Learn About The Dangers Surrounding Cryptocurrency Theft in 2022
Excerpt: There are two basic ways for criminals to gain cryptocurrency: outright stealing it or utilizing a scheme to dupe individuals into handing it over. According to Chainalysis, crypto criminals stole a record US$3.2 billion (A$4.48 billion) in bitcoin in 2021. This represents a fivefold increase over 2020. However, schemes continue to outnumber blatant theft, allowing scammers to entice unwary victims into handing over US$7.8 billion (A$10.95 billion) in cryptocurrencies.
Have you been a victim of cryptocurrency theft before? Or have you ever avoided investing in cryptocurrency because you were afraid of being duped? If so, this article is your ultimate guide to educating yourself on the subject, warning signals to look for, and how to safeguard yourself and your cryptocurrencies from getting into the hands of the wrong people. There are two basic ways for criminals to gain cryptocurrency: outright stealing it or utilizing a scheme to dupe individuals into handing it over. According to Chainalysis, crypto criminals stole a record US$3.2 billion (A$4.48 billion) in bitcoin in 2021.
This represents a fivefold increase over 2020. However, schemes continue to outnumber blatant theft, allowing scammers to entice unwary victims into handing over US$7.8 billion (A$10.95 billion) in cryptocurrencies. Crypto crime is a rapidly expanding industry. The advent of the crypto economy and decentralized finance, combined with record cryptocurrency values in 2021, has created attractive opportunities for crooks. Australian data backup worldwide trends. From 1,985 reports, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission claimed that more than A$26 million was lost to bitcoin scams in 2020. Federal police warned ABC in December that crypto fraud losses for 2021 would reach A$100 million. This is regardless of the fact that many incidents are likely to go unnoticed, often due to victim shame.
When investigating cryptocurrency hacking, it’s critical to comprehend the scope of the industry and how valuable it might be to criminals. The bitcoin business is over $1 trillion as of 2021, and it is expected to expand much more in 2022. The first bitcoin hack occurred in 2011, and criminality has continued to rise since then. On a global scale, analysts estimate that billions of dollars have been lost every year since the advent of cryptocurrencies in 2009. In 2018, $1.7 billion was stolen, $4.5 billion was taken in 2019, and $1.9 billion was stolen in 2020. It’s tough to get a precise figure for how much Bitcoin was stolen. It is, nevertheless, the most widely used sort of cryptocurrency on the market. In 2021 alone, $14 billion in cryptocurrencies was stolen, with a large portion of this owing to bitcoin hacking attacks.
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Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: The Underlying Purpose of Cryptocurrency Theft
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have gained in popularity, particularly as a way of payment for goods and services on Web3, the projected next version of the internet. However, as more money floods into the so-far unregulated currencies, official scrutiny grows. On February 17, the US Justice Department announced the launch of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team to monitor blockchains, the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies, for any illicit wealth.
It will collaborate with a variety of organizations, including the FBI’s newly formed Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit, which will also focus on bitcoin. While cryptocurrencies have many legal applications, they are also exploited for money laundering. According to a recent examination of 29 unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges where users can trade the currencies, up to 70% of cryptocurrency trades were “wash trading” — when an investor sells and buys the same commodity to create false interest in an investment, often distorting the price. This study looked at exchanges up until 2019.
According to a more recent investigation undertaken by blockchain analytics company Chainalysis, at least $25 billion of cryptocurrency housed on exchanges comes from illegal sources. This compared to estimates of $800 billion to $2 trillion in money laundering worldwide each year. Criminals are interested in cryptocurrency because it is frequently stored in big sums and can be transferred instantly and discreetly from anywhere with only a private key or passcode.
CHAPTER 2: The Dangers That Surround Cryptocurrency Theft
Along with the surge in cryptocurrency interest, there is a rising demand for clarity on the legal consequences of these new currencies and the technologies that power them. Around the world, regulatory organizations, tax officials, and central banks are all attempting to comprehend the nature and significance of digital currencies. Individual investors, on the other hand, can make a lot of money by investing in them, but they also face significant legal dangers when they buy and sell cryptocurrencies.
Much of the legal ambiguity surrounding cryptocurrency originates from its youth in comparison to more established currencies and payment systems. The risks are broadly classified as follows:
- Password or private key theft – this can occur in a variety of ways, including stealing or hacking into your device, getting the paper key, compromising your email account, or using malicious software.
