Bitcoin

Bitcoin In Depth

Sections on this page
  1. Common Bitcoin Scams
  2. How to Beat Bitcoin Scams
  3. What to Do If You've Been Scammed

Started in 2008, Bitcoin is the first and best-known cryptocurrency of the more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies in existence today.

Bitcoin is a decentralized currency, meaning that it does not rely on centralized institutions, like banks, to move money from one place to another. Instead, money can be transferred directly from person to person using technology to manage and verify the transactions.

Bitcoin was initially designed to provide an electronic payment system where every transaction can be verified. While this is true, cryptocurrencies are widely used by scammers because of two key things, they don’t require disclosure of any personal information, and you can't reverse transactions.

Other major cryptocurrencies include:

  • Etherium
  • Binance Coin
  • Cardano
  • Dogecoin
  • Tether
Contact Details

Bitcoin



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Verified Contact Details

It's important to verify links and contact details to beat imposters.

Common Bitcoin Scams

Be very wary of anyone asking you to pay using Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. Some of the most common Bitcoin scams to look out for include:

  • Blackmail emails
  • Phishing scams
  • Social media scams
  • Fake fundraisers
  • Ponzi investment schemes
  • Fake bitcoin exchanges

Blackmail Emails Demanding Bitcoin Payment

Scammers contact you claiming they have access to sensitive information about you or files they've stolen from your computer. They demand payment in Bitcoin, or they will release the information on social media.

Phishing Emails to Steal Your Information

These work in the same way as many other phishing scams that try to get access to critical information about you.  Scammers send an email containing links to a fake website designed to get you to enter the access key to your Bitcoin digital wallet. With this information, scammers can steal your Bitcoin.

Fake Social Media Messages From Influencers and Celebrities

Social media has proved to be a great way to distribute fake information and solicit your Bitcoin. There have been several incidents where high-profile individuals' and companies' accounts were hacked, with messages being sent about a giveaway they're hosting.

To participate in the giveaway, you must send a specified amount of Bitcoin to an address to "verify" your wallet. Once sent, there is nothing that you can do to get it back, and there was never a giveaway to being with.

Fake Fundraisers

Similar to Initial Public Offerings (IPO), where companies issue shares to raise capital, an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is set up to raise money for a project on the internet using cryptocurrency. Unlike an IPO, you are not investing in a recognized company, and the market is unregulated, so you are not protected if the platform is hacked or turns out to be a scam.

Scammers will set up a fake ICO, then when they are finished fundraising, they disappear, taking your money.

Bitcoin Ponzi Investment Schemes

Scammers target social media users with posts promising huge profits investing in cryptocurrency. They convince you to make a small initial investment and, after a month, tell you you've made a profit.

They continue to encourage you to reinvest (and invest more bitcoin) and again tell you you've made a profit. What you don’t know is that they are paying you with other investors' money rather than profits, and when the whole thing collapses, the scammers disappear with your money.

Fake Bitcoin Exchanges

Websites that look just like legitimate bitcoin exchange sites are set up by scammers to steal your money. These fake exchange sites will usually try to convince you to invest money using the site by giving you free coins or promising huge returns. 

How to Beat Bitcoin Scams

A healthy dose of skepticism is the best approach to beating Bitcoin scams. If the promises made sound too good to be true, the chances are that it is a scam. 

  • If you see posts on social media promising high returns, it is probably a scam. Always do your research to validate a claim. Chances are someone else has already reported it.
  • Never send cryptocurrency to an unknown address (even to validate your account for a giveaway).
  • Check posts, messages, and emails for grammatical errors or suspicious-looking website addresses.

It's important to stay wary of Bitcoin scams and to proceed with caution whenever you transfer bitcoin to someone, as you cannot reverse transactions, even if you were scammed. 

What to Do If You've Been Scammed

If you've fallen victim to a Bitcoin scam, you should report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and provide as much information as possible. 

There are also other steps you can take to try and retrieve your stolen bitcoin, such as:

  • Hiring a Bitcoin recovery expert
  • Contacting local authorities
  • Contacting your bitcoin wallet provider
  • Seeking help on social media 

Scams Impacting Bitcoin

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Fake Bitcoin Exchange Scams: Top Tips to Avoid Falling Victim
1 September 2021 |

Fake Bitcoin Exchange Scams: Top Tips to Avoid Falling Victim

Using a new bitcoin exchange might not seem like a big deal, but if you don't do your research first, you could end up losing thousands of dollars.

Beware of Bitcoin Ponzi Schemes: Red Flags to Watch Out For
11 August 2021 |

Beware of Bitcoin Ponzi Schemes: Red Flags to Watch Out For

Don't believe everything you hear. If someone promises high returns on a bitcoin investment, proceed with caution.

