Hackers take advantage of the popularity of cryptocurrencies and the lack of knowledge many people have about how to handle them to run cryptocurrency scams and make it difficult to protect against cybercriminals. Given the nature of blockchain, once money is lost, it is very unlikely that it can be recovered. Therefore, it is key to know how to protect yourself from cybercriminals.
Here we share several tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of a scam. In addition, the law firm Caporaso & Partners offers a consultation service through which you can identify and monitor your counterparty in cryptocurrency deals to avoid cryptocurrency scams.
One of the most common cryptocurrency scams is phishing. It consists of sending a mass email containing a link or attachment infected with a virus. If the unsuspecting person clicks on the link or opens the file, their device becomes infected with the malware. This allows hackers to do at least two things: in some cases they turn the device into a cryptocurrency mining machine without the person realizing it. They can also take control of that device and “hijack” information. They then demand a ransom, payable in Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies, to restore access to that information.
Another mechanism used by hackers is the use of “social engineering”, whereby they blackmail the victim through social networks. The attacker sends messages claiming to have accessed the person’s webcam and filmed compromising images. To avoid revealing them, the hackers demand payment in cryptocurrencies. Many believe this story and end up paying.
One of the “strategies” used by scammers is to offer a free Bitcoin saturation or a NFT. In return, they will ask for your details, such as mailing address, email and phone number. The freebies will never arrive and the hackers will try to access your financial accounts using the data you have shared.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and initial coin offerings (ICOs) are experiencing an extraordinary boom and, as a result, hackers are taking advantage of this to commit fraud. One of the ways is the so-called “carpet-pulling”. It consists of developing a new cryptocurrency or an NFT. Afterwards, hackers take all the proceeds and people lose their money.
Information and knowledge are essential to avoid cryptocurrency scams and protect yourself from cybercriminals. If a cryptocurrency project seems to have been put together in a short time, the project website is poorly designed and contains hardly any content and the developers behind the idea are unknown, then it is very likely that we are dealing with a scam.
For example, in the case of phishing, users are advised to verify the messages, because hackers use similar techniques. The sender of the email is usually unknown or uses an address similar to the official one. The content of these messages always gives a sense of urgency, such as an unauthorized bank transfer or a security problem detected on your server or on your own device. In addition, these messages often contain links to unsecured websites, which do not use the https protocol, or offer attachments for downloading.
In these cases it is advisable, first of all, to check the exact identity of the sender of each communication. In case of doubt about the authenticity of the message, find a way to confirm its originator. Never click on the links in these messages and certainly never download or click on these files. It is suggested to hover over the link to check the actual URL.
On the other hand, keeping devices updated, both PC and mobile, with the official versions of software or applications is an important decision to protect against malware. It is recommended to install an antivirus on PCs.
Backing up the most valuable information stored on the device is also a good idea. Much of that information should be stored on cloud servers rather than on a hard drive on the device.
Remember that there are no systems for making safe money. If you are presented with an overly attractive proposition, it is most likely to be a scam. There is a methodology and tools to monitor financial companies and blockchain projects. Paying a few hundred dollars to monitor these companies or projects can help you avoid big losses.