- Spoofs and frauds – a crook purporting to be a reputable recipient or site dupe you into transferring payments to the wrong address.
- Exchange hacks – Exchanges are popular targets for hackers because they frequently hold millions of dollars in bitcoin. In 2019 alone, almost $1 billion has been stolen.
- Exit scams – your funds are stolen by the exchange or custodial service you are utilizing.
- Criminal extortion – you are forced to allow access to or transfer funds against your will due to violence or the fear of harm.
CHAPTER 3: The Causes Contributing To A Rise in Crypto Theft
The value of cryptocurrencies, like the value of anything else that people want, is determined by supply and demand. When demand exceeds supply, the price rises. For example, if there is a drought, the price of grain and products rises even if demand remains constant. Cryptocurrencies follow the same supply and demand basis.
When demand exceeds supply, cryptocurrency gains value. A cryptocurrency’s supply method is always known; each cryptocurrency discloses its token minting and burning plans. Some, like Bitcoin, have a set maximum supply; we know there will never be more than 21 million Bitcoins. Others, like Ether (CRYPTO: ETH), have no production limit. Several cryptocurrencies have processes in place to “burn” old tokens, preventing the circulating supply from becoming too large and delaying inflation. To burn a token, send it to an unrecoverable blockchain address.
Each cryptocurrency has its own monetary policy. With each new block mined on the network, the Bitcoin supply grows by a predetermined amount. Ethereum provides a predetermined reward per block mined, but it also pays out for adding “uncle blocks” in the new block, which increases the blockchain’s efficiency. Consequently, the increase in supply is less predictable. Some cryptocurrency supplies are entirely set by the project’s management team, which may decide to give more tokens to the public or burn tokens to control the money supply. Demand can rise as a project becomes more well-known or as utility prices rise.
Increased acceptance of a cryptocurrency as an investment boosts demand while effectively limiting circulating supply. For example, when institutional investors began buying and holding Bitcoin in early 2021, the price of Bitcoin skyrocketed as demand outpaced the rate at which new coins were generated, thus reducing the total accessible supply of Bitcoin. Similarly, as more decentralized finance (DeFi) projects debut on the Ethereum blockchain, so does the need for Ether. Whatever coin you’re dealing with, you’ll need Ether to complete a transaction on the blockchain. Alternatively, if a DeFi project takes off on its own, its own token will become more useful, raising demand.
CHAPTER 4: What Sort of People Are Crypto Scammers Targeting
There has been fraud for as long as humans have invested money. Cryptocurrency simply creates new avenues for the repackaging of common investment scams. There is additional potential for investment fraud with the introduction of various forms of cryptocurrencies following the success of Bitcoin.
Various investor safeguards established through government regulation are less effective for people who are victims of this form of fraud. Despite the fact that huge investors lose large sums, these frauds are increasingly targeting the general public and small investors. Investment fraud accounts for a sizable amount of bitcoin reported to BBB Scam Tracker, which is expected to more than double between 2019 and 2021. Furthermore, the FTC and the CAFC both record a significant number of bitcoin investment complaints and millions of dollars lost to these schemes.
The two greatest age groups reporting bitcoin scams were those aged 25 to 34, with 29 percent, and those aged 35 to 44, with 27 percent. Men and women reported similar numbers of cryptocurrency-related frauds. “Scams always adapt; they’re like viruses. They mutate, they adapt, they find stuff that works,” said Steve Baker, an international investigator with the Better Business Bureau. “Then they expand in those nations, and they have really found cryptocurrency.” According to Baker, bitcoin scams have become the second-most common sort of fraud recorded. Victims lost $750 million in total last year, with the majority of victims aged 25 to 44.
CHAPTER 5: How Do Cryptocurrency Theft Schemes Operate?
Fraudsters will cold call victims and promote ‘get rich quick’ investments in cryptocurrency mining and trading, such as Bitcoin, on social media sites. Fraudsters will persuade victims to join bitcoin investing websites and provide personal information such as credit card numbers and driving license numbers in order to start a trading account. The victim will then make a small first deposit, and the fraudster will contact them to convince them to invest again in order to make a larger profit. Victims have discovered that they have been duped in some situations, but only after the website has been shut down and the suspects can no longer be contacted.
