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Cryptocurrency scams

Cryptocurrency Scams: What You Should Know

Cryptocurrency scams
May 26, 2021

Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin are always hot targets for investments; as its price soars and plunges, discussion about cryptocurrency keeps increasing. Its popularity does not only attracts investors. Scammers also try their best to make a fortune out of you with investment scams.

How much loss have cryptocurrency scams caused


According to the FTC, there are 6,792 cryptocurrency investment scam reports from October 2020 to March 2021, losing more than 80 million dollars. Plus, the average loss of these scam reports is $1,900; the average loss for people aged 50 and above is even higher, $3,250!

What does this mean? There are 12 times more reports and 10 times more losses than the same period in the previous year!

4 common cryptocurrency scams

  • Fake cryptocurrency websites

Scammers create fake cryptocurrency trading platforms to exploit victims. They often use fake testimonials or trading records to make the website more reliable.

In the beginning, when victims put a small amount of money in it, scammers would let them withdraw the profits to make them believe the website is legitimate. After they start to invest more money, the website even shows that their investments are growing. 

Fake bitcoin trading website. Source: Reddit

But when victims want to withdraw the earnings, the website either shuts down or declines the request. If they contact “customer service” for help, scammers might even ask them to send more money. Of course, they cannot retrieve even one cent.

  • Cryptocurrency giveaway scams

We have heard too many stories about cryptocurrency giveaway scams using celebrities’ or famous companies’ names, such as Elon Musk or Tesla. 

Using text messages, emails, or social media like Facebook, Steam, and Discord, scammers impersonate these big brands and falsely claim that they are giving away free cryptocurrency. Victims are to click on an attached link to register for the giveaway campaign, whereas all the data they submit will end up in the scammers’ hands and be used for other scams like identity theft.

Cryptocurrency_Tesla
Bitcoin giveaway scam text message. Source: Reddit

Some scammers trick victims into investing in cryptocurrency in a romance scam. They first reach out to victims via social media or online dating sites and get close to them. After victims believe they are in a relationship, scammers start to talk about investment opportunities in cryptocurrency, luring victims to join in by wiring money or through phishing links to fake investment websites.

  • Cryptocurrency scams by impersonators

Scammers also love to impersonate the government or other organizations to trick people. For example, they pretend to be from the Social Security Administration and ask victims to pay with cryptocurrency. 

Or, they pose as Coinbase and send text messages with phishing links to victims, falsely claiming that there are issues with their accounts and ask them to check their account status via the link. Scammers can then take over their accounts with the credentials victims enter.

Coinbase
Coinbase scam text message. Source: Reddit

The list of examples goes on.

Some red flags:


According to the FTC, it is highly possible to be a cryptocurrency scam if you see these:

  • Promises of guaranteed huge returns
  • Claiming to have a better way to make a profit with cryptocurrency
  • Insisting on cryptocurrency

How to protect yourself from cryptocurrency scams:

  • Be smart with your personal information.
  • Never invest unless you fully understand the investment. Check if your broker/adviser is registered on FINRA’s Broker Check website or at the SEC Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also has a list of questions that prospective investors should ask before handing over their money.
  • Check the safety of web addresses using Trend Micro Check. 

Send a link or a screenshot of suspicious text messages to Trend Micro Check on WhatsApp for immediate scam detection:

Send a link or a screenshot of suspicious text messages to Trend Micro Check on WhatsApp for immediate scam detection:

Trend Micro Check WhatsApp
Trend Micro Check is available on WhatsApp.

Trend Micro Check is also available as a Chrome extension.
It will block dangerous sites for you automatically:

TMC Amazon Prime Day scam
Trend Micro Check blocks dangerous sites for you automatically.

Or download Trend Micro Maximum Security for a wider range of protection, including:

  • Web Threat Protection when browsing the internet, defending you against bad websites that can steal your data or download malicious files.
  • Machine Learning, to protect you from new and unknown threats.
  • Ransomware protection via Folder Shield, to stop unauthorized changes and back-up files encrypted by suspicious programs.
  • Anti-phishing and anti-spam protection for Outlook clients, as well as Gmail and Outlook webmail on the PC, and Gmail webmail on the Mac.
  • Privacy Scanner (for Facebook and Twitter), Social Networking Protection for protection against malicious links in social networks, Pay Guard for protecting your online banking and buying.
  • Parental Controls to limit which software and websites you kids may use.

Also, if you spot a cryptocurrency scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov to help more people.

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