and advertisements offers to buy bitcoin for less than its market value. Those savings and discounts seem tempting, but one of the most important things to do when investing – cryptocurrency or not – is to verify who you are dealing with. Is the exchange real? Is the company offering the deal registered and in good standing? Does the website and the contact information match the official registered ones?
According to ScamWatch, investment scams are on the top of the list of internet scams when classifying by amount lost, and Bitcoin makes it even easier. There are hundreds of unregulated online exchanges and brokerage firms offering cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency trading products. Investors should be wary of “too good to be true” promotions and promises of big returns. Once victims deposit money, these fake firms charge them with outrageous commissions or make it very difficult to withdraw funds. Some of the worst offenders will simply steal your money. Most of these fake firms are open one day and gone the next, but they can also look very real. Company background check investigations and international due diligence services will provide the basic information any investor needs to know before putting their money in, like evidence that the company is real and reputable.
Phishing, Hacking and Malware
Have you received an email demanding payment to a bitcoin wallet and stating your account, personal and private information have been compromised? Despite the warnings, many people still fail to protect their privacy online and give the opportunity to online criminals to profit from personal information. Fraudsters use websites that look like legitimate ones or use tools to make people believe their emails have been hacked. Their technique is mainly to scare people with threats to share sensitive data -like photos- with relatives, co-workers and friends if they do not pay. As mentioned before, no one controls where the money from a wallet comes from and the funds can be easily changed from one wallet to another, so it is hard to keep a track of the criminals moves. To avoid being victim of this type of fraud, do not share your personal information in social media and dating websites or apps. Do not open any links from unknown senders. Make sure the websites you visit start with https, like https://wymoo.com. This means the website is secure and that information transmitted is encrypted. You can also follow some simple but effective ways to protect your privacy, like taping your webcam.
Always keep in mind that being cautious pays more than acting on impulse. Get professional help to verify first before considering any investment, especially one involving Bitcoin!
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