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CHAPTER 6: The Various Types of Cryptocurrency Thefts
Cryptocurrency investments are currently one of the hottest subjects in the investing industry. Investors buy digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin on cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase with the expectation of later selling them for a profit. However, it also comes with a higher risk: bitcoin scams. Hackers use a variety of tactics to steal your money, including hacking your cryptocurrency accounts and creating fictitious currencies. And, as bitcoin’s popularity grows, so do cryptocurrency scams. Scam initial coin offers, pump and dump schemes, Ponzi schemes, attacks on your digital wallet, and other scam schemes are all examples of cryptocurrency fraud and scams.
Scam Initial Coin Offerings
Following the introduction of cryptocurrencies, the field of digital assets saw a surge in interest from institutional investors. In the case of ICOs, however, there were numerous scams involving the disappearance of companies after large sums of money had been received. We investigate how well one can forecast whether an offering will turn out to be a scam based on ex-ante qualities.
As a result, we investigate which of these features are the most important predictors of fraud and how they influence the likelihood of a scam. We use thorough data with 160 features from about 300 ICOs that took place before March 2018 and successfully raised the majority of their required funds. In order to discover the most important indicators of an offering’s failure and comprehend the structure of relationships, various machine learning algorithms are used in conjunction with unique XAI tools. It turns out that based on existing ex-ante variables, one can anticipate a scam with an accuracy of 65–70% and that nonlinear machine learning models outperform classical logistic regression and its regularized extensions.
Over the last three to four years, there has been a surge in interest in the adoption and use of digital assets such as cryptocurrencies. These products gained popularity for the first time during the 2017–2018 craze when their capitalization hit around one trillion dollars. According to data provider coinmarketcap.com, the peak of cryptocurrency daily trading volume in 2017 reached the NYSE’s average daily volume. Today, there is a second wave of increased interest in cryptos, with the market value reaching about $2.3 trillion.
Most digital tokens, unlike centralized electronic money and central financial institutions, are not controlled by a single entity. These decentralized systems are controlled by a blockchain, which is an open and distributed ledger that is constantly expanding. The advent of cryptocurrencies and coins resulted in the creation of new disruptive products such as DeFi 1, NFT 2, and initial coin offerings. Innovative initiatives necessitate financial resources in order to prosper (Gompers and Lerner, 2004). Because of their decentralized structure, digital assets can only be funded through initial coin offers rather than all of the traditional channels (Chohan, 2017).
In the case of ICOs, new businesses raise funding by selling tokens to a group of investors. ICOs allow startups to raise substantial sums of financing with little effort and without incurring regulatory or middleman charges (Kaal and Dell’Erba, 2018). This field is still in its infancy and lacks transparency. Because there is so little objective information available about ICOs, there is a high possibility of fraud (Shifflett and Jones, 2018). Despite the fact that ICOs can provide fair and legal investment opportunities, the ease of crowdfunding provides opportunities and incentives for unscrupulous businesses to use ICOs to execute “pump and dump” schemes, in which ICO initiators raise the value of the crowdfunded cryptocurrency before quickly “dumping” the coins for a profit (Bian et al., 2018). The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States issued a warning to investors about ICOs due to the huge investment risk involved, but it also emphasized their inventive potential (OECD, 2019).
Pump and Dump Schemes
A pump-and-dump scheme is a deceptive scheme that aims to raise the price of a stock or security by making false recommendations. These recommendations are based on statements that are inaccurate, misleading, or excessively overstated. The perpetrators of a pump-and-dump scam already have a position in the company’s stock and will sell their positions once the hype has caused the share price to rise.
Cryptocurrency may offer a fresh twist on the classic pump and dump plan, in which stockholders attempt to push up the price before selling off their shares at an artificial peak. This is frequent in the crypto world during the ICO stage and even beyond when misleading claims can hype up demand and allow the cryptocurrency’s originators or majority holders to reap enormous bogus profits. According to securities law, this activity is prohibited and can result in large fines. The industry’s rising popularity of cryptocurrencies has led to the emergence of pump-and-dump operations.
