Beware of the Crypto Scam

Learn how to spot a crypto scam

The crypto scam asks for the send or receive funds, or a basic amount of money, as well as a few email addresses. Usually, this scam is in exchange for a discount or investment. Scammers may show you a basic amount of the digital cryptocurrency, but they are usually limited to little amounts—such as $20 or $50—and won’t give you any hard copy of the cryptocurrency. The scammers may tell you to make the purchase over the phone and never ask for a physical check.

This is a form of payment gate that uses verification technology, such as the I2P software, to stop people from entering Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The scammer will also require a copy of your driver’s license and passport.

Be careful of fake information

“If a company or individual claims to be based in the US but they don’t have a physical address, what’s the point?” Man-In-The-Middle/Fake-Company scammer says on the ScalarIUM community.

One scam on the block shares this warning: “All scammers now use Western Union as an administrative point. If you receive a Western Union payment from us, your money is stolen! Do not send any money until you know who we are!”

Finally, watch out for scammers who use other people’s names to make themselves sound more credible. Remember the old maxim, “Don’t believe everything you hear?”—especially from a stranger online. When you’re looking for legitimate information about a cryptocurrency project, be especially skeptical about content from anyone you don’t know personally.

What you should do if you’re approached with a crypto opportunity

1. Choose carefully.

As a first-time investor in a crypto startup, your investment decision should be carefully vetted. Don’t be too eager to give up your hard-earned money. Cryptocurrencies can make investment gains look astronomical if the venture provides real-world benefits to you.

Don’t invest if you aren’t prepared to either a) sell your asset right away, as you’ll probably lose your profit, or b) wait years for the cryptocurrency to mature.

2. Make sure you’re in it for the long haul.

If you’re going to invest your money in a startup that has no proven track record, make sure you know the founders well and understand what they want to accomplish. Understand their mission, as well as how their business model helps society and whether they have a legitimate business model.

How to avoid trouble as a newbie

One way to protect yourself from scams is to stick to established cryptocurrency exchanges. If you do decide to invest with a new startup, invest only a small amount and meet with the founder or CEO in person.

Dark Net Markets

These illegal markets operate in the “dark web,” which isn’t indexed by search engines and which can only be accessed with certain software. Hiding in this underbelly of the internet are illegal bazaars where you can trade illegal goods or services, including drugs, illegal firearms and stolen identities. Unfortunately, as with any illegal activity, there’s also a lot of fraud, scams and stolen merchandise.

How to avoid trouble

The safest thing to do on the dark web is be as careful as possible.


One of the most bizarre examples of fake cryptocurrency ventures is the infamous NiceHash hack. Over $60 million worth of cryptocurrency went up in smoke when a website was hacked and it was emptied. In most cases, it’s best to take a little extra time and make sure that what you’re putting your money toward is legitimate.

For example, check to see how many pages the company has online and how they can be contacted, and what the percentage of money they’ve donated to a non-profit is. Since their main product is cryptocurrencies, it’s essential that businesses are transparent about what they’re selling and where they’re making their money.

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