Phishing is just as common in the cryptocurrency world as in everything that involves a username and a password. In crypto, phishing is used as a very simple scam that gains access to user accounts. This usually involves stealing private keys.
How Do Phishing Scams Work?
You most likely already know about the scam emails that are sent by really rich people that try to get fiat currency payments. In the cryptocurrency world, phishing is very similar. It offers control over accounts that have currency in them.
The private key is obtained so a hacker can control a wallet. This is why private keys need to always be kept private.
Various phishing attack types exist. Those that are the most common are:
- An email is sent to ask the user to “upgrade” to a new service version in order to increase security. A fake URL is given that takes the user to a new page that is identical to the real one. On the fake URL, if you add your private key or password, you give hackers access.
- An offer is sent in to verify a transaction or a wallet. Alternatively, you are told that the balance is at risk if you do not perform a specific action.
- An offer is sent that promises free cryptocurrency when you connect to a service or you do something specific. Such a scam will ask that you sign up with the use of the private key in order to get it stolen.
Such phishing attacks are all after your private keys so that control is gained over a wallet. Obviously, many other options exist and phishing can just be after a username and password to gain access to a cryptocurrency-related account.
How To Avoid Cryptocurrency Phishing Scams
- Think before you act
Many phishing scams want to create scarcity. They want to convince you that you lose money when instructions are not followed or that an incredible opportunity will be lost when you do not take action.
Always take a minute to think things through. If a legit offer is time sensitive, it is definitely not as time sensitive as to not allow you to research validity.
- Manually navigate to the site
If you receive an email from, as an example, your crypto wallet, do not click the link in the email. Simply navigate to it manually. By doing this, you avoid the fake URLs.
- Do not overuse the private key
The private key is rarely required to access a crypto wallet. If there is a claim that there is a problem with a wallet or a transaction, this can be manually checked. You do not need the link that you are offered.
Transactions can be checked without private keys.
- Do not use remote access software
Do not use any remote access software on the computer where you have private keys saved. These programs are quite dangerous as they give so much access to the computer. A dishonest person can easily install malware and then steal all the private keys.
- Be careful with advertisements
Do not download software from a source you do not know or click on internet ads. There are ads that include software that can be used to install malware. Generally speaking, you should never click on any link that does not come from a 100% reputable source.