Scams.info recently discovered* that cryptocurrency scams are the most highly discussed on TikTok – and it’s perhaps unsurprising. Recent reports claim young adults are twice as likely to fall victim to scams due to internet overconfidence.
In this piece, E-cryptonews.com and Scams.info have provided 6 tips designed to help those thinking about investing in crypto avoid potential scams and costly pitfalls.
1. Research, Research, Research
New cryptocurrencies are emerging all the time, which means due diligence is paramount; stay ahead of the curve and question elements that are unfamiliar. Research the company or platform you are thinking of investing in. If you haven’t heard of a particular term – read up on it using reputable sources such as whitepapers. Consider:
- Who is behind the company or platform – are they on social media, do they have past experience and/or successes, are they knowledgeable about the industry, and in touch with credible sources?
- Analyze the company or platform website/app – is it professional and authentic, are there genuine reviews and testimonials to read, are there relevant, real communities promoting or linking out to the site/app?
- Cross-check the company or platform using an up-to-date and credible fake cryptocurrency list.
2. Beware of Buzzwords
Unsolicited opportunities often present themselves using buzzwords like “guarantee”, “promise”, “free”, “easy”, and “get-rich-quick” – but a basic rule of thumb when investing in crypto is; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam.
In a similar vein to buzzwords, scammers will use high-pressure tactics to get you on board quickly, one of which is tempting you to participate straightaway with the promise of bonuses or discounts. But urgent payment requests are a huge red flag in the crypto world.
Scammers will make big promises in order to hook, line, and sinker prospective business, but in a market as volatile and speculative as cryptocurrency, beware of taking the quick and easy route.
3. Don’t Let Celebs Confound You
Don’t be fooled by the glitz and glamour of celebrity endorsements [seriously, even Kim Kardashian’s been at it], and always approach crypto opportunities like this with healthy skepticism. Scammers are savvy about the fact we’re a sucker for things our favorite celebs advertise – and they use this to their advantage. Crypto scammers can pose as or claim endorsements from celebrities or influencers and use sophisticated methods of deception, such as using unauthorized celebrity images to create an air of legitimacy.
Scams like this are prevalent, particularly on social media. Therefore it’s crucial to steer clear of clicking on links or filling out surveys randomly posted in comment sections and never divulge personal information via a DM, Tweet, or story. This can also be applied to the risk on popular dating apps and the likes on Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge – where scammers also look to hoodwink users.
4. Avoid Unrealistic URLs
Another tactic scammers use is creating fake websites or apps in an attempt to lure potential victims. Oftentimes, these fake platforms look very similar to legitimate platforms, but with small discrepancies such as a slightly different domain name. It can be tricky to tell the real from the fake, so be sure to thoroughly investigate the platform you’re visiting [does the URL look uniform, is the site clean and secure, does your antivirus software flag up] and never enter personal details or deposit cash to a site you’re unsure of.
5. Be Cautious to Avoid ‘Rug Pulls’
Recently cited as one of the biggest scams to look out for in 2023, rug pull schemes involve scammers ‘pumping up’ a new project, non-fungible token [NFT], or coin to get funding – then scarper with investors’ money. It’s difficult to spot a rug pull scheme before it happens, so it’s important to approach startups headed by unknown backers, or companies/platforms that over-promote but are unable to demonstrate past experience or successes, with caution.
6. Secure Your Digital Wallet
You will need a digital wallet with private keys to invest in cryptocurrency. If anyone asks you to share your keys this is likely to be a scam. Wallet security varies depending on the type you’re using but it’s best to use a digital wallet that has been developed by a reputable company with a proven track record.
You might want to consider multi-factor authentication [the user will need to provide two or more verification factors to gain access], using multiple wallets or passwords to protect all devices. At the very least, keep all personal details hidden, never share your private key[s], and avoid logging in on public Wifi.
In the UK, cryptocurrency is not regulated and you are unlikely to get your money back if you are targeted by scammers. However, you can report the firm to the Financial Conduct Authority [FCA], file a claim at Broker Complaint Alert or request a chargeback from your bank, if this happens to you.
Nicholas Crouch, for Scams.info, says:
“Across the media, a rise in scams is being reported and we can see from our TikTok analysis that many people [many young people – taking into account TikTok’s demographic, with Exploding Topics reporting 47.4% of TikTok users are under 30] are falling victim to – or are concerned about – the scams that may affect them.
This can include anything from concert ticket scams, a huge bone of contention as popular music acts like Taylor Swift launches new tour dates, to competition scams, where many people are promised dream prizes such as property or cars in exchange for personal details or money. It’s important to stay alert to potential scams/scammers – always take the time to stop and think before proceeding and never feel too embarrassed to question something if it doesn’t feel or look right.”
Below are the 30 most used Keywords for Crypto Scams:
|The exact Phrase Searched on TikTok||Total TikTok Views|
|Covid vaccine scam||3,100,000,000||3.1B|
|Water bottle scam||1,800,000,000||1.8B|
|Ticket scam concert||1,100,000,000||1.1B|
|Repair shop scams||527,500,000||527.5M|
|Credit scores are a scam||478,500,000||478.5M|
|Pyramid scheme scam||250,100,000||250.1M|
|Car parking scams||233,500,000||233.5M|
|Scam job offer||148,300,000||148.3M|
|Small business scams||145,400,000||145.4M|
|Energy bill scam||123,800,000||123.8M|
|Multi-level marketing scam||57,500,000||57.5M|
|Diamonds are a scam||48,900,000||48.9M|
|Postal scam texts||30,000,000||30M|
|Scammed online shopping||27,100,000||27.1M|
|Diets are a scam||17,800,000||17.8M|
|Free health insurance scam||17,500,000||17.5M|
|Lucky day competitions scam||7,500,000||7.5M|
|UK gov scam||7,300,000||7.3M|
|30 minute lunch break scam||4,400,000||4.4M|
|Funeral donation scam||1,100,000||1.1M|