Cryptocurrency takes you through a wild ride with its fast-changing state and the impact it has in store for the future of commerce. Retail investors, speculators, and various other institutional investors are increasingly turning to the volatile cryptocurrency arena, attracting scammers along the way and making bitcoin scam recovery a prevalent subject to talk about.
Considering the statistics of the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Sentinel, from October 2020 to March 31, 2021, 7,000 people reported losses worth $80 million. The numbers have multiplied 12 times from last year, a 1,000% hike in reported cases.
The aggressively rising crypto scams demand a closer look at the various bitcoin scams and how to go about bitcoin scam recovery if you have been duped.
Types of Bitcoin Scams
Bitcoin scams are bifurcated into two different categories:
- Measures are taken to get access to a particular digital wallet or credentials. Scammers try to get access to a digital wallet or private information like security codes. It may even include access to physical hardware.
- Direct transfer to a scammer led by impersonation, fraud investment opportunities, or other tactics.
The soaring value and market interest that crypto enjoys have made it vulnerable to cybercrimes. Unfortunately, recovery from these scams is extremely challenging and is often not possible.
How do Bitcoin Scams Work?
Scammers lure victims in and ask them to sign up for non-registered bitcoin platforms that demand small initial investments that multiply to larger amounts quickly. Then, as soon as the victims try to withdraw their funds, the platform asks for further funds to be deposited to aid the withdrawal or delay the process continuously.
They first approach the victim through an email, or it can be through social media advertisements with enticing marketing antics to bring them to bitcoin websites. Recently there has been a rise in cryptic text messages that takes the receiver to a webpage or fake news articles that advertise the bitcoin scam page.
Upon reaching the page, the victim is prompted to sign up by putting in their full name, email id, and phone number; followed by this, you are contacted by the scammer who hard-sells their scam.
Once you click on the link, you may receive a call on their mobile a few days after receiving the SMS, triggering interest in the scheme and paving the way for high-pressure selling.
How to Go About Bitcoin Scam Recovery?
Monitor your credit report
Checking credit reports helps in identifying fraudulent accounts set up in your name after the crypto scam and its impact on your credit score. Also, you can add a fraud alert to your credit report to prevent scammers from using your identity to create a credit account.
Document the details of the scam
Keep a log of all the crucial data of the scam like emails, text messages, and other digital assets linked to it. Note down your personal details the contact information of the company or person who scammed you (full names, email addresses, social media profiles, contact numbers, and IP addresses). Keep a description of the scam like the time, the perpetrators, the money you lost, the crypto wallet and exchanges, and evidence.
Recording this information will give you a detailed report of the scam that you can send to relevant authorities to aid the bitcoin scam recovery.
Contact the relevant authorities
There are many government agencies in place that deal with crypto scams and other such frauds. In the US, you can file the report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
Report the scam to crypto exchanges and wallet providers
You should also alert the crypto exchanges and the wallet providers involved. Most crypto companies have dedicated support in place for reporting crypto scams.
How to Steer Clear of Bitcoin Scams:
- Don’t click on links from text messages.
- Don’t give personal information to unknown people.
- Don’t fall for offers selling you shares, cryptocurrency, or a chance to be a part of binary options trading, more so if the company claims to be located overseas.
- Don’t easily believe claims promising high returns and no risk.
- Do not trust celebrity endorsements for investment products either.
- Do not invest the money you cannot afford to lose.
- Do not pay more money or give personal information to make a withdrawal.
Bitcoin scams aim to get to your personal information or trick you into sending cryptocurrency to a fraudulent digital wallet. Socially engineered scams like giveaways, romance scams, phishing, extortion emails, etc., are a matter of concern in society as a whole, more so when it comes to cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin scam recovery does not come easy, and the chances of successful processes are slim. Still, there are recovery agencies that have legal officers in place and guide you in your recovery process.