It’s no news that crypto investment scams are everywhere now. Many of these scams are not new. We have seen pyramids, Ponzi, telegram scams, and exit scams before now. What’s different is that these cyber criminals keep reinventing themselves, finding new ways to disguise themselves as legit platforms to perpetrate their scams. Cryptocurrency newcomers are especially vulnerable because many of these scams use half-truths or invent outright lies about the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry to confuse newbies. Others who have jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon for all the wrong reasons (read: the promise of high returns) have also fallen victim. Genuine Cryptocurrencies were never invented to be ‘get rich quick schemes’. This is why here at ideasdome.com, we have taken up the enviable task to educate our readers on the red flags that are the bedrock of most cryptocurrency investment scams around today.
Commit these signs to memory, and never be a victim of investment scams.
We kid; you should save your brain resources for more deserving pursuits
Just bookmark this page for easy reference. That’s all you need to do. Do it now. (We also mention our recommended platforms at the bottom of the article)
Now let’s begin
14 Top Red flags of a Crypto Investment Scam
- Paid Trustpilot reviews: Like the U.K Companies House License, Trustpilot is a well-known review platform that passively enables scams. People see positive reviews as social proof that a cryptocurrency platform is genuine. Trustpilot website is one of the most popular review platforms on the planet and should do better to protect the integrity of its platform. While the platform claims it has zero tolerance for incentivized (paid) reviews, it doesn’t penalize companies for doing it. Do not believe in positive reviews on the Trustpilot website. Scam platforms pay for hundreds or thousands of positive reviews just to appear legit. Some of these positive reviews are left by naïve investors who have been promised a reward (cash, tokens, bonuses, etc.) by scam platforms. Paid reviews are misleading and unethical. BTCflash Ltd (shown below), a once-popular scam platform had lots of positive Trustpilot reviews.
- Days Online Info: Think about it. There’s no reason why a legitimate company needs this section. But Ponzi schemes are insecure about their scam business model which could crash at any time. They know they’ll be judged by their longevity. This tiny red flag might seem like nothing but after studying many Ponzi, I can tell you most of them have this section.
- Empty Numbers and Big Talk: Some people will easily join a program with lots of users. Scammers exploit this by faking their numbers. A scam platform that is barely a month hold will claim to have hundreds of thousands of users, millions of dollars in payouts sometimes complete with fake payment proofs. Even legit platforms that have been around for decades cannot hold a candle to these numbers. Next time you find suspicious platforms like this. Just head on to who.is on your browser. Paste the website name and you’ll be able to see the date the domain name was registered. Compare it with the starting date displayed on the scam website to find out if it’s the same or similar. You can also view more info about any website by pasting the URL (www) here. More on that on the next red flag.
- Recency/1-year domain reg: Scam platforms are mostly ‘hit and run’. They are not known for their longevity. Check on who.is website as earlier mentioned. A clear indication is that scammers only register the domain names associated with these scam platforms to last one year. Many of these scams lie dormant or go extinct before the one-year mark.
- Companies House U.K Certificate of Incorporation: These scam platforms are quick to flaunt their U.K licenses (fake or real). Only a newbie will fall for these trappings of legitimacy. Any blockchain/cryptocurrency veteran will tell you these ‘certificates’ are as cheap as they come (about $50) and require no background checks of the companies it’s being issued to. Also, note that these certificates are not trading licenses. Genuine investment companies and brokers are registered with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and other relevant bodies in the countries it operates. You can check if a company is registered using Finra
- No Founder or Fake Founder Red flag: This one is easy. Never trust an investment platform whose founder cannot be verified. On most of these Crypto scam platforms, the name of the founder or team is never given. Even when it is, get your Sherlock Holmes hat on and investigate on the internet. It just might be a fake profile. Scam platforms have even been known to hire actors to play the role of CEO. In this case, you might need to dig further. (S)he probably hastily put together social media profiles everywhere. Visit those pages and interact with followers of the page. For example, you could message some of his connections on LinkedIn to verify he is someone they know personally.
- Request For Additional Funds/ Frozen Funds Red Flag: This is another common tactic that is employed by scammers in different formats. One way is by pretending the scam platform is free to join and once you’ve in, the platforms show you updates where you see your interests growing slowly but seemingly very far off from hitting the minimum withdrawal amount. To hasten the process the scammers tell you to upgrade your account by depositing an amount to the platform. Do not swallow the bait. Another form of this scam can be explained thus: Victim deposits an amount to the scam trading platform to generate quick returns. The platform is programmed to pretend to execute trades that generate massive returns. The victim initiates withdrawal but scammers tell the victim that funds are frozen until the victim deposits a second time to unfreeze the funds. If the victim is gullible enough to deposit a second time, the scammer stops communicating, eventually blocking the victim and denying the victim further access to the platform.