Cold calling was frequently used to undertake pump-and-dump schemes. With the introduction of the internet, the majority of this activity has transferred online; fraudsters can now send hundreds of thousands of email messages to naïve targets or post messages online enticing investors to buy a stock swiftly. These messages generally claim to have inside information about a forthcoming event that will result in a big increase in the share price. When buyers enter the market, and the stock rises dramatically, the perpetrators of the pump-and-dump scam sell their shares.
In these cases, the volume of these shares sold is frequently large, leading the stock price to plummet dramatically. In the end, many investors suffer massive losses. Pump-and-dump strategies typically target micro-and small-cap stocks on less regulated over-the-counter exchanges than official exchanges. Because they are easier to manipulate, micro-cap and small-cap stocks are preferred for this type of abusive behavior. Micro-cap firms, in general, have a limited float, low trading volumes, and little company information. As a result, a huge number of new buyers is not required to considerably boost the value of a stock.
A pump-and-dump scheme occurs when a group of traders, such as the founders or collaborators of a coin, spreads misleading or false information in order to increase the price of an asset before selling their shares at a higher price. This can result in significant losses for regular investors, and it is especially likely to occur when buyers are unfamiliar with a currency and are misled by internet advertisements. In a mostly unregulated investing area, things can grow a lot more complicated. While pump-and-dump schemes are outlawed in the stock market, fraudsters are taking advantage of the opportunity to explore what they can get away with within the cryptocurrency market.
According to Carlton, every crypto pump-and-dump scheme follows the same basic formula. “The way they work is they create a token, and they want to take it as high as they can, so they go onto social media and talk about the things they are doing, they share memes and get people onto their channel,” Carlton explained. “The first list someplace like CoinGecko, then CoinMarketCap, and each listing expands them to a broader audience.” When there are a large number of holders, the scam may begin to advertise on buses and billboards or utilize influencers to push their token, according to Carlton. The next stage is to list the token on one or more of the major exchanges, such as Coinbase or Binance, which will expose it to a much larger audience. Unlike in many other types of financial fraud, the goal is not to target a certain set of people but to involve as many as possible.
Crypto investments can potentially be used as a vehicle for a classic Ponzi scheme, in which new adopters are required to provide fake returns to early adopters. Purported investments in burgeoning crypto markets can also be used for the ostensible purpose of Ponzi schemes. Because cryptocurrency is generally misunderstood, it might serve as an excellent cover for a fraudulent enterprise.
Ponzi schemes, named after Charles Ponzi and made famous recently by Bernie Madoff, promise large returns on initial investments. These profits attract more new investors, whose funds are utilized to pay the returns to early participants rather than any increase in value. However, there comes a moment when there is insufficient new money to compensate investors, and the system fails. The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a warning to investors about this form of fraud. The SEC said that cryptocurrency lending platform BitConnect was a Ponzi scheme that cost investors $2 billion in one example.
BitConnect’s owner has since been charged. A Ponzi scheme is an asset class scheme in which new investors’ funds are used to pay out stated returns to existing investors. Ponzi scheme organizers frequently attract new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities that promise big returns with little or no risk. Instead of engaging in legal investment activity, the fraudulent actors in many Ponzi schemes concentrate on acquiring additional money in order to make promised payments to previous investors, as well as diverting some of these “invested” funds for personal gain. Every year, the seC investigates and prosecutes numerous Ponzi scheme cases in order to protect new victims and maximize asset recovery for investors.
Ponzi scheme organizers, like many other fraudsters, frequently leverage the latest innovation, technology, product, or burgeoning industry to recruit investors and promise big profits. When evaluating anything unique, new, or “cutting-edge,” potential investors are frequently less cautious of the investment prospect. Virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, have recently gained popularity and are designed to function as a form of money. They can be traded on online exchanges for traditional currencies such as the US dollar, or they can be used to acquire goods or services, usually online.
We are concerned that the increasing usage of virtual currencies in the global economy would attract fraudsters to seduce investors into Ponzi and other schemes in which these currencies are used to support fraudulent, or simply faked, investments or transactions. An unlicensed offering or trading platform may potentially be involved in the fraud. These schemes frequently offer big returns in exchange for getting in on the ground floor of a growing Internet phenomenon. Fraudsters may be drawn to using virtual currencies to commit fraud because transactions in virtual currencies are said to have more privacy benefits and less regulatory supervision than transactions in traditional currencies. Irrespective of whether the investment is made in US dollars or a virtual currency, every investment in securities in the US is subject to the seC’s jurisdiction. Individuals selling investments, in particular, are often subject to federal or state licensing requirements.
