There’s no doubt about it, cryptocurrency is increasingly entering into the main fray as a currency of choice. Also on the rise are cryptocurrency-related scams are also on the rise. Business Insider reports that the estimated number of global crypto users has passed 100 million – and boomers are now getting drawn to bitcoin too.
A report from exchange Crypto.com estimates there were 106 million crypto users around the world in January. Just last month, the number up crypto users jumped 16%. A separate survey from financial advisory group deVere found 70% of its clients over the age 55 had already invested in digital currencies or were planning to do so this year, despite bitcoin and others being strongly associated with younger, millennial investors.
According to the “Cryptocurrency Scam Report,” published by fraud prevention company Bolster, more than 400,000 crypto scams were created over the last year. In fact, it represents a 40% increase in comparison with the numbers seen two years ago, according to the study.
How to Help Spot Scams
If you are new to cryptocurrency, it pays to learn how to help spot cryptocurrency scams or detect cryptocurrency accounts that may be compromised. Here are some things to look out for:
1. Imposter Websites
There’s a surprising number of websites that have been set up to resemble original, valid startup companies. If there isn’t a small lock icon indicating security near the URL bar and no “https” in the site address, think twice before logging on.
Even if the site looks identical to the one you think you’re visiting, you may find yourself directed to another platform for payment. To avoid this, carefully type the exact URL into your browser. Double-check it, too.
2. Fake Mobile Apps
Another common way scammers trick cryptocurrency investors is through fake apps available for download through Google Play and the Apple App Store. Although stakeholders can often quickly find these fake apps and get them removed, that doesn’t mean the apps aren’t impacting many bottom lines.
Before downloading, take note for obvious misspellings in the copy or even the name of the app or for inauthentic branding with strange coloring or an incorrect logo.
3. Bad Tweets and Other Social Media Updates
If you’re following celebrities and executives on social media, you can’t be sure that you’re not following impostor accounts. The same applies to cryptocurrencies, where malicious, impersonating bots are rampant. Don’t trust offers that come from Twitter or Facebook, especially if there seems to be an impossible result. Fake social media accounts are everywhere.
If someone on these platforms asks for even a small amount of your cryptocurrency, it’s likely you can never get it back. Just because others are replying to the offer, don’t assume they aren’t bots, either.
4. Scamming Emails
Even if it looks exactly like an email you received from a legitimate cryptocurrency company, take care before investing in your digital currency. Double-check that email address and look to verify that the email address is legitimately connected to the company. And never click on a link in a message to get to a site.
Scammers often announce fake ICOs, or initial coin offerings, as a way to steal substantial funds. Don’t fall for these fake email and website offers. Take your time to look over all the details.