Blackmail | Free Giveaways | Impersonation | Malware | Meet in Person | Money Transfer Fraud | Phishing | Phishing Websites | Ponzi Schemes | Prize Giveaways | Pump and Dumps | Pyramid Schemes | Ransomware |
Be wary of blackmail attempts in which strangers threaten you in exchange for cryptocurrency as a means of extortion. One common execution of this method is by email, where-in the sender transmits a message claiming that he/she has hacked into your computer and is operating it via remote desktop protocol (RDP). The sender says that a key logger has been installed and that your web cam was used to record you doing something you may not want others to know about. The sender provides two options - send cryptocurrency to suppress the material, or send nothing and see the content sent to your email contacts and spread across your social networks. Scammers use stolen email lists and other leaked user information to run this scheme across thousands of people en masse.
Due to the viral nature of how information spreads across on the internet, scammers seek to take advantage of people by offering free giveaways of digital currencies in exchange for sending a small amount to register, or by providing some personal information. When you see this on a website or social network, it's best to immediately report the content as fraudulent, so that others don't fall victim.
Typically, scammers pretend to be from a government agency or well-known company who threaten you into handing over your money or personal information. This type of scam is commonly received over the phone, though it can also come via email or text message.
Scammers will impersonate government officials and say that you have an outstanding tax debt or that there are problems with your government benefits, immigration papers or visa status, and you need to pay the debt or other fees to fix the problem.
They will threaten you with a fine, disconnection, legal costs, or sometimes suggest you will be arrested or deported.
Malware is often created by teams of hackers: usually, they’re just looking to make money, either by spreading the malware themselves or selling it to the highest bidder on the Dark Web. However, there can be other reasons for creating malware too — it can be used as a tool for protest, a way to test security, or even as weapons of war between governments. Most common types of Malware are; Viruses, Trojans, Spyware, Worms, Ransomware, Adware, and Botnets.
But no matter why or how malware comes to be, it’s always bad news when it winds up on your PC.
Meet in Person:
When buying or selling cryptocurrency locally, a counter-party may ask you to meet in person to conduct the exchange. If it isn't a trusted party that you already know, this is a very risky proposition that could result in you getting robbed or injured. Con-artists have also been known to exchange counterfeit fiat currency in exchange for bitcoin. Consider using a peer-to-peer platform to escrow the funds in place of meeting in person.
Money Transfer Fraud:
Scam artists use a number of elaborate schemes to get your money, and many involve money transfers through companies like Western Union and MoneyGram. Scammers pressure people to use money transfers so they can get the money before their victims realize they’ve been cheated. Money transfers are virtually the same as sending cash — there are no protections for the sender. Typically, there is no way you can reverse the transaction or trace the money. Also, when you wire money, the recipient can pick it up at one of many locations. That makes it nearly impossible to identify the recipient or track him down. In some cases, the receiving agents of the money transfer company may be cooperating with a scammer.
Phishing is an attempt by an individual or group to solicit personal information from unsuspecting users by employing social engineering techniques. Phishing emails are crafted to appear as if they have been sent from a legitimate organization or known individual. These emails often attempt to entice users to click on a link that will take the user to a fraudulent website that appears legitimate. The user then may be asked to provide personal information, such as account usernames and passwords, that can further expose them to future compromises. Additionally, these fraudulent websites may contain malicious code.
- Incorrect company name. Often the web address of a phishing site looks correct but actually contains a common misspelling of the company name or a character or symbol before or after the company name. Look for tricks such as substituting the number "1" for the letter "l" in a Web address (for example, www.paypa1.com instead of www.paypal.com).
- "http://" at the start of the address on Yahoo sign-in pages. A legitimate Yahoo sign-in page address starts with "https://" ― the letter "s" must be included. So check the website address for any Yahoo sign-in page.
- A missing forward slash. To verify that you're on a legitimate Yahoo site, make sure a forward slash ( / ) appears after "yahoo.com" in the URL bar, for example, "https://www.yahoo.com” is a fake website address.
Be leery of pop-ups. Be careful if you're sent to a website that immediately displays a pop-up window asking you to enter your username and password. Phishing scams may direct you to a legitimate website and then use a pop-up to gain your account information.
Give a fake password. If you not sure if a site is authentic, don't use your real password to sign in. If you enter a fake password and appear to be signed in, you're likely on a phishing site. Do not enter any more information; close your browser. Keep in mind, though, that some phishing sites automatically display an error message regardless of the password you enter. So, just because your fake password is rejected, don't assume the site is legitimate.
Use a Web browser with antiphishing detection. Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Web browsers have free add-ons (or "plug-ins") that can help you detect phishing sites.
Be wary of other methods to identify a legitimate site. Some methods used to indicate a safe site can't always be trusted. A small unbroken key or locked padlock at the left of the URL bar of your browser is not a reliable indicator of a legitimate website. Just because there's a key or lock and the security certificate looks authentic, don't assume the site is legitimate.
A Ponzi scheme is closely related to a pyramid because it revolves around continuous recruiting, but in a Ponzi scheme the promoter generally has no product to sell and pays no commission to investors who recruit new "members." Instead, the promoter collects payments from a stream of people, promising them all the same high rate of return on a short-term investment. In the typical Ponzi scheme, there is no real investment opportunity, and the promoter just uses the money from new recruits to pay obligations owed to longer-standing members of the program. In English, there is an expression that nicely summarizes this scheme: It's called "stealing from Peter to pay Paul." In fact some law enforcement officers call Ponzi schemes "Peter-Paul" scams. Many of you may be familiar with Ponzi schemes reported in the international financial news. For example, the MMM fund in Russia, which issued investors shares of stock and suddenly collapsed in 1994, was characterized as a Ponzi scheme
Similarly to free giveaways, prize giveaway scams trick people into taking action or supplying information about themselves. For example, supplying a name, address, email and phone number in order to claim a prize. This can allow a hacker to attempt to use the information to gain access to accounts by impersonating you.
Pump and Dumps:
Do not trust people who entice you or others to invest because they claim that they know what the bitcoin price is going to be. In a pump and dump scheme, a person (or persons) try to artificially drive up or pump the price so that they can dump their holdings for a profit.
Pyramid schemes now come in so many forms that they may be difficult to recognize immediately. However, they all share one overriding characteristic. They promise consumers or investors large profits based primarily on recruiting others to join their program, not based on profits from any real investment or real sale of goods to the public. Some schemes may purport to sell a product, but they often simply use the product to hide their pyramid structure. There are two tell-tale signs that a product is simply being used to disguise a pyramid scheme: inventory loading and a lack of retail sales. Inventory loading occurs when a company's incentive program forces recruits to buy more products than they could ever sell, often at inflated prices. If this occurs throughout the company's distribution system, the people at the top of the pyramid reap substantial profits, even though little or no product moves to market. The people at the bottom make excessive payments for inventory that simply accumulates in their basements. A lack of retail sales is also a red flag that a pyramid exists. Many pyramid schemes will claim that their product is selling like hot cakes. However, on closer examination, the sales occur only between people inside the pyramid structure or to new recruits joining the structure, not to consumers out in the general public.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software, also known as malware. It encrypts a victim’s data until the attacker is paid a predetermined ransom. Typically, the attacker demands payment in a form of cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. Only then will the attacker send a decryption key to release the victim’s data.