Scams are rampant everywhere online, and cryptocurrency exchanges are no exception. As you set foot in the sea of cryptocurrencies, you expose yourself to phishing scams and cryptocurrency frauds. India is among the top 3 countries targeted for phishing.
Of course, no one wants to fall prey to a phishing scam. But that won’t stop the scams from happening. Phishing scams have been around nearly since the origin of the Internet. With the advent of cryptocurrency, they aren’t leaving us anytime soon. Most cryptocurrency frauds are just modern versions of classic scams.
Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc., are undeniably the hot property in online markets. While it is true that an intelligent investor stands to make big profits out of them, the odds of landing quick riches can blind some people, luring them straight into scams.
Cryptocurrency scams are now the standard way for scammers to trick people. Here’s the common factor: a scammer always wants you to transfer money or pay with Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. And once you part with your money, there’s no seeing it again.
So if you come across a text, email, or a message on social media that tells you to pay with Bitcoin, know that it’s a scam. They will guarantee you money; promise to double it quickly, or say you’ll get free money in dollars or cryptocurrency- none of which has any truth to it.
Here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts to shield yourself from cryptocurrency frauds and phishing scams as you join in the future of cryptocurrency.
- Don’t place money in an online company/startup if you don’t truly understand its modus operandi.
- Don’t consider investing in cryptocurrency money that you can’t stand to lose.
- Don’t purchase e-currencies solely based on anonymous tips that you received online.
- Don’t put money into accounts shown as “IRS approved” or “IRA approved.” Though some self-directed IRAs permit investment in cryptocurrencies, the Internal Revenue Service does not endorse or review IRA investments.
- Don’t disclose your “private keys” — the long letter-and-number codes that are keys to access your cryptocurrency — with anyone. Keep them protected.
- Do know the risks involved. While you might not be definitely scammed, cryptocurrency trading is known for its volatility.
- Do resist the pressure to buy impulsively. Scammers often attempt to create a false alarm around a seemingly fresh cryptocurrency.
- Do check out the cryptocurrency dealer and the future contracts deeply before you buy.
- Do thorough research on any cryptocurrency platform or digital wallet provider before giving any credit card information, transferring money, or revealing any of your data.
- Do carefully view any deal with an online wallet-providing site. Dissimilar to banks and credit card companies, they might not take total liability for replacing your money in case it’s stolen.
1. Be aware of Phishing Techniques – The virtual world has new phishing scams blooming every now and then. Without being well aware of these new phishing techniques, you could unwittingly be a victim of one.
Be on the lookout for news on fresh phishing scams. Especially in the case of cryptocurrencies, which wholly thrive online, you need to brace yourself.
2. Think Before You Click! – It’s okay to click on links on trusted cryptocurrency exchange sites. However, clicking on random links that arrive in emails or instant messages is the shortcut to a trap. Before clicking on them, ask yourself, “Do they lead where they are supposed to lead?”.
A phishing email seems to be from a genuine exchange or trading company. When you click the website link, it looks exactly like the actual website, except for a few loopholes.
For instance, the email might ask you to fill in personal information but not include the name or email id column. Note that most phishing emails begin with “Dear Customer,” so beware of such emails. When in doubt, move straight to the source rather than clicking the possibly unsafe link.
3. Install an Anti-Phishing Toolbar – Add an anti-phishing toolbar to your Internet browsers. They run smart checks on all the sites you visit, including the cryptocurrency ones, and compare them to well-known phishing sites. The toolbar will alert you about a malicious site. This is a free layer of protection against phishing scams.
4. Verify a Site’s Security – They say it is better to be safe than sorry. Before offering any kind of personal or financial information online, ensure that the site’s URL starts with “https,” and there is a closed lock icon present near the address bar.
Check for the site’s security certificate too. If you receive a warning stating that the website you are about to open may contain malicious files, do not open it. Search engines may show certain links, leading users to a phishing webpage that offers low-cost or free crypto exchanges. If you make trades or purchases at such websites, you are saying goodbye to your cryptocurrency reserves.
5. Check Your Online Accounts Frequently – Even if you don’t exactly need to, check out each of your online cryptocurrency accounts regularly. Change your passwords repeatedly. Personally review statements of your cryptocurrency accounts and check every single entry carefully to rule out the occurrence of fraudulent transactions.
6. Update Your Browser – Security patches are continually issued for browsers. They cover up the security loopholes that phishers and other hackers inescapably find and misuse. As soon as you see that a browser update is available, download and install it.
7. Use Firewalls – Employ two distinct kinds of farewells: a desktop firewall and a network firewall. When used together, they decrease the probabilities of hackers and phishers entering your computer through the route of the online cryptocurrency trades you made or wallets you acquired.
8. Beware of Pop-Ups – Pop-up windows often disguise as legitimate elements of a cryptocurrency website. More often than not, they are phishing attempts. Block pop-ups or allow them on a case-by-case basis. If you encounter one, don’t click on the “cancel” button(it can be fatal); instead, click the small “x” in the upper corner of the window.
9. Never Give Out Personal Information – A thumb rule-never share personal or financially sensitive information over the web. If you are tempted, visit the cryptocurrency trader or company’s main website in question, get their number, and make a call. Phishing emails mostly direct you to pages where entries for financial or personal information are needed.
10. Use Antivirus Software – Unique signatures included with antivirus software guard against recognized technology knotholes. Keep your software updated. New keys are added almost all the time since new scams come into existence all the time. Firewall protection saves you from malicious files by blocking the attacks. Antivirus software scans every file coming through the web.
Paying heed to the points mentioned above, you can enjoy online experiences without fear. However, remember that there is no one fool-proof way to avoid phishing attacks.
When investing in cryptocurrency startups and exchange platforms, know that you are running the risk of losing your cryptocurrency investments. Before trusting digital cryptocurrency companies and startups, ensure that they’re blockchain-powered, as in, they track detailed transaction data. Companies should define their digital currency liquidity and ICO rules. If the startup you’re investigating lacks any of these characteristics, think your moves through.
WazirX goes the extra mile to safeguard you from phishing scams or cryptocurrency frauds. It stores about 95% of your funds in offline cold storage.
We suggest you:
- Use only the official website or an app downloaded from the play store or app store to log in and make trades.
- Enable the two-factor and OTP authentication feature.
- Never ever disclose or share your account details with anyone, not even with people serving WazirX.
- Never use public wifi to access your data.