Bitcoin is one of the newer cryptocurrency methods for trading, and as with everything on the internet, scammers and cybercriminals have been using both traditional and new ways to steal from those that are unaware. Promises of fast money and big returns have long been a mainstay for investment thieves, and as the popularity of cryptocurrency continues to rise, so will those that will lose all of their hard-earned savings to those that would steal from them.
Some of the criminals have created very sophisticated looking websites that lure investors in with the idea that they contain entrepreneurs and business people seeking venture capital. Others use existing very questionable social media sites such as “Telegram” for their scams. These are known as iCenter, and their schemes follow the same fast-talking style that was once only found in person or on the phone. As with schemes of the past, the investors are told that they are being given an unusual opportunity to make a fast turn around (usually 1.2% daily return) for the money that they invest and then they are supplied a special “code” that they can only share with their friends on Telegram. Scammers can then sign up more new users from the social media site. Some of the scams include videos of people holding checks that they received as an encouragement for people to believe and sign up.
Other cryptocurrency thieves are a lot more direct with their lies. The creator of the fake OneCoin cryptocurrency convinced buyers that it was real and stole over $3.8 billion from those that didn’t do any research or fact check. In yet other scams, they say they have special knowledge and overwhelm with word salad to confuse their victims. In The Global Trading scam (also on Telegram) they spoke gibberish about exchanges, calling a non-existent situation “arbitrage” and then just stole the money. They even created a false response message for users using a bot regarding the money in the account so that the victims thought their money was increased by 1% in an hour. All social media platforms can be used for this type of thievery including Facebook and Twitter.
Yet another way to rip people off appears as the “initial coin offering” method. It sounds like a real opportunity for investment with a way for grassroots cryptocurrency companies to raise money for users for the future. The way it works is for the investor to send active cryptocurrencies to the scammer with a promise that they will be the recipient of a good discount on the new cryptocoins. Some of these criminals go so far as to rent fake offices, create marketing materials, and even have websites. There was a collapse in 2018 of around 1,000 initial coin offerings and that led to the loss of $100 million from those that participated.
Some of the older methods that the cybercriminals continue to use is the “chain letter” email. Even though most people are aware that these are scams, there is still a percentage of those that believe that they might be real and fall prey to the scammers.
“DaVinci Forensics will continue to try to educate our clients and readers on how they can protect themselves against online crime. We encourage everyone to always research any investment that they intend to make and only talk to professionals in the industry.”
– Sharon Knowles, CEO DaVinci Forensics