Bitcoin (BTC) is the best known, oldest and most established cryptocurrency. As its use is widespread, unfortunately there are various scams on the web, which we will provide an overview of, in order to help you protect your wallet and reduce the risks .
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How to avoid a bitcoin scam?
- Beware of overly attractive offers
- Absence of legal notices on the site = danger
- Check the opinions of other Internet users
- Verify that the registered office exists
- Check that the broker is registered with a regulator (Cysec, etc.)
Bitcoin scam: what is it?
In the media, at work, with family, friends or on the Internet, we sometimes hear about “ Bitcoin scams ” or “scams”. For some, the BTC would be a scam all along the line. For others, the number 1 crypto is a currency to be reckoned with, but also a “universe” in which you have to watch your back if you do not want to be the victim of a scam . But who is right and who is wrong? And what exactly are we talking about when we talk about BTC deception ?
Bitcoin , scam or not ? No need to prolong the suspense: no, BTC is no more a scam than any other asset . Time has proven it. As the years go by, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies become more popular. Today, we can say that cryptos are part of mass culture. But the fact remains that BTC scams do exist.
In this article, we’ll help you spot BTC and cryptocurrency scams to protect your wallet . Ponzi pyramid, webcam , mirror sites, bitcoin internet blackmail and on social networks, on video platform, bitcoin hacker scam , by email or phishing, BTC robots, Pump and Dump, ICO… After briefly explaining each risk to you , we We will talk about the AMF, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, and give you our advice on how to differentiate a bitcoin scam from a genuine good plan .
The Most Common Bitcoin Scams
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of bitcoin scams .
The Ponzi Pyramid
The Ponzi pyramid or pyramid scheme is a well-known blockchain fraud , and not only in the field of bitcoins. It’s a very illegal fraud, where a site or a scammer makes you a tempting offer: to invest in Bitcoin with an abnormally high interest rate.
Example: you are offered a return, that is to say an interest rate of 95%, or almost one bitcoin earned for each BTC purchased. Do not get fooled ! Too many people enter the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain without having studied them. Here, what should put you on the alert is that such a high interest rate is too good to be true . And for good reason: you are facing a classic Bitcoin scam .
As part of a Ponzi pyramid , if a BTC “seller” promises you such an interest rate, it is because each new “pigeon” is paid with the money of the next one. This is called a speculative bubble . The problem with this type of bubble? As soon as the new arrivals dry up, the bubble bursts, and the site or the individual is no longer able to pay its investors. With this scheme, you risk losing all your money.
Another popular bitcoin scam : the mirror site . As its name suggests, the mirror site is a reproduction of another site. Except that here, only the appearance is real. On this kind of sites, which can for example reproduce the appearance of a famous cryptocurrency platform like eToro, you will be offered to buy bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies … But without giving you anything in return. In other words, as soon as you send your money, it will be lost.
Fortunately, it is very easy to determine whether you are dealing with a mirror site or an authentic site. The rule is to always type the URL yourself into your search bar. Do not click on links from unknown sites! This is the best way to fall victim to deception at the mirror site. If in doubt, check the site address in your Internet browser’s search bar. If there is any difference with the official URL of the site concerned, flee.
Bitcoin scam: video platform
BTC – and other cryptocurrencies – scams on video platforms work the same way as on social networks. Again, it is often an “influencer” who promises you mountains and wonders in exchange for an initial investment.
Don’t be fooled: always check the site’s URL, comments in the video, recommendations on cryptocurrency sites, and so on. For example, if a video site sends you to the Bitcoin Code , Bitcoin Evolution , or Bitcoin Trader sites , be aware that all three are known to use the Ponzi scheme fraud, which we have already mentioned. Choose reliable platforms such as eToro or Libertex .
Another risk : many hackers, or hackers, are followers of the bitcoin mail scam . How does this blockchain scam work ? One fine day, you open your mailbox and you find a message there, where a hacker explains to you that he has taken control of your computer. In this case, specialists speak of “spoofing”. The hacker explains to you that he can now follow all your activities via a “Trojan horse”, in other words an undetectable virus.
Most of the time, the hacker explains to you that he has filmed you, using your webcam, consulting pornographic sites. He asks you for a ransom in bitcoins . If you do not give him this ransom within a short time, the hacker specifies that he will broadcast to all your contacts (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) his famous video of you facing an adult site.
Do not fall into the trap ! This bitcoin mail fraud is well known. If the message didn’t arrive directly in your spam, mark it as such, throw it in the trash, and forget it. Nothing will happen to you: it’s simply a bluff. Here, it is up to you to inform the police or not.
Bitcoin Scam: Phishing
Bitcoin France scam : what is phishing , or “phishing”? In 2021, the amount of BTC thus stolen is estimated at nearly half a million euros. During this Bitcoin deception , a hacker will, for example, pay for an advertising insert on a search engine, such as Google, so as to appear when you carry out a search related to your cryptocurrency portfolio.
The goal is to send you to a mirror site , which will ask you for your username and password to access your wallet. You can avoid this trap by following the advice mentioned above when we talked about mirror sites.
If you invest in this cryptocurrency, beware of trading robots ! Some sites that use such “bots” are known to be bitcoin scams . This is the case, for example, of fraudulent sites such as Bitcoin Evolution , Bitcoin Revolution , or Bitcoin Trader .
