Bitcoin finally managed to top $20,000, and keeps rising. This makes the cryptocurrency much more attractive for the masses. However, BTC is also more attractive for scammers that want to take advantage of those that do not have the necessary knowledge to protect themselves. This is why it is very important to be aware of the following so you can avoid the most common BTC scams.
Always Do Your Research
The very first step when investing in Bitcoin is always to set up a cryptocurrency wallet. Many are available right now. Before you set up your account though, you need to carefully read all reviews and research information about them. Basically, you need to be sure that the wallet is legitimate and that the Bitcoin you buy is safe.
Then, you have to decide what exchange to use. Just as with wallets, many can be considered, each offering specific security. Some type of ID verification is always needed. Remember that slick websites do not necessarily signal an honest service. Even legitimate sites might have problems when they are easy to hack.
See for how long the wallet or the exchange company has operated. Find feedback and reviews. Make sure to consider Reddit and the professional review websites when you need such information.
Always Protect Bitcoin Keys
Having BTC is not like having money inside a bank account. There are no fraud departments and people you can call when things go bad. It is the user that has the ultimate control over his finances.
All this means that you do not have to deal with the government and banks controlling funds and having access to personal data with the use of financial transactions. The problem though is that no centralized authority exists.
If you share private keys and BTC is stolen, you cannot get it back. At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to protect your funds. Wallets generate public and private keys. You use the public key in order to create a public address. This is what you share when BTC is transacted. The private keys are those that need to be private at all times. They are needed in order to decrypt and encrypt the wallet.
Be Careful With Phishing Scams
The most common hacking attempt in the cryptocurrency world comes from phishing attacks. This practically means that the attacker/hacker impersonates an individual, a company, or a service. An email or some form of text-based message is sent. Sometimes, a fake site might be set up. The goal is always to trick a person to reveal private keys or send BTC to an address.
The big problem is that emails often look completely legitimate. If you are not careful, you might end up clicking on a fake link.
Remember that the goal is always to make you give up some sort of important data. With this in mind, when you receive an email you do not know, analyze the address of the sender. There is usually a slight misspelling of an URL or a real address. As an example, a big phishing attack involved Ledger. The scam used the domain legder.com, so it was very easy to think the domain was legit.
Bookmark the sites that you often use in order to access funds. Visit such sites only through the addresses that you bookmarked. Never use a link from an email.
Nobody Gives You Free Money
The same thing goes with Bitcoin. Always be cautious and take it slow. Many more advanced scamming and hacking schemes exist than phishing. For instance, some very good con artists will pretend to be investors and will receive your Bitcoin as you think you will make a lot of money with their help.
Bitcoin scams are everywhere. There are fake exchanges that use Discord and YouTube clips that try to get free money through dishonest reasons. We naturally think that we cannot be scammed but ever since 2011, around $7.6 billion in crypto assets were stolen.
To sum up, avoiding most Bitcoin scams is all about using common sense. Use the same practices that you take when you refer to your cash, and take it up a notch.