With the current bear market, it seems that the only people making money in crypto are scammers. The industry is rife with false promises, fake projects, and malicious software. It’s easy to become a target, but even easier to avoid crypto scams once you understand how to protect yourself.
Download Anti-Malware Software
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from crypto-related scams is by downloading an anti-malware service. Popular options such as Malwarebytes, BitDefender, and SpyBot offer free services that give users a great deal of protection.
According to McAfee Labs’ 2018 Threat Report, over 4 million different malware miners were identified. A malware miner is capable of hijacking your computer’s CPU to mine cryptocurrencies. These miners drain the resources on your Mac or PC without your knowledge.
Cryptojacking malware has resulted in the loss of over $1 billion from individual users and exchanges. This number is projected to rise as malware manufacturers find new avenues to infect computers.
By having an anti-malware program installed, you’re less likely to be exposed to malicious software. Although these defenders drastically decrease your chances of being exposed to malware, you’ll still need to take additional precautions to keep your crypto safe from scammers and hackers.
Diligent ICO Research
ICOs netted over $8 billion in 2018. Many of these ICOs were started by scammers looking to make a large amount of money without ever intending on delivering a product. We see these all the time in the world of initial coin offerings, and that’s why it’s crucial for you to read every detail of an ICO.
First, look at the team. Who are they? What have they done in the past? Do their backgrounds match with the task at hand? If you land on the team page and see that the CEO and CTO are anonymous, then you should exit the site immediately. An ICO should have a completely transparent team. Their previous work history and degrees earned from a university should be on display.
It’s also important to note that even scam ICOs have transparent teams. A perfect example is by looking at Paragon’s project. Their team members included the rapper The Game and model Jessica VerSteeg. Although their team members are known figures, this ICO turned out to be a scam and was fined by the SEC.
Next, what’s the project about? Does it sound professional? Does it seem possible or more like a dream? Is it too good to be true? These are all the questions you should ask when looking at what the team is trying to accomplish. If the whitepaper is full of grammatical errors and isn’t written clearly, you should find a new project to research.
Does the ICO website look professional? If the ICO’s website looks like it was made with HTML in one day, then you should look elsewhere. Professional teams take time and spare no expense in providing prospective investors with the best looking ICO page. First impressions are everything when it comes to raising funds.
Buying Hardware Wallets Directly from Official Distributors
Hardware wallets are the most popular devices for storing cryptocurrency. These handheld devices make malware obsolete since your private keys are embedded within the device. For a hacker to compromise your wallet, they’ll need to take your device and PIN from you physically. Since this is highly unlikely, hackers have turned to a new method of scamming people buying hardware wallets.
The technique is simple: a scammer will sell a fake Trezor or Ledger on a bogus website with a similar name to the real site. These scammers then take to marketing their site so that it gains exposure. Finally, once someone purchases a device, they now have what they think is a legitimate wallet. Instead, this wallet is ready to steal your hard-earned crypto the moment you make a deposit.
It’s for this reason why buying from official distributors is essential. The best way of not being scammed is by buying your hardware wallet directly off of the companies website. Buying directly from Ledger or Trezor very straightforward.
By following these steps, you’re less likely to fall into a scammers trap. Although cryptocurrencies are an excitingly useful innovation, they’re the biggest target for hackers because of their high value.
The best plan is always being proactive. The world of cryptocurrencies is continually shifting, at what might be secure today won’t be tomorrow. The technology that drives this space is rapidly evolving, so being aware is also necessary to not fall into scams.