In general, these sites offer you to test a Bitcoin trading robot for free for your transactions on blockchain assets . During this free trial, everything is going well. But, as soon as you switch from “demo” mode to “real” mode, the gains are much more difficult to obtain, if not simply impossible. And if you try to complain and get your money back, you’ll quickly realize that the “robot” doesn’t care, since it was created from scratch to be a scam .
Pump and Dump groups
When we talk about “pump and dump”, we are referring to a Bitcoin scam on Facebook or Telegram groups. Even if some of these groups contain many participants, beware. The scam here consists of manipulating very small capitalization cryptocurrencies. Thus, you will lose money in any case when the prices collapse, and for good reason: it is the pirates themselves who will have voluntarily caused this collapse.
ICO (Initial Coin Offering)
Do you know the term ICO ? This English acronym stands for “ Initial Coin Offering ”. Please note that not all ICOs are Bitcoin scams . But in some cases, during an ICO, you will be offered to buy supposedly promising new cryptocurrencies for bitcoins, with the promise of an incredible return on investment. How not to be fooled and differentiate the authentic ICO from the fraudulent ICO?
To make sure you are using a legal and regulated site, the easiest way is to use a reputable and reliable platform , such as eToro . But you can also check that the site has not been pinned by the Autorité des marchés (see below), and that it does have PSI (Service Provider) status.
Check the AMF list
How to spot Bitcoin deceptions ? To help you identify sites to avoid and likely to be scams, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers has set up a black and white list.
One of the tools that the market regulator provides to bitcoin users is the “AMF blacklist”. If in doubt about a CFD trading site or platform, do not hesitate to consult it on the internet.
This page of the AMF is updated regularly and it lists the sites to avoid, in France, when one wishes to embark on the investment or the trading on the bitcoins. This will allow you to avoid scammers as much as possible, and guarantee the protection of your funds.
The AMF is a French financial institution created in 2003. Its goal? To act as a regulator and “whistleblower” in the field of Bitcoin fraud . Thus, the regulator identifies and pins the scammers, which it then classifies in its blacklist .
Currently, here are, for example, some of the robots present in the regulator’s blacklist , which are therefore to be avoided at all costs:
- Bitcoin Era
- Bitcoin Prime
- Bitcoin Trader
- Bitcoin Revolution
- Bitcoin Evolution
- bitcoin profit
- bitcoin bank
- Bitcoin Circuit
In addition to blacklist sites , the regulator provides a white list of PSANs (Digital Asset Service Providers). To integrate this, each platform must in particular have civil liability insurance, actively fight against money laundering, or provide its customers with simple and effective means of filing complaints.
Some examples of sites approved by the AMF:
- Cybercurrency counter
- Bitcoin Avenue
Bitcoin Scam of the Century: Top 5 Biggest Scams
Before we wrap up, a quick note on five of the biggest Bitcoin scams of all time.
The Onecoin Pyramid Scheme
A Ponzi pyramid having made more than 3 million victims worldwide, for a theft estimated by justice at 4 billion dollars.
The BitConnect Exchange
BitConnect was a cryptocurrency that gave rise to the biggest collapse in value in the history of cryptos. It went from being worth $500 to being worth $1 before disappearing.
The 169 million Quadriga fraud
A Canadian site having lost millions of dollars to its users, because it was none other than a Ponzi scheme.
Bitclub Network and bitcoin mining
Another Ponzi scheme, with a site that promised to mine bitcoins, even though it didn’t even have the necessary equipment.
PinCoin And IFan: A Scam Based On The Ponzi Scheme
A scam that brought in $660 million to its creators by making false promises to investors.
Tips to Secure Your BTC Wallet and Outsmart the Bitcoin Scam
How to avoid any abuse, and any misappropriation of funds on your BTC wallets? The first good plan to thwart any imposture or deception is to store your bitcoins in an “offline” wallet, not connected to the web. For your information, this type of wallet is similar to a USB key. Other anti-fraud info: don’t forget to regularly back up your wallet. You will be able to recover it in case of theft. If you opt for this trick, also encrypt the backup.
Another remedy against bitcoin fraud, imposture, deception and scam is to encrypt your wallet. This involves creating a passphrase that will lock your cryptocurrency accounts and wallets. To protect yourself from any deception, do not forget to choose a password that is difficult to decipher (a sequence of letters, numbers, capital letters and special characters). And this password, store it only on paper or in your head. Warning: if you forget it, it may be difficult to recover your capital. So keep it in a safe place!
o protect the euros earned with your cryptocurrencies from scams, we recommend that you regularly update the software . Always use the latest version available. Finally, the blockchain security of your money goes through the multi-signature function (where any transaction on your wallet must be approved by a minimum of three users) and through two-factor authentication (2FA) , thanks to which the passwords your accounts password will be twice as protected.
Conclusion on bitcoin scam
As a conclusion, remember that it is entirely possible, and even common, to invest in Bitcoin safely . If you follow these tips to avoid any problems in the near future . Remember to inform yourself before using this or that platform and, if in doubt, repatriate yourself to a safe bet, such as eToro.
Bitcoin Scam FAQ
How to avoid a bitcoin scam?
To avoid Bitcoin fraud, the easiest way is to follow our advice, and always opt for a reliable and secure platform.
Bitcoin scam or good plan?
BTC is neither a scam nor a good plan: it is a currency that can be used for multiple purposes.
What are bitcoin scams?
The Ponzi scheme is the most well-known bitcoin scam.
Mirror sites, fake ICOs, phishing and pump and dump are other common examples.
Is bitcoin a scam?
No, Bitcoin is not a scam: it is a tool, which can be used both legally and fraudulently.