Blockchain & Fraud Prevention: Strategies to overcome the cryptocurrency scam

What is Cryptocurrency? 

Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that generally only exists electronically. There is no physical coin or bill unless you use a service to cash in cryptocurrency for a physical token. You usually exchange cryptocurrency with someone online, with your phone or computer, without using an intermediary like a bank. Bitcoin and Ether are well-known cryptocurrencies, but there are many different cryptocurrency brands, and new ones are continuously being created. 

 

Cryptocurrency Terms You Should Know: 

  • Blockchain: A blockchain is a type of database in which a cryptocurrency’s digital transaction records are stored in groups or blocks. New blocks are continually created as extensions of the previous block, forming a chain. These blockchains build upon themselves within the database, storing an ever-increasing amount of data about the transactions for a specific cryptocurrency. 
  • Decentralized: In the context of cryptocurrency, the term decentralized means the currency isn’t backed by a central bank or other financial institution. 
  • Distributed ledger technology (DLT): A decentralized digital record Unlike typical databases, there’s no central authority. The record is stored across multiple locations simultaneously, and once a transaction is recorded, it’s permanent. Block-chain is a type of DLT.  
  • Bitcoin: The first cryptocurrency and still the most popular today. 
  • Altcoins: Any cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin. Some popular altcoins today include Ethereum, Dogecoin. These altcoins each have different features and purposes. 
  • Exchange: A marketplace where you can buy and sell cryptocurrency. 
  • Wallet: A place to store your cryptocurrency holdings. 

    How do people use cryptocurrency? 

    People use cryptocurrency for quick payments, to avoid transaction fees that regular banks charge, or because it offers some anonymity. Others hold cryptocurrency as an investment, hoping the value goes up. 


    How do you get cryptocurrency?
     

    You can buy cryptocurrency through an online exchange platform. Some people earn cryptocurrency through a complex process called “mining,” which requires advanced computer equipment to solve highly complicated math puzzles. 


    Known issue while paying with Cryptocurrency:
     

  • Cryptocurrency payments do not come with legal protections: Credit cards and debit cards have legal protections if something goes wrong. For example, if you need to dispute a purchase, your credit card company has a process to help you get your money back. Cryptocurrencies typically do not. 
  • Cryptocurrency payments typically are not reversible: Once you pay with cryptocurrency, you can usually only get your money back if the person you paid sends it back. Before buying something with cryptocurrency, know the seller’s reputation, where the seller is located, and how to contact someone if there is a problem. Confirm these details by doing some research before you pay. 
  • Some information about your transactions will likely be public: People talk about cryptocurrency transactions as anonymous. But the truth is not that simple. Some cryptocurrencies record some transaction details on a public ledger called a “blockchain.” the information added to the blockchain can include details like the transaction amount and the sender’s and recipient’s wallet addresses.  


    Look for claims like these to help you spot the companies and people to avoid:
     

  • Scammers guarantee that you’ll make money: If they promise you’ll make a profit, that’s a scam even if there’s a celebrity endorsement or testimonials. (Those are easily faked.) 
  • Scammers promise big payouts with guaranteed returns: Nobody can guarantee a set return, say, double your money much less in a short time. Scammers promise free money. They’ll promise it in cash or cryptocurrency, but free money promises are always fake. 
  • Scammers make big claims without details or explanations: Smart business people want to understand how their investment works and where their money is going. And good investment advisors want to share that information. 

 

Scammers Target people through: 

  • Scam Websites: Scam websites work in various ways, from publishing misleading information to promising wild rewards in a financial exchange. The end goal is almost always the same to get you to relinquish your personal or financial information. 
  • Fake Mobile Apps: The most dangerous type of fake apps is apps that contain malware. These apps can infect your smartphone with viruses and other malware that will work to get access to your personal information, account data, passwords, and more. 
  • Social media scams: Scammers can hide behind phony profiles on social media, using ads and offers to market their scams. They can take over an account or trying to get money, personal information, or both. 
  • Phishing emails: Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. They may say 
    • they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts 
    • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information 
    • say you must confirm some personal information 
    • include a fake invoice 
    • want you to click on a link to make a payment 
    • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund 
    • offer a coupon for free stuff 
  • Fake Initial Coin Offering (ICO): Fraudulent ICOs and sketchy coins and tokens abound, but there are many ways to help ensure that you avoid these potential scams. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to thoroughly research the individual team members of a project before you invest.  The Federation Trade Commission (FTC) published a report on crypto investment scams. The scams amounted to a loss of more than $50 million also investors belonging to the age group of 20 to 40. 

     

    Source: FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 

     

    Scams Caused by Viruses and Malware 

    New strategies and creative attempts to breach into an investor’s wallet can at times be tedious. The new ways to execute wallet breaches, hackers, and criminals resort to age-old malware and viruses to gain access to crypto wallets. For this reason alone, two-factor authentication and trusted Anti-virus like Quick Heal Total Security can be a protective shield for crypto-wallets. 
    Modern malware that targets cryptocurrency users and investors can latch onto the user accounts to retrieve the user’s online wallet balance, drain their account and replace their authentic address with that of the scammer. 

    Apart from updating your Quick Heal antivirus and system firewall, you need to make sure that you are visiting a secure and trustworthy platform that does not prompt auto-download of .exe files or ask you to download suspicious attachments. 
     

    How Quick Heal protects you against such threats:  

    Our malware analysis team does continuous threat research against these scams leads to strengthens our product which indirectly secures our users. 

    Some promising features Quick Heal provides: 

    Web Security: First-level protection against online attacks like Phishing Protection, Browsing Protection, IDS/IPS, Firewall, etc. 

    ARW: Anti-Ransomware feature which protects against suspicious activities like Encryption, deletion, modification, etc. 

Vijay Yadav

Vijay Yadav

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