5 Cryptocurrency Scams and How You Can Protect Yourself

Cryptocurrency Scams

These are some of the most common cryptocurrency scams people fall for.

Most of these are scams common sense and can be boiled down to:

  • Never share your seed phrase with anyone
  • Trust no one and verify everything.
  • Don’t believe anything you read on the internet.
  • Use good passwords and a 2-Factor authentication app
  • Get a hardware wallet

When using Bitcoin and crypto you are responsible for your own funds.

Any transacions you send are irreversable and non refundable.

You need to be very careful online. Even the most educated internet security professionals can fall for any of these cryptocurrency scams.

1. DMs and Private Messages

If you receive a message on Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, WhatsApp, Twitter, or literally any social media website from a person you don’t know — IT’S A CRYPTOCURRENCY SCAM.

There is NO reason to privately talk about Bitcoin or cryptocurrency with anyone you don’t know

The website or trading bot they have is fake. The profile image is fake.

Cryptocurrency transactions are not reversible or refundable. You really need to be sure you are sending your funds to a reputable place.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Assume all DM’s and private messages on social media about crypto are scams.
  • Block and report the scammer.

2. Romance Scam

Scammers will create fake profiles on dating websites and apps like Tinder using fake profiles and images.

They will fake “long-distance” relationships for months before they even mention crypto.

If you have never met the person you are talking to and they are mentioning a service to send crypto to earn some great return. It’s a scam.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Use a reverse image search like TinEye or Google image search to social media photos to confirm the person is real and not using stolen or stock photography.
  • Google the name of any crypto service someone recommends.
  • Check what people on Twitter, and Reddit (multiple subreddits) are saying. If you can’t find any mentions of it online – IT’S A SCAM.

Romance and long-distance dating scams predate the internet by about 100 years. Previously these same tactics were used in newspapers and classified ads.

3. Double Up Crypto Scam

Scammers will hack or fake Twitter and YouTube profiles.

The scam is always the same. Send them some crypto and they will send you double the amount back.

This is so obviously a scam that it scares me I have to explain it.

Regardless, people fall for this get-rich-quick scam and they lose their money.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Elon Musk is not going to double the amount of Bitcoin you send him.
  • No one is going to send you double the about of crypto you send them.

It is easy to create fake profiles online anyone can pose as anyone. Don’t fall for the fake profile crypto scams.

The rich person is your DM’s or the replies is not who they say they are.

If you send them Bitcoin – it will not be doubled or returned to you and there will be nothing you can do about it.

4. Email Phishing

If you have spent any amount of time on the internet, there is a good chance your name, email, and passwords have been leaked and have been made publicly available at any time.

The largest websites and companies in the world and many crypto exchanges have been hacked or accidentally leaked users’ data.

Have I been Pwned is a legit website where you can enter your email address and you can see what data breaches your private info has been leaked.

Scammers will get this info and use it to send fake-looking emails from echage or hardware wallet companies telling you to click a link.

They are trying to steal your private seed phrase and passwords to steal your crypto.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Never share your 12 or 24 secret seed phrase.
  • Don’t click links in emails you are not expecting.
  • Be very suspicious of all emails.
  • Use different passwords and usernames on different accounts.
  • Set up a new email for just exchanges for even more privacy.

The domain name from an email sender can also be ‘spoofed’ in you email you received. So even confirming the email matches the domain in your inbox is not a full-proof way.

If I receive an email from and crypto exchange or a wallet — I will read it but not click any of the links in the email. I will then go directly to the app or platform and the same notification should easily be readable on that dashboard.

This will help us from getting tricked into clicking a malicious link that is phishing for your user name and password.

5. Google Search Ad Scam

In the below example you can see the scammers are running a Google Ad for the crypto exchange NDAX.

Google search ad scam

The link in the ad will direct you to a website that will be used to comprise your password and username.

These Ads accounts will get taken down by Google, but there are periods of time when these ads will pop up.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Use a 2-factor authentication app for your exchange accounts. ‘Google Authertecior’ app and ‘Authy’ are popular.
  • Confirm the exchange URL and domain name on the official social media accounts.
  • Read the URL and be sure to click on the official website and not a fake ad.
  • Use different passwords and usernames on all exchanges and crypto-related accounts.

More Ways to Protect Yourself from Cryptocurrency Scams

There are still more ways you can protect yourself online from cryptocurrency scams. This is by no means a complete list of all possible crypto scams. At the end of the day, it is you who is responsible for securing your digital assets.

Use a Password Manager

1Password, Bitwarden, and Lastpass are popular password managers.

Use a Hardware Wallet to Secure Your Cryptocurrency

Hardware wallets are an external device used specifically to store bitcoin.

These devices are extremely secure and will protect your currency from malware and other types of viruses that may exist on your computer.

Education

Digital privacy and security is a rapidly evolving environment. You will need to educate yourself and keep up to date with cryptocurrency scams to feel secure managing your digital assets.

I follow Web3 is going great on Twitter. It helps keep me educated about the types of scams and risks involved in crypto.

The podcasts ‘Darknet Diaries’, ‘Malicious Life’, and ‘Command_Line Heros’ are also a good blend of educational and entertaining.