Is it just me, or does it seem that any time a really great tool comes along that advances humanity for the better there is some jackass that decides to use that same great tool to scam people out of their hard earned money. This pitfall is not a new idea and has been happening since the concept of "mine" was first derived. The scammers are out there in EVERY industry and the emerging world of cryptocurrency is a prime target for a scam. Follow The 'Stache for my top 11 tips to avoid being scammed out of your hard earned cryptocurrency.
- Coin or project is “overly hyped”. If you start to see tons of banners and obvious fake accounts all pushing a new coin and over hyping it make sure you take caution and do research.
- Portrayed as a guaranteed investment. When it comes to investing, there really is no such thing as a "guaranteed" investment. Very rare cases aside, this is a good rule of thumb.
- Only use trusted, peer reviewed software. I try to always use well reviewed, open source software and avoid obscure wallets or desktop software for crypto type stuffs.
- Careful of clicking on links from unsolicited emails. This is a favorite tactic of scammers, always be mindful of this, especially if your email is public like a small business owner.
- Never engage in transactions over social media. I have had quite a few obviously fake profiles try to get me to buy or sell Bitcoin to them on Facebook, no real trader or legit person does this out of the blue, beware!
- Watch for phishing attempts, especially on website URLs. This is always a tricky one to avoid, but watch for misspelled urls or copy websites that will trick you into giving up your coins. These seem to be rampant right now!
- Is it open source? If not, make sure to do extra research. While most crypto follows a transparent and open source motto, some do not and while it may not always be a bad sign I do love to support the ethos of open source so I tend to do a tiny bit more research in the case of something that isn't.
- Pump and Dump’s can be avoided by doing your own research. This classic scam has also been a favorite of crypto scammers on youtube and beyond. Don't fall for it, do your own research and don't go "all in".
- Website or message has very bad grammar or spelling.
- Don’t click on shortened links from untrusted sources like: goo.gl/aDRgis Many scammers use link shortners to mask or hide where they are sending you. This is not always the case, but always take caution with this.
- If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. This age old advice works well in crypto too, if you almost can't believe the deal is this good it probably isn't. Stay on your toes and do your own research (I know I keep saying this but... you should!).
If you follow these tips you are less likely to be hit by a scammer. I can't stress enough the need to always do your own research. If a prince from a far away land emails you about a large inheritance of cryptocurrency you SHOULD know what to do after reading this article (hint: the answers is NOT give him your private keys!). Stay safe out there!