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Top Bitcoin Scams & Getting Back the Stolen Bitcoin

Nov 30, 2020 - Koby Pearson

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If you have not heard the word bitcoin in recent years, you must have been living in a cave. Internet, TV, newspapers – all informational sources talk about the rising and falling of bitcoin price and its influence on the economy.

As with every economic phenomenon, with the growing popularity of bitcoin, frauds, and scams spread everywhere. But first things first, what exactly bitcoin is?

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin was created in 2009 by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. In simple terms, bitcoin does not differ much from the classic USD or EUR. Bitcoin is a currency. What is unique about it, that it is a cryptocurrency, meaning it does not have any physical presence: no coins, no banknotes, no central bank.

Why is bitcoin so popular?

Bitcoin is a real breakthrough. It allows making transactions without any middlemen, meaning you do not need a bank. Another important feature of bitcoin is its full anonymity: you can pay for things without proving your identity.

Some people buy bitcoins as an investment, hoping that they'll go up in value, as it happened in 2017 when bitcoin's price skyrocketed a thousand times.

Is bitcoin safe?

Most people treat bitcoin as a mythical pandora box that contains thieves, scammers, and other people of the worst kind. However, outside the realm of myths, such statements are entirely fake and misleading. Thousands of people develop the bitcoin network every day to make it better and safer.

So, the answer to the question "is bitcoin safe?" is yes, but make sure to manage your security. Otherwise, you can get into a cryptocurrency scam.

They say, forewarned is forearmed. That is why let's talk about the most spread bitcoin scams and how to protect yourself from them.

What are the most popular Bitcoin scams?

  • Fake bitcoin wallet

So, you want to buy something online and pay in bitcoins? That is an excellent idea. However, before sending your funds to any unfamiliar wallet, do a little research. Check the reviews about the shop and the owner, see if no one has reported on it, and only after you ensure the person is trustworthy send your funds.

  • Bitcoin pyramid scheme

Bitcoin pyramid is a crypto analog of a Ponzi scheme when you take money from new investors to pay previous investors. For example, in 2019, three men were arrested in a $722 million cryptocurrency pyramid scheme. For years, they operated BitClub Network and requested money from investors in exchange for shares of cryptocurrency mining pools. They also promised rewarding current investors for recruiting new ones. As you can guess, in the end, investors got nothing.

  • Bitcoin investment scams

An investment scam is when someone offers you a fake but often convincing opportunity to make a profit after they get from you a sum of money. For example, they can say that the new cryptocurrency is being launched, and you can buy coins or tokens as part of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). If you are not a specialist in cryptocurrencies or investments, avoid it. Otherwise, you can invest all your funds into a cryptocurrency that doesn't and won't ever exist.

  • Social media scams

In July 2020, Twitter accounts of the world's most famous people have been involved in a huge online bitcoin scam. Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Elon Mask posted tweets asking followers to send bitcoin to a specific anonymous address. Of course, it was quickly revealed that the accounts have been hacked. Yet the scammers received over $121 000 anyway.

Advice: never send money to any bitcoin wallets without doing research. Even if Elon Mask asks you to.

How to get bitcoin back from a scammer?

Thankfully, there are ways to get back your stolen bitcoin. If the funds are in an exchange, you need to contact them and ask to pause the process and freeze your crypto. Unfortunately, not all exchanges might want to obey, so you may have to get legal assistance involved.

For the judicial system to work in your favor, you will have to know who stole your cryptocurrency. In general, to enforce an order requiring fraudsters to handover stolen bitcoin, you need to know who they are.

Thankfully, one of the many benefits of cryptocurrency is seeing where the coins have gone. If they go through an exchange, you will most likely find out who the wallet owner is. It will enable you to get an order to reveal the crypto thief's identity and recover your stolen crypto.

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How Do I Protect Myself From Online Fraud?

Fraud on the Internet has been around for about as long as the world wide web itself. From year to year, fraudsters develop new tricks and techniques to deceive their potential victims. To avoid getting into online traps, be sure to follow some basic rules:

  • Check your social media privacy settings and never share information with people you don’t know.
  • Create strong and different passwords for each website you use. Experts say you should change all your passwords once in a few months.
  • Always be cautious when using public Wi-Fi. You can use it for general browsing, but never use it for shopping or banking.
  • Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows, links, or attachments in emails.
  • Never send money or give credit card details, online account details, or copies of personal documents to people you don’t know or trust.
  • Be wary of unusual payment requests. Scammers will often ask you to use an atypical payment method, including gift cards or virtual currency, such as Bitcoin.

What to Do If I Have Become a Victim of Online Fraud?

Sometimes people choose not to report fraud because they are embarrassed that they fell for a scam. Remember that fraud is a crime, and fraudsters will continuously find new ways of tricking people. Anyone can become a victim, so you need to do your best to prevent this.

The first thing you should do if you become a fraud victim is to contact the police. Come to the local police station or call an emergency number to get advice. Contact your bank first if credit cards, online banking, or cheques are involved.

If your funds were transferred via an electronic payment system (PayPal, WebPay, etc.), it makes sense to contact the support service. The support service can block a scammer's account, preventing potential theft.

Can I Get My Money Back?

If fraudsters have stolen your card details, you need to call your bank's support service and block your card. After that, go to the bank and submit an application to cancel the transfer. Reviewing your application can take up to 30 days. Remember to bring evidence that you were deceived and take it both to the bank and the police.

According to the statistics, only 23 percent reported money out of the 1.7 million cases was lost, meaning you have a chance to return your funds.

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