Be aware of cryptocurrencies scammers

by Lorraine Williamson
cryptocurrencies
del canto chambers 2

We regularly post regarding various scams to be alerted about. Today we look at cryptocurrencies and give you tips to avoid being scammed.

According to Bloomberg, in 2022 alone, around $2 billion in cryptocurrencies has been stolen through hacker attacks on some of the most well-known exchanges. In Spain, the Guardia Civil is currently working with 16 other countries throughout the EU and Latin America. They want to raise awareness about the main scams detected in cryptocurrency operations in the hope you will be able to identify how they work and what tricks the scammers use.

Countries involved

In addition to Spain, police and some prosecutors from 17 countries in Latin America and the EU (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay) are involved.

According to the Guardia Civil, this campaign against scams with cryptocurrencies is part of the European Union program EL PAcCTO, to fight against organised crime, and the CibEL@network.

17% in Spain use or own cryptocurrencies

There is a lot still unknown about cryptocurrencies. However, according to data from the Spanish ministry of Treasury 17% of the population of Spain already uses or owns cryptocurrencies. Therefore, this does not escape the recognition of criminal organisations and scammers. And as such, the general public are potential victims of this type of scam.

Examples of fictitious cryptocurrencies

The Guardia Civil gives us 6 types of fictitious cryptocurrencies they have created to use to raise awareness throughout their campaign. These are like some of the main scams already detected and include websites that simulate investment portfolios, celebrity hookups, Kiss coins, or mail coins among others.

WebCoin

With this type, they simulate cryptocurrency websites buying and selling services. As with a lot of scams these days, the level of quality can be hard to tell whether it is fake or not.

AppCoin

Similar to the above, these apps replace real investment portfolios, or at least appear that way. All they are trying to do is obtain your bank details.

BesuCoin

You may come across this type on a dating platform (or even on a physical date). Basically, after a period of grooming and seduction, they will suggest you invest in bitcoins.

CelebriCoin

These ones use images on social media of famous people as a lure to draw you in. These are not official, and again, they are only looking for your bank details.

PyramidCoin

There are lots of pyramid schemes out there that are very successful. Therefore, this takes advantage of those people who want to receive earnings by being part of a “team”. They may also encourage you to recruit others.

MailCoin

You may receive an email perhaps on the recommendation of someone you know, offering you the chance to “get rich quick”! Or they may ask you to change your password. This is similar to a lot of scams. Do not give your personal information.

Tips to avoid being scammed

Check the URL

As with any correspondence you receive which gives a website or email link, check it out before you click. Do an onine search for the company. If it has been involved in scams before, there will most likely be information for you to see.

Cumbre Villas

Too good to be true

Be wary of investments with high and fast returns. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Beware of fake profiles

People use fake profiles all the time on social media for one reason or another. Usually, the reason is not a good one. If you are approached by an individual, check out their profile. You may receive friend requests. In such cases, it is always wise to check them out first and to see what “mutual” friends you may have.

Passwords and permissions

Never give remote access to your computer or laptop unless you can trust the source. And furthermore, never give out your password or access codes.

Never commit because of a deadline

If someone is pressuring you to commit and send your information immediately, stop and think. Get some breathing space and time to check it out. If it is a genuine offer, it will still be there tomorrow or the day after.

How can you protect yourself?

You can go to Fake Coins website which has information on scams. If you are aware of or have received any such communication, you can denounce it. The number to call from Spain is 062 or email at ciberestafas@guardiacivil.org

The most striking cases of exchanges hacking

Among the most striking cases of hacks some that have occurred recently. In December 2021, one of the largest robberies took place in the cryptocurrency exchange at Bitmart. It suffered a massive hack with a total value of almost 200 million dollars due to a security breach in its hot wallets. This large-scale security breach affected ETH and BSC wallets and many users.

In the same month, another important hack took place in Binance. This is the largest and most well-known cryptocurrency exchange platform in the world. The hack in the BNB Chain has resulted in the theft of between 100 and 110 million dollars of Binance Coin. 

Just a few days before the Binance hack, a Transit Swap hack took place. This multi-chain decentralized exchange aggregator has lost nearly $21 million after a hacker attack exploited an internal flaw in an exchange contract. The company is trying to locate and recover the funds that have been stolen to repair the damage to its customers.

In September, approximately $265,000 of user funds were stolen on the decentralized exchange KyberSwap. The hacker used a frontend exploit to do this and the company went directly to the hacker to get the money back in exchange for 15% of the funds he stole. We still don’t know how this operation can end.

Attacks and hacks that have occurred in Spain

This type of hacking of cryptocurrency exchanges has also taken place in Spain. In 2020, the 2gether exchange suffered a theft of 7 million euros of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH). This ws due to Trojan malware hidden in a pirated movie. The attack, considered highly sophisticated by the Civil Guard, resulted in the arrest of 5 people who were allegedly related to this hack. It is considered the first resolved case of hacking cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

As you can see, exchange hacking is a common thing that happens with some frequency. Knowing how to choose safe exchanges is essential so that your investments in cryptocurrencies and tokens are safe from possible attacks by cybercriminals.

Related post: Bank scams alert

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