Phishing comes in many forms. The main target of any cybercrime is to generate money from duplicitous actions. When a hacker targets an international business and steals their data, there is a financial incentive that pushes them to do so. As cryptocurrency becomes a more recognized financial medium, attackers are actively turning to target those with digital wallets.
In 2021, crypto scammers took $14 billion. Quite simply, as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies become more valuable, they become a bigger target for hackers and scammers. With this in mind, those that actively buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin need to be aware of the risk they’re taking.
In this article, to help reduce the chance of you falling for a Bitcoin phishing scam, we’ve created this article to show you the most common Bitcoin phishing messages you’re likely to come across. By learning about which forms phishing emails take, you’ll be better prepared to recognize them and put a stop to them before anyone makes off with your hard-earned crypto.
What Are The Most Common Bitcoin Phishing Scams?
When creating phishing emails that cause cryptocurrency owners to accidentally give away information about their private wallets, the message often comes from a financial service. Whether it’s an impersonation of a service or a fake exchange reaching out via email, attackers use a range of strategies to try and deceive their audience.
When you open your inbox, try to scan for the follow emails, as they might be a sign of someone attempting to steal your information:
- Password resets
- Fake Exchanges
- Phishing Websites
- Scam Coins
Let’s break down these commonly-used methods.
Password resets are far from exclusive to cryptocurrency scams, yet are still one of the most pressing forms of scams that are employed when trying to steal Bitcoin and another cryptocurrency. By copying the layout of an email from an exchange like Binance, a hacker can duplicate a password reset almost identically.
They’ll send this email out, alerting their victims that they need to reset their passwords. Within this email, the reset link will then go to the attacker’s own website, where they can then collect the old password and use it to gain access to accounts.
Especially with Bitcoin and other cryptos, where a transaction is fairly irreversible, if a hacker gains access to your account for even a few minutes, they can do irreparable damage. It’s always a good idea to verify where your password reset emails are coming from. Better still, only reset your password by navigating from Google to the actual site, never directly through an email itself.
Within the online world, it’s incredibly easy to create fake profiles, find photos online, and construct a whole false identity. Over the past few months, the world of cryptocurrency has seen many false accounts creating profiles, gaining an audience, hosting a scam giveaway, then disappearing without a trace.
Whether it be through private messaging and asking for crypto or through hosting free giveaways which inject malware onto computer systems, always double-check who you’re talking to online.
While an extreme form of impersonation, back in 2020, a group of hackers managed to gain access to a variety of notable figures on Twitter, such as Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian, and more. From these accounts, they then tweeted a Bitcoin scam which saw Twitter users send over $110,000 USD in transactions.
Always be wary about things that seem too good to be true when it comes to crypto.
Over the past 18 months, seemingly hundreds of DeFi exchanges have popped up. A market that was once controlled by a few larger players is now saturated by exchanges from all over the world. With this, it’s not uncommon to find an email in your inbox that offers to help you sell or buy Bitcoin at great rates.
Unfortunately, many of these emails will be phishing attempts, with the fake exchange simply trying to farm information to take over a user’s wallet. Try and stick to sites that you know are reputable, and always navigate to them through Google instead of via email.
While not directly related to Bitcoin, throughout the history of blockchain, a huge number of scam ICOs have been launched. This was at its worst back in 2018, when 80% of all cryptocurrencies released turned out to be scams. Investing in coins at a very early stage, especially when the project seems to lack a great deal of documentation, is not the smartest idea.
Although it’s tempting when you see promises of 100x returns, always be sure to research any project thoroughly before you actually commit to investing. Start with their white paper, read through their fundamentals and tokenomics, and try to discern if this project is actually worth investing in or just seems like hot air.
Equally, if an email arrives into your inbox that offers an airdrop in exchange for a small Bitcoin fee – don’t leap at the opportunity. Airdrops should never involve you giving away details of your account, no matter how great the opportunity may seem to you on the outside. Remember that phishing emails are incredibly common – you’re more likely to come across a scam than a real crypto opportunity, unfortunately.
Cryptocurrency, even in 2022, is still full of scams, hacks, and people with bad intentions. Due to the huge value of this industry, especially leading cryptos like Bitcoin, attackers will stop at nothing to gain access to user wallets and exploit them.
When reading through your emails, you’re carefully walking across the front lines, where the vast majority of cryptocurrency scams and exploits occur. What may seem like a simple email might actually have much worse intentions. Be sure to always take your time, read carefully, and never click on links from companies that you don’t recognize – your Bitcoin could be at stake.