Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency or digital currency in which units are generated via encryption techniques. It’s a type of peer-to-peer transfer called mining. It’s not backed by the government or any regulatory body.
It’s ripe for scams since there is no real regulation on it, and in some people’s mind bitcoin is a huge scam in and of itself. But, if you want to get involved with the cryptocurrency trend, be aware of these common bitcoin scams.
- Fake Bitcoin – The way this scam works is that someone offers to pay you for something with bitcoins, but you don’t know how to use bitcoin and they know it. They attempt to teach you how it works, assuring you that it’s legitimate. But in the end, they get your merchandise and you end up with fake bitcoins that are worthless.
- Ponzi Schemes – In this scam, someone offers you an investment deal. You will give them money or bitcoins in exchange for getting a big return on investment. Sometimes these scams are very elaborate, and you’ll even be able to see your account grow until you try to cash out. Only then will you know it’s a scam because you won’t get the money.
- IRS Scam – This scam works the same as most IRS scams. A convincing person claiming to work with the IRS calls you and says you owe a lot of money. They tell you to go to a certain website to purchase bitcoins and to pay them with the bitcoins. The truth is, you’re not really buying bitcoins and they’re not really letting you pay your IRS bill with bitcoins. Instead, they’re taking your money.
- Switch Scam – In this scam, they want you to buy their new cryptocurrency with your bitcoins, but their currency doesn’t even exist. They claim it’s the next best thing and that it’ll out-earn bitcoin overnight. They may even have records that look like proof but it’s all fabricated.
- Malware – You stumble on a fake site where you think you’re buying bitcoins when you’re not. You’re just infecting your computer with malware that will “mine” your computer for bitcoin units and your computer will be messed up. Plus, you’ll give them actual money.
- The Celebrity Scam – If you’re online and see any celebrity offering “free bitcoins” or a good deal on bitcoins, it’s a scam. No one is going to give away extra bitcoins; it doesn’t make sense. If Tom Cruise says they want to give you bitcoins for a low price, you know it’s not true. Why would they do that?
- Ransomware Attacks – If your computer gets hijacked with a threat to pay them in bitcoins to release your computer, this is a common way to get money. Obviously, it’s a scam but it’s a very easy scam to fall into. If your computer is locked up, you will be tempted to buy your way out. Don’t do it.
- Fake Wallets – To spot a fake wallet, it’s important to ask around on social media to ensure that the wallet is real. Install the right anti-virus software on your computer to avoid any malware. Use a good wallet application yourself so that you can have multiple wallets, thereby avoiding having problems if one is compromised.
To avoid scams, it’s best to find someone you really trust who already understands bitcoin fully. They can be your mentor or guide to help you avoid a problem. Because if a mistake is made, there is no one who can help you out or give you a refund. You’re just out of the money.