Last week’s news.Bitcoin.com post warning about common bitcoin scams like “The Bitcoin Code” elicited a plethora of comments and suggestions from readers, asking about and reporting other platforms and services claiming to provide bitcoin investment opportunities. This article examines some of these, and most importantly seeks to provide readers with basic tips for recognizing the general MO of these scam sites before their wallet is SOL.
How to Spot a Scam
When the bitcoin price goes up, and times are already hard for so many individuals financially, scammers have an ideal market for working their wiles and taking naive and unsuspecting victims for all the crypto they can.
As was emphasized in the previous article on the topic, the number one giveaway that something is a scam remains unchanged: if it sounds too good to be true, it almost always is. So before ending up rekt by trying to get rich quick, readers should have a look at the popular scams below and get a feel for their respective modi operandi.
As will quickly become apparent, many scams operate on this template:
- Wow victims with too-good-to-be-true promises of financial gains and returns.
- Get the user to register an email address or bitcoin address to provide an air of legitimacy.
- Have users make their first (and last) deposit.
Bitcoindoubler.club is no different. It is easy to recognize as a scam from the concept itself. Nobody can double someone’s bitcoins in 24 hours as a free service. The introductory text on the website also gives it away:
“We produce bitcoin mining machines that work extremely high levels,” is a vague statement with no real meaning. Notice the awkward English, big promises and bad grammar:
Yes you did not hear wrong, now this service is still paying. Surprisingly, you cannot experience unwanted events. Remember, our goal is to please you .. There is no better advertising marketing than this. Attention: There are many similar sites on the market. Ignore them! Check your address bar! It is a certified and verified system!
This site says there is no way to lose. In investing, however — as any experienced individual knows — there are always many ways to lose. Bitcoindoubler.club demands a minimum 0.003 BTC deposit to participate which, if sent, will be gone forever in a flash.
Wintrust Expert Options
The “Wintrust Expert Options” scam provides a little comic relief with its unique selling point of “beautiful managers in video chat.” It should go without saying though that such a detail is probably impertinent to the operations of any legit forex and crypto investment service.
Like the bitcoin doubler club site, this one promises returns in crypto trading (which are never a guarantee) in a remarkably short time period: “Invest and earn up to 95% in 60 seconds.” Though the sales pitch is different, with Wintrust focusing on trading, and the doubler site focusing on some vague mining magic, the underlying ripoff is the same: sign up, deposit money (either crypto or fiat in this case) and lose it.
When news.Bitcoin.com attempted to use the 24/7 live chat assistance to ask about a platform demo, not surprisingly, no one answered.
When your team looks this stock photo-y, watch out — you’re probably a scam. The page for “Orelex Financial Services” features a stock image that is easily reverse image searched on Google, revealing that the airbrushed characters in the picture are certainly not the Orelex team.
Investing in “crypography technology” the site promises users ” Sustainable Earnings = Master Business Plan X Customer Certainty.” If the spelling errors and bad grammar are not convincing enough, questionable testimonials from users (another common element of scam pages) saying things like “everythin is good” and multiple repeated comments are further red flags. Plus, the social media links do not lead anywhere. In short, users who don’t want their crypto wallets to be as broke as the site should steer clear.
Another common front for bitcoin scams is to pose as a mining pool. While mining bitcoin can indeed be profitable, it is not effortless, and the fake mining websites give themselves away in the same manner as the others, promising easy gains via vague language designed to dupe those who haven’t done their due diligence in learning about the topic.
Mining Cheap says they are “an industry leading Bitcoin mining pool,” but a quick check of prominent bitcoin pools doesn’t show them anywhere to be found. The site also tries to combine gambling with mining, by giving those that make a deposit “free spins.” Similar fake mining sites exist, so those interested in joining a real mining pool as an investment should be sure to examine all possible options with a very critical eye. Like the other scams Mining Cheap has users sign up, make a deposit, and then promises quick returns which never come.
Cryptomia247 is a fake trading website promising an alluring lifestyle of wealthy digital nomadism:
After you have made a deposit, there is nothing else to do except watch your earnings grow in your account every day. This can be fun, because it means you can be anywhere you want to be in the world, and your capital will still be growing in your account every day, even without you doing anything!
The site features the now familiar one-two-three pattern of promise, register/deposit, lose. The giveaways of poor web design, broken links, and nonsensical offers described in poor English are also present.
Noticing Patterns to Stay Safe
It would be impossible to list all the hundreds or possibly thousands of similar bitcoin and crypto scam sites on the internet today. Those who have shiny bitcoin “B” signs in their eyes would do well to step back and closely examine any site promising them the financial world on a platter for next to nothing; because while investing in the scams listed above may pay for a yacht or nice lifestyle, rest assured it won’t be the victim’s.
Thankfully there are plenty of sound investment, trading, and mining opportunities out there, but they all require something scam platforms do not: hard work, time, and due diligence in research.
What other scam sites are you aware of? What are some other common red flags? Let us know in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, fair use.
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Graham Smith is an American expat living in Japan, and the founder of Voluntary Japan—an initiative dedicated to spreading the philosophies of unschooling, individual self-ownership, and economic freedom in the land of the rising sun.
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