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Crypto Scams

As much as the cryptocurrency industry has offered solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges, unfortunately, it has also attracted scammers and fraudsters. In this article, we will discuss common scams in crypto, including scam coins and scams found on social media.

Table of Contents

Phishing Links and Attacks 

Phishing attacks occur when exploiters attempt to gain a user’s credentials or administrative access to assets or sensitive information. Exploiters will send an email that looks like it is coming from a legitimate source. Upon clicking on a compromised link in the email, the victim will then be directed to a socially engineered site that will collect their credentials.

A phishing attempt on a university student using a social engineering attack (Source: Imperva)

Scam Coins

A popular scam coin in the Philippines that uses influencers to attract investors

Lodicoins is a Philippine-based project that aims to “power today’s creator economy.” They have a seemingly sound roadmap and whitepaper, and they appear to be transparent about their tokenomics. However, they have been employing shilly tactics, such as using popular influencers to get people into the project.

Though this is a common practice, the influencers talking about Lodicoins clearly do not understand the entirety of the project. Other red flags include the emphasis on the low cost of Lodicoins per token and how the price action of the token was supposedly comparable to that of BTC’s over the last decade. Be wary of projects that use popular influencers, clearly employ shilly tactics, and over-emphasize the price action of the token.

Scams on Social Platforms

Many scammers use mainstream social platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Telegram to bait users into sending crypto to their wallet.

YouTube Scams

A YouTube comment thread aiming to lure people into sending crypto to an Ethereum address

  • YouTube comments

Some scammers use bots to comment on YouTube videos. These comments typically read like testimonials about how following a certain guru made the commenter a lot of money. To make the testimonials seem credible, other scam bots will reply to those comments to create the illusion that these are legitimate interactions between real people.

A scam YouTube live video showing a fireside chat with Ledger co-founder and former CEO Éric Larchevêque

  • YouTube live videos

Live videos are also used to trick people into sending their crypto to the scammer’s wallet. These live videos create a sense of urgency by using a well-known figure and claiming that there is a “big event” happening. A video loop plays while ETH and BTC addresses are displayed, and the scammer will claim that if people send value to those addresses, they will send double the value back. 

These are blatant scams, but they have been around for a long time, which suggests that these types of gimmicks still work for scammers. People who have been used as bait include Elon Musk, Charles Hoskinson, Brad Garlinghouse and Vitalik Buterin.

Twitter Scams

Fake account of a scammer on Twitter

  • Scam Twitter accounts

Twitter accounts that suddenly follow you without direct engagement are most likely scammers trying to lure people in. Most of the time, these accounts take the identity of attractive people to make them seem more approachable.

Twitter accounts impersonating CryptoWhale

  • Twitter impersonators

There are tons of Twitter accounts that impersonate people by copying their profile pictures and making subtle changes to their handle. For example, an impersonator of @emfarsis might use @emfarsis_ or @_emfarsis. 

After luring users in, the impersonator will offer mentorship programs or investment opportunities that promise big returns. Of course, these are scams. Another example is @KoroushAK, Koroush Khaneghah’s original account with more than 350,000 followers, being copied by the fake account @KoroushBTC, which only has 100 followers. 

Especially now that anyone can get a blue checkmark if they are a paid Twitter subscriber, keep an eye out for telltale signs that an account is fake. Besides a low follower count, you can also check whether the account was only created recently and if there aren’t any legitimate accounts following it.

Fake Telegram Channels

Fake BreederDAO channels on Telegram 

Another common scamming technique is to add people from a crypto Telegram channel into a new one that is very similar to the original. Other variations of this tactic will label it as a subchannel. For example, from the BreederDAO – Official Channel, scammers can create a BreederDAO – Announcements channel.

Facebook Impersonators

Facebook post of a Yield Guild Games (YGG) impersonator aiming to scam people

Preventing impersonation scams is all about being smart and savvy when it comes to your personal information. One of the biggest red flags to watch out for are unsolicited requests for sensitive data, whether it’s over the phone or through email. If you receive a call or message from someone claiming to be a well-known organization, don’t just blindly trust them. Do your due diligence and contact the organization directly to verify the request. 

Be cautious of links and attachments from unknown sources as well. Phishing scams often disguise themselves as trusted sources, but the links can lead to fake sites that steal your information. Before you click, take a moment to hover over the link and make sure it’s from a reputable source. 

And finally, be wary of giveaways that promise prizes or rewards in exchange for payment or sensitive information. Legit organizations will never ask for that kind of stuff.