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Threats in the Internet – Scams

15-09-2021

A scam for certain investments

One of the most popular fraud scenarios, which has been known for years and is still being implemented, although in many varieties, is a scam that involves taking over the victim’s money under the pretext of a certain, highly profitable investment. Some scams of this type use the Ponzi scheme, which makes it possible for the entire fraud to reach a larger scale because some users get a return on their investment at an early stage, making the entire project credible. In less sophisticated scenarios, the funds obtained from victims are fully taken over.

Therefore, always remember that if someone promises high and certain returns on your investment, whether in cryptocurrencies, gold, oil or other assets, such offers should be treated with a high degree of mistrust. It is a good idea to carefully check the company or application that offers a service of this type as well as to consider the business model of the entire project and whether that model is realistic.

Investment scam (investment fraud)

A very common fraud scenario linked to cryptocurrencies is an investment scam.

It involves making contact with a victim, e.g. in the form of a telephone call, whereby they are notified that they have received a certain amount in Bitcoin, and in order to make a withdrawal they would have to follow the instructions received. Next, the scammers persuade the victim to install software that allows them to control their device (remote desktop software such as Teamviewer or AnyDesk). This allows the scammers to see what the victim is doing on the device. Further instructions direct the victim to a cryptocurrency exchange or exchange office to buy and send a certain amount to the scammers, so that the victim can “receive the reward waiting for them”. If the victim does not have an account yet, the scammers help them set it up. Often, to increase credibility, scammers deposit a small portion of the amount offered in the customer’s account. Sometimes it may even be a transfer to a bank account. The victim loses their funds when transferring them to the exchange, because they gave the scammers their account credentials by accepting their assistance. In the offered “investment assistance”, the scammers transfer the funds from the exchange to external wallet whose balance is shown on their platform (created for the needs of the scam). The deceived people are often so manipulated that when they see their account status on the scammers’ platform (increased by a no small amount of a “bonus”), they authorise all the withdrawals from the exchange. Strangely enough, it is only possible to contact the scammers’ platform as long as the victim still has funds that can be drained. Attempts to withdraw profits from this fraudulent investment are delayed by smaller withdrawals or terminate contact with the scammers altogether. How can you protect yourself against this type of attack? If you receive a call with a similar offer, just hang up. Remember also that there are similar scam scenarios that qualify as “vishing,” which we have already described, where the caller presents themselves as a security department employee of the bank or our exchange and attempts to persuade you to perform some actions to obtain your personal data or your account credentials. Remember that security department employees will never ask you to provide your password or other personal data (e.g. your national identification number).

Exit Scam

An exit scam is a scenario in which the owner of an exchange or other application disappears with the users’ money. In such a case, depending on the registration country of the entities running the exchange and whether the exchange has been registered for its owners (and not intermediaries), it may be very difficult or even impossible to recover your funds.

Therefore, when investing your money, make sure that before starting the entire process you check the institution to which you intend to entrust your funds. It should have appropriate licenses or operating permits in the relevant country - this can be verified in the official register. With this, you can be sure that it meets current standards and is monitored on an ongoing basis.