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Many Ponzi schemes have elements in common, here are a few red flags
Returns on investment that are high with minimal or no risk
Every investment involves some level of risk, and higher-yielding investments often carry more risk. “Guaranteed” investment profits or promises of high returns for little risk should be approached with caution.
Returns are exceedingly constant
Investments, particularly those seeking large returns, tend to fluctuate over time. Be wary of any investment that produces constant returns independent of market conditions. Investing in unregistered securities. Ponzi schemes often involve unregistered investments with the seC or state securities authorities.
Unlicensed vendors Certain investment professionals and their firms are required by federal and state securities regulations to be licensed or registered
Many Ponzi schemes are run by unlicensed individuals or unregistered businesses. Strategies and fee structures that are secretive and/or sophisticated. It is a good rule of thumb to avoid investments that you do not fully comprehend or for which you cannot obtain thorough information.
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There are no minimum investor requirements
The majority of legal private investment opportunities necessitate that you be an approved investor. You should be extremely wary of investment possibilities that do not inquire about your salary or net worth. There are paperwork issues. Be suspicious of justifications for why you can’t evaluate investment information in writing. Before investing, always read and carefully evaluate the prospectus or disclosure statement for the investment. Keep an eye out for errors in account statements, which could indicate fraudulent activity.
Receiving payments is difficult
If you do not receive a payout or have problems cashing out your money, be wary. Ponzi scheme organizers may tempt participants to “roll over” promised payments by promising larger investment returns. It comes from someone with whom you share a bond. Fraudsters frequently take advantage of the trust that comes from belonging to a group that shares an affinity, such as a national, ethnic, or religious association. Respected leaders or famous members are occasionally enlisted, consciously or unknowingly, to spread the news about the “investment.”
Attack on Your Digital Wallet
Cryptocurrency cannot be stored in a traditional bank account. A cryptocurrency wallet, often known as a crypto wallet, is the most common way to store them. A crypto wallet might be a hardware device, software, or a service provided by a cryptocurrency exchange.
It maintains the cryptographic keys required to access your crypto investments and acts as a digital signature for crypto purchases. One issue with crypto wallets, as previously stated, is the potential of hacking. However, some fraudsters do not go to the trouble of hacking into legitimate cryptocurrency wallets. Instead, they sell counterfeits online or through mobile app stores. The scammers own the master keys to these bogus wallets, allowing them to access everything saved within them. A good example is the 2017 Bitcoin Gold wallet scam. A cunning hacker persuaded the founders of Bitcoin Gold, a freshly established, authorized fork of Bitcoin, to promote the website mybtgwallet.com for storing it.
The site’s creator then stole more than $3 million in Bitcoin and more than $200,000 in other currencies. To avoid having your cryptocurrency stolen by a scammer, only choose well-known crypto wallet providers with a track record of success (our favorite is Coinbase). The most secure method is to keep the majority of your investments in a “cold” wallet that is not connected to the internet. Only transfer cryptocurrency from there to your Internet-connected “hot” wallet when you need it to conduct a deal.
CHAPTER 7: What Is The Government Doing to Avoid Cryptocurrency Theft?
Because of an increase in cryptocurrency-related crimes, federal law enforcement is seizing a large amount of bitcoin. The US government is now determining what to do with all of it. Anchorage Digital, a tiny bitcoin storage platform, stated that it had obtained a contract from the Department of Justice to hold and dispose of digital assets seized by federal law enforcement following criminal investigations.
The government has effectively hired a bank to store and sell billions of dollars in forfeited cryptocurrency, including large amounts of bitcoin and Ethereum. Anchorage Digital, situated in San Francisco, is a logical candidate for a partner because it is the first federally chartered crypto bank. Despite lawmakers’ and regulators’ rising skepticism about cryptocurrencies, their popularity is pressuring the government to change. As per a recent study done by NORC, a research institution at the University of Chicago, 13% of people in the US purchased or traded bitcoin in the previous year alone, compared to Pew’s estimate of half of US households investing in the stock market.