- The Promise of Fixed Huge Returns: This is a low-hanging red flag. It has scam written all over it. No one can promise you huge fixed returns investing in Crypto assets. No AI (Artificial Intelligence) trading bot can achieve this either. The cryptocurrency space is far too notorious for its price volatility.
- Pretend Affiliations With Bitcoin: This is a favorite gimmick of many Crypto scammers. It is frequently used on Crypto newbies and others with little to no knowledge about cryptocurrency. These scammers imprint in their potential victim’s subconscious the idea that their scam project is affiliated with bitcoins. It’s not uncommon to see on display informative videos containing information about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Some videos also contain huge celebrities talking great about bitcoins. Don’t be deceived. Anyone can slap a YouTube video on their scam website. It means nothing. These scam platforms will also frequently mention the value of bitcoin which is currently worth thousands of dollars. Fancy displays of the value of other tokens are also on display. It’s all a distraction. Pinch yourself and stay alert. Bitcoin is just another currency albeit a digital one. It has got nothing to do with whatever the scammer is selling.
- Fake Contact Details: Scammers frequently use generic addresses they know the average gullible potential victim is too lazy to check. But ideasdome.com readers are ‘woke’. Pasting the address of these scam platforms on Google usually churns out interesting results. Many are generic popular locations like large office complexes. Others are addresses of genuine companies with no connection to the scam platform. In our research, we also discovered that the addresses used by some of these scammers are generic ones found on WordPress themes.
- Incomplete Websites: Why waste time building websites that you know will likely not hit the one-year milestone? A few amateur crypto scammers just wing it and hope no one finds out. The websites are badly designed and barely functional. Content in the generic WordPress themes used is unchanged. Contact forms that glitch or don’t work are a frequent occurrence with these scam platforms.
- No Website: This is popular with beginner Crypto scammers on telegram. If a stranger is contacting you (first red flag) out of the blue to sing praises of an investment scheme (second red flag) with a potential to earn huge returns (third red flag) except this platform only has a telegram group but no website (fourth red flag). Do you know your next steps? Block immediately and report to @notoscam on telegram. No need to wait for the fourth red flag. These amateur telegram scammers are also known for imitating the usernames of real Crypto Influencers. But think about it. Why would a top influencer contact you out of the blue? See the article here, where we explained how to identify a telegram group scam.
- Fake Celebrity Endorsement and Testimonials: If they are not using random pictures stolen on the internet and crafting quotes about how these unknown people have made huge commissions on their fake platform, these scammers are pasting pictures of celebrities and influencers on their websites along with false quotes attributed to them endorsing these scams. This could leave them vulnerable to a lawsuit. Smarter Crypto investment scammers know these lies can be easily debunked too, so they came up with another trick. The goal is to exploit the hype celebrity names typically generate without claiming the scam platform is endorsed by the celebrity. It usually goes something like this: On scammer Z’s website, a section is dedicated to debunking rumors about the platform. On it, scammer Z claims many are saying celebrity x and y are endorsing the platform but says it’s not true. Scammer Z adds that while Celebrity X and Y have talked about how cryptocurrencies are great investment vehicles, they did not talk about Scammer Z’s platform. This is a smart trick- reverse psychology of some sort. The scammers have subtlety registered in the naive victim’s subconscious that the scam platform has some association with the celebrity. Pretending to expose a nonexistent rumor also makes the scammer seem like a person of integrity and could be a decisive factor in getting the victim to invest. It’s also a clever way to trick Google search results to appear at the top.
- Data Harvesting Scams: These platforms are mostly free to join but that does not mean you have nothing to lose. These platforms promise relatively high payment in cryptocurrency by getting you to perform simple tasks like attaching your credit card details, post on social media, and taking surveys. A good observer will immediately notice something is off. Taking 30 seconds survey should not be this profitable. These scammers are harvesting your data which they’ll sell to third-party scammers who will spam you endlessly with scam offers. Worse, they might attempt to hack you.
If you’ve been scammed, what can you do?
– Don’t negotiate with the scammer: Block the scammer and move on. Attempting to beg, guilt trip, or play mind games with the scammer won’t work.
– Know that it’s not the end of the world. This too shall pass
– Talk to someone: A trusted friend that won’t mock you or an internet friend can help. If you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, please do not hesitate to dial any of these hotlines here
– Do not be quick to search for the help of recovery companies immediately after the scamming incident. Most recovery platforms are scammers who will try to exploit your vulnerable state to scam you even further. If you must try the recovery route, wait a few weeks. Even genuine recovery platforms are expensive and there are no guarantees you will ever recover your funds. It’s probably cheaper to move on after a scam.
– Most importantly learn from your experience and help others do the same. A great way to start is to bookmark this page and share the link with as many of your friends as possible.
We will love to hear from you in the comment section below.
Need Recommended Platforms or Have Questions?
- See the list of recommended platforms here
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