Beware of crypto scams

Emad Haffar, Head of Technical Experts META region at Kaspersky, talks about the rising crypto scams and the precautions to be taken before investing.

It’s no surprise that cryptocurrency trading is peaking in the UAE as the country positions itself as a crypto-friendly hub. Just like investing in real estate and the stock market, investing in cryptocurrency too is now being considered as an alternate revenue generator for many. Although there always has been an air of scepticism around crypto credibility and authenticity, people’s curiosity on crypto high-returns has compelled them to understand and learn what it is and how it works. But, with good, comes bad. And, you cannot dismiss the security loopholes in cryptocurrency, or worst, it being used by scammers to trick people and commit financial fraud.

Recently, stories of people falling victim to romance scams, which eventually turn into financial fraud, have been all over the news. In the course of their interaction with the scammers, the victims were instructed to transfer large sums of money to dodgy crypto trading platforms in the promise of high profits. While it appeared that the victims were earning profits over their investments, in reality, they were being conned in millions.

If this is unimaginable, scammers have also started to steal cryptocurrency from Twitter users. Scammers have been sending direct messages with login credentials for some cryptocurrency accounts to Twitter users, asking help to withdraw money from them.

When such situations arise, there is only one question to be asked. Is there a way out?

There are certain things people can pay attention to before or during investing in crypto.

• Only invest in things you understand: If it’s not clear to you how a particular cryptocurrency works, then it’s best to pause and do further research before you decide whether to invest.

Take your time: Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to get you to invest your money quickly – for example, by promising bonuses or discounts if you participate straightaway. Take your time and carry out your own research before investing any money.

Promises of guaranteed returns: No financial investment can guarantee future returns because investments can go down as well as up. Any crypto offering that promises you will definitely make money is a red flag.

Protect your wallet: To invest in cryptocurrency, you need a wallet with private keys. If a firm asks you to share your keys to participate in an investment opportunity, it’s highly likely to be a scam. Keep your wallet keys private.

Only download apps from official platforms: Although fake apps can end up in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, it is safer to download apps from these platforms than elsewhere.

Use reliable security tools: Using solutions like Kaspersky Premium can help spot suspicious links and block access to fraudulent sites and act as the first line of defence.

Sadly, crypto scammers thrive on the fact that even vigilant people are human and sometimes fall for a well-crafted bait – especially when it has to do with money. With the crypto market making noise about being a lucrative avenue for investment and the high-returns investors can expect, people tend to not second-guess when someone offers help. This is where security solutions come in handy to highlight the dangerous red flags.