How to Beat Bitcoin Blackmail Emails & Protect Yourself

How to Beat Bitcoin Blackmail Emails & Protect Yourself

If a hacker is blackmailing you to get bitcoin, it can be hard to figure out if it's an empty threat or a real one.

Scams in Other Categories...
Wells Fargo Text Alert - Is It A Scam?

Wells Fargo Text Alert - Is It A Scam?

Dangerous text message scams are targeting Wells Fargo customers. These text message alerts for Zelle transactions or purchases with retailers are scams.

Capital One Fraud Text Alert Scams: Spotting a Fraud
12 May 2022 |

Capital One Fraud Text Alert Scams: Spotting a Fraud

If you received a suspicious Capital One fraud text alert, it may be a scam. Learn how to spot the fake to protect your identity and funds.

PayPal Text Scam: Identify a Fake & Protect Your Money
12 May 2022 |

PayPal Text Scam: Identify a Fake & Protect Your Money

Several versions of fake PayPal text messages are being sent to people worldwide. There are a few easy ways to tell which messages are scams and simple things you can do to protect yourself.

Real Chase Fraud Text Alert or Scam Message?
9 May 2022 |

Real Chase Fraud Text Alert or Scam Message?

If you receive a text message from Chase Bank, don't click on any links or call the phone number listed—it could be a scam designed to steal your information and money.

Citibank Text Message Scam: Locked Debit Card Alert Is Fake

Citibank Text Message Scam: Locked Debit Card Alert Is Fake

If you've received a locked debit card text message from Citibank, it's likely a scam. Don't click on the link and delete the text message.

Avoid Paying for a Pet via a Cash App Deposit—It's a Scam!

Avoid Paying for a Pet via a Cash App Deposit—It's a Scam!

Keep your money safe by only paying for your new pet once you have the pet in your possession and avoid using Cash App.

Scammers Use Fake Alliant Credit Union Emails & Texts to Steal Your Data
14 April 2022 |

Scammers Use Fake Alliant Credit Union Emails & Texts to Steal Your Data

If you receive an Alliant Credit Union email or text, make sure you verify that's it's legit before clicking on any links—scammers are targeting the financial institution's customers.

Guides To Protect Against Banking & Finance Scams

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How to Beat Bitcoin Scams and Stay Safe with Cryptocurrency

How to Beat Bitcoin Scams and Stay Safe with Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin may be the new way to make money, but it's also become one of the fastest ways to lose money quickly, thanks to the rise of cryptocurrency scammers.

Guides in Other Categories...
How Alliant Credit Union Protects You From Scams

How Alliant Credit Union Protects You From Scams

Alliant Credit Union has several security protocols in place to help protect you from fraud and scams, including ways to recover lost funds or limit your losses.

5 Things to Do After a Data Breach to Protect Yourself
14 February 2022 |

5 Things to Do After a Data Breach to Protect Yourself

When a company is the victim of a data breach, it's completely out of your control. However, there are steps you can take afterward to protect your information and money.

How to Place an Experian Fraud Alert: Online, Call, or By Mail
24 January 2022 |

How to Place an Experian Fraud Alert: Online, Call, or By Mail

Placing a fraud alert on your credit report is important when trying to recover from identity theft.

Navy Federal Fraud Protection: Keeping Your Money Safe
10 January 2022 |

Navy Federal Fraud Protection: Keeping Your Money Safe

As a Navy Federal Credit Union customer, you're protected from hackers, imposters, and credit card fraud.

News About Banking & Finance Scams

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News in Other Categories...
RobinHood Customers Are About to Be Phished—Here's What it Will Look Like (Examples)
18 November 2021 |

RobinHood Customers Are About to Be Phished—Here's What it Will Look Like (Examples)

Robinhood's latest data breach of 5 million email addresses means that Robinhood users are about to encounter a wave of phishing attempts.

Robinhood Users: Look Out for Scams Following Data Breach
9 November 2021 |

Robinhood Users: Look Out for Scams Following Data Breach

Robinhood recently suffered a massive data breach, exposing the information of millions of users.

Searches for "COVID Vaccine 5G" Hit All-Time High, But Microchips Definitely Not in Vaccine
2 February 2022 |

Searches for "COVID Vaccine 5G" Hit All-Time High, But Microchips Definitely Not in Vaccine

The number of people searching for the term "COVID vaccine 5G" on Google has just hit an all-time high, but there's one way to be sure that there are no microchips.

Social Media: The New Favorite Amongst Scammers
1 February 2022 |

Social Media: The New Favorite Amongst Scammers

Social media platforms are possibly the most used tools in committing fraud, responsible for $770 million in losses.

Beware When Scanning QR Codes, Even for Menus
20 January 2022 |

Beware When Scanning QR Codes, Even for Menus

The FBI is warning Americans about a new scam circulating in the country involving fraudulent QR codes in public places.