All of this serves as a reminder that cryptocurrencies are just becoming more popular, which means that bitcoin scammers aren’t going away anytime soon. So be wary of bitcoin payment demands from shady romantic possibilities, too-good-to-be-true investment opportunities, purported blackmailers, and those pretending to be Elon Musk. If you’re not careful, your bitcoin might wind up in the federal government’s new cryptocurrency bank. Cryptocurrency regulation is a contentious issue, but many experts believe crypto investors should embrace it. For starters, increased regulation may result in greater stability in a notoriously turbulent crypto market.
“Regulations will come up, and they have to come up at some point, which would stabilize the market even further, “says Tally Greenberg, head of business development at Allnodes, a platform that offers hosting, monitoring, and staking services. “That protects investors, which is a good thing.” It’s not always a bad thing.” Nonetheless, many bitcoin enthusiasts are adamantly opposed to additional controls. They say that it will restrict innovation and is incompatible with the essence of bitcoin, which places a premium on decentralization. The decentralized nature of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, which, unlike traditional currencies, are not backed by any organization or government authority, is a key draw for these anti-regulation crypto enthusiasts. As a result, any more regulation would, in my opinion, represent a threat to decentralization, which is a feature rather than a flaw.
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It’s obvious that bitcoin crime trends shift year after year, and there will always be a high amount of cryptocurrency hacking danger. It still exists and is notable due to the rise in bitcoin prices. Crypto criminals are growing increasingly sophisticated, posing a significant threat to the FBI, police, corporations, organizations, and individual users.
As this essay explains, crypto hacking is a large, in-depth issue with many unsolved concerns. From rising crime rates to billions of dollars lost in the cryptocurrency market, the future may see a consistent climb in crime rates or a drop in the value of the most popular forms of cryptocurrencies. Whether you keep your funds on an exchange or in your personal wallet, your primary concern should be protecting yourself from a password or private key theft. Someone who gains access to your wallet or exchange account can steal your money.
To assist you in being as secure as possible, we have identified certain critical procedures for keeping your private key or password secure and inaccessible to anyone who may try to abuse it. Increase your email security by only opening emails from trusted sources. Maintain the cleanliness of your equipment and install a good antivirus program. When feasible, use two-factor authentication. When surfing the internet away from home, be aware of public Wi-fi. Don’t keep the key in any of the following places: an email, a note-taking app, cloud storage, or a file on your computer.
You can make smarter bitcoin investing selections if you grasp the fundamental supply and demand principles that underpin cryptocurrency value and the factors that influence them. If you feel demand will rise for reasons X, Y, and Z and don’t believe supply will keep up, bitcoin may be a decent investment. However, countries still lack best practices for regulating cryptocurrencies, making it a particularly dangerous and volatile investment regardless. Keep an eye on your wallet for added security. When purchasing cryptocurrency, the wallet’s security is critical. If you misplace the key, your cash is gone for good. Examine email addresses and website addresses carefully. Phishing attacks frequently attempt to fool users into logging in and then steal their login credentials. They can then be used to steal money. Using an internet search engine to find an exchange may lead to fraudulent sites that advertise and imitate actual companies.
When viewing these on the phone, use extra caution.
- Do not use cryptocurrencies to pay for things. Be wary if you are asked to pay in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency. No one in the government will ever request this type of payment.
- Be wary of bogus recovery firms. Scammers may pretend to be able to recover stolen funds in exchange for a price. These are mainly con artists.
- Be wary of phony reviews. Scammers frequently post bogus reviews for their own businesses.
- Be skeptical of celebrity endorsements. It can be tempting to put your faith in a well-known figure who has invested in cryptocurrency. However, those endorsements are frequently not permitted, and even if they are, the celebrity may be compensated for their time and may not know more about the product than you do.
- Use caution while making statements on social media. This is the most popular location for people to come across investment frauds.
- Be cautious of “friends” who contact you on social media and tell you how they gained money with cryptocurrency. Accounts are routinely hacked. Call your friend to confirm that it is indeed them.
- Only use Google Play or the App Store to download apps. Trusted app shops do not remove the risk of software scams, but they do provide some security. Apps should be used with caution. Some of them include malicious malware.
- Don’t be fooled by promises of assured returns. Nobody can predict how a particular investment will perform.
- Seek assistance and support. The Cybercrime Help Network provides a free and confidential support program for victims of romantic scams.
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