Avoiding top Bitcoin scams
VIRTUAL CURRENCIES, such as Bitcoin, are intended to serve as a type of money.
They may be traded on online exchanges for conventional currencies, including the United States (US) dollar, or used to purchase goods or services, usually online.
However, like any other form of currency being traded in a global marketplace, it may entice fraudsters luring potential consumers into Ponzi and other schemes in which these currencies are used to facilitate fraudulent, or simply fabricated, investments or transactions.
The fraud may also involve an unregistered offering or trading platform. These schemes often promise high returns for getting in on the ground floor of a growing Internet phenomenon.
Fraudsters may also be attracted to using virtual currencies to perpetrate their frauds because transactions in virtual currencies supposedly have greater privacy benefits and less regulatory oversight than transactions in conventional currencies.
Any investment in securities in the US remains subject to the jurisdiction of the US Securities and Exchange Commission regardless of whether the investment is made in US dollars or a virtual currency. In particular, individuals selling investments are typically subject to federal or state licensing requirements.
As with many other currencies and technology there are a number of fraudulent cases associated with virtual currency that can threaten your investment. To help you transact safer, we’ve compiled a list of popular virtual currency scams and best practices for avoiding them.
Bitcoin wallets are used to store funds and transfer money between other bitcoin wallets. In recent times, mobile bitcoin wallets have become very popular, and scammers see it as an opportunity to defraud users.
These fake bitcoin wallets use the names of trusted companies, such as Coinbase or Xapo, and go as far as using the same logo. The fake entities trick the users into downloading the mobile wallet, convincing the user that it is a legitimate and trusted wallet.
Once the wallet is downloaded, the user is able use it to execute transactions for a while, but once the amount stored in the wallet hits a certain threshold, it is moved out of the user’s wallet and into the scammer’s hand.
To avoid downloading a fake wallet, go directly to the trusted site, for example www.bitt.com or www.coinbase.com and follow the ‘download wallet’ link on that site to get the wallet.
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investing scam that guarantees the investor high returns with little to no risk. The scheme operates on the principle “Rob Peter, so you can pay Paul.” The people running the Ponzi scheme focus on attracting new clients to invest. That new investment is then used to pay original investors their returns.
As for bitcoin, these ‘investments’ usually seem very profitable at first since daily payments are being received by users, which makes the users re-invest their ‘returns’ into the same scheme to generate more profit. When the user is ready to withdraw their earnings, that’s where the problem begins and the investment scheme stops paying then the user loses all their invested funds.
If you want to invest into a digital currency investment service, ensure that the company providing the service is properly incorporated and is run by a reputable industry professional.
Phishing scams are very common in the online world and have become popular in the Bitcoin community. These scams occur when scammers send out emails to users saying that they’ve won bitcoin.
In the body of the email there will be a link taking you to a login page that looks similar to your trusted wallet’s login page. When you input your username and password, the scammers capture that information and take full control of your account.
Always be vigilant when clicking links in emails that seem inauthentic, especially when checking your emails from your phone. It’s much easier to miss details about the actual sender on a smaller device with condensed information.
So remember, we at Bitt remind you to:
Be intuitive: If something sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is. Any investment involves some form of risk, and usually the higher the investment the greater the risk.
Be thorough: Do the groundwork and background research on any Bitcoin company before doing business with them. Specifically look for transparency in their dealings through publicly available audits.
Be mindful: Online forums such as Reddit.com can provide a balanced perspective on which Bitcoin companies are legitimate and credible. When dealing with crypto-currencies, it is best to tread as carefully as you would when dealing with cash, because just like cash, once you lose it you can never get it back.
Be vigilant: Always be on the lookout for scams. They’re everywhere.
Bitt Inc., headquartered in Barbados, focusses on using blockchain technology to facilitate digital payments, the issuance of digital fiat currency by Central Banks and the introduction of a regional settlement network for the Caribbean. Locally, it employs approximately 50 people.