If you are going to trade or invest in crypto, you need to be aware of a number of scams that exist.This is a fairly new space and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of scams out there. Scammers have every intention of stealing your coins or money.Here are a few things I've seen or have learned the hard way myself.I will keep this page updated as new scams emerge, which they will.
1.PEOPLE ASKING FOR YOUR PRIVATE KEY
A common scam involves people asking for your private key in order to get free coins.NEVER give your private key out.It's private for a reason.No one will ever ask for your private key unless they intend to take something from you.
Example: You see a Tweet from a company for an airdrop of free coins.When you click on the link, things look normal at first.Then you are asked for your private key in order to complete the airdrop.STOP and don't go any further.If you do give out your private key, anyone can go into your wallet and steal everything you have and you have NO recourse.This can be a COSTLY lesson.
Keep your private key PRIVATE.Think of it as your PIN code for your debit card.Don't share it with anyone.
2.FAKE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS, ESPECIALLY TWITTER
While social media, Twitter specifically, can be a useful tool to keep up with news on a coin, it has recently become a playground for scammers.I have seen Twitter accounts that have been created that look IDENTICAL to the owners site, with subtle differences.
Example:My Twitter is @jenlovescrypto.If someone wanted to, they could create an identical site to mine (including profile pic) but name it @jenIovescrypto.At first glance it may appear to be me, but in this case the "l" in loves has been replaced with a capital "i".To the naked eye, you may not catch it.The scammers will then use that fake account to tweet asking for you to send money to a wallet address, asking for private keys or whatever the scam may be.If you follow legitimate people, they will never ask you for that information.If you notice something out of the ordinary, like people asking you to send money, double check the account as well as the information they are providing.
3.PUMP AND DUMPS
Pump and dumps.If you are into crypto, you will hear this term often.There are groups out there that will ask you to pay to become a member of their group and they, in turn, will give you early access to coins that are going to be "pumped", sometimes promising you 100-300% gains. DON"T DO IT.These groups may give you the name of a coin, and sure, it may run, but they will be in and out of the trade before even get the signal. They obviously need people to jump into a coin to increase volume, make it run, take their profits, and leave you with the drop, potentially losing a good portion of your money.Later, after you become familiar with charts and movement of coins, you will be able to catch these runners by yourself.NEVER pay anyone to give you information on coins that are going to be pumped.
While ICOs (Intial Coin Offerings) can be a great way to get into a coin before it's listed, there can also be alot of fraud associated with ICOs. If you are thinking about getting into an ICO, see my Blog on how to research one. Often times, a company will overestimate the value of their company in order to make money. Anyone can start an ICO (a coin) in order to make money, without any intention of ever starting a coin at all.As you access crypto websites, you will be bombarded with pop ups of upcoming ICOs.If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.Just take caution and do your homework.This is why the SEC has recently stepped in to help prevent fraud.
5.FOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)
One of the worst things you can do an an investor, in ANYTHING, is to jump into something with the fear of missing out.A perfect example of this is December, 2017.Bitcoin was all over the news.Everyone was talking about it.People went out and took second mortgages on their houses to buy Bitcoin....but they bought in without looking at price action, and the charts, Some bought in at the height of it's price action...and then it dropped. Alot of people lost money.Never buy into anything with the fear of missing out.Every stock and every coin has a point where it will pull back. Nothing can keep going up indefinitely.Keep this in mind.While it may be tempting to chase something...be patient.There will be an entry point at some point where you won't be left holding the bag. Patience is key.
6.USING PUBLIC WIFI
One thing you need to be aware of, once you start trading, is using public Wifi.If you access ANYTHING on your phone that relates to your electronic wallets or trading accounts, beware of public wifi.I think this goes without saying, but there have been instances where peoples entire wallets were stolen by cyber criminals.
Ok, this one is a little more complicated to explain.Here's a link that explains it and what it is and what you can do.The reason I'm putting this warning here is that this method can be used by scammers can get access to your phone, and then in turn, get access to your online trading accounts and steal your coins.This is a good thing to be aware of not just in crypto, but everyday life, bank accounts, etc.
8.KEEPING YOUR COINS ON EXCHANGES
One of the ways you leave yourself open to open to theft and scams is to leave your coins in your wallet on any exchange (for example, Gemini, Coinbase, Binance).The best way to protect your coins is to keep them offline in a paper wallet or an external wallet (cold storage).Do not depend on an exchange to keep your coins safe.If an exchange goes out of business or gets hacked, you can lose all of your coins without any compensation from the exchange. If you are a long term holder of coins, keep them in a wallet offline.You will find a helpful link under Resources that shows you how to create a paper wallet.
9.FOLLOWING EXTERNAL LINKS TO EXCHANGES
Never follow an external link to an exchange (via email, text message or friend).Always type the web address in your browser and make sure you bookmark it.From that point forward, you can use your bookmark.This will help minimize the risk of being taken to a fraudulent website which may look EXACTLY like the exchange website.
10.FREE COIN OFFERS
While there are occasions when you can receive free coins, most times you see an offer for something free...it's not.ALWAYS go to the website or social media site belonging to the specific coin to verify they are actually offering something.Never believe a post you see from anyone other than the company itself.Scammers love to ask for your wallet address NEVER SEND FREE COINS TO SOMEONE IN EXCHANGE FOR MORE FREE COINS!! Be careful!
Airdrops can be a great way to get coins, they can also be a way to lose a lot of money in a position.Many coins will get a nice pump before an airdrop.People want free coins. I mean, who doesn't. The problem is...the moment the people receive their free coins, sometimes they dump the original coin and you could lose money.This is just something to keep in mind.This is another reason that it is important to keep up on news every day.See my Blog regarding Airdrops.