Many social networks with false promises of profitability, independence

Many people claim that
Blockchain technology and cryptocoins are perfectly secure, that there are no
vulnerabilities regarding security and user privacy. Nothing could be more
distant from reality.

            While blockchain is certainly a technology that secures user
identities, it is innovative and difficult to crack or damage, it is not
entirely impossible to harm. Although Blockchain may be able to mitigate the
risk of fraudulent tampering with accounting records, it does not eliminate the
threat of online fraud and continues to raise concerns about confidentiality.

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Accountability requires
that those responsible for any misconduct are identified and brought to
justice. However, if people remain anonymous, by definition, they cannot be
identified, so it is impossible to hold them accountable. Advocates of
anonymous communications on the Internet, therefore, open the door to many
forms of criminal and antisocial behavior, while leaving victims and society as
a whole completely defenseless. Blockchain technology, like any technology
implementation, is susceptible to the inevitability of failure. There is no
such thing as invulnerable technology and this is no exception.

            As previously mentioned, there are documented reports of
cyber-attacks that have affected companies working with cryptocurrencies, as
happened in South Korean companies. However, cyberattacks are not the only flaw
in the security of crypto.

            In recent years, there has been an incredible raise or a
“boom” of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin. As is well known,
this type of currency is not backed by any entity or central bank and operates
on user-supported technology platforms, where some have taken advantage of this
platform to defraud people.

Classic scams
adapt to Bitcoin

            Evidently fiat currencies, our current monetary system
lends itself to many scams, which are not a direct consequence of the monetary
system as such but of the human condition, and these types of scams have
transcended Bitcoin and are still in use today. They’ve updated, grown with the
age.

            Scams that start from the well-known and widely used
pyramid models that have become popular lately, the so-called “investment
clubs” of Bitcoins, which are promoted in social networks with false
promises of profitability, independence and personal fulfillment.

            A well known case is that of Me Coin, a Colombian company
that was once in the eye of the hurricane when it was involved in a $300
million scam.

            The named company managed to persuade clients into
believing that the company was trading on the Stock Exchange to double the
investment. The promise of this firm was to return the profits to the users
after a month, but as soon as it was able to collect a large sum of money, the
people responsible disappeared without a trace.

This has not been the only
crypto firm involved in this type of situation, it is necessary to warn of the
danger to which a user is exposed when operating with this type of currency
that is not regulated or backed by any authority. In this era, the digital age,
it is even easier to carry out these scams because people use the anonymity
granted to them by social networks and crypto to achieve it and evade the law.

How do you prosecute a
criminal who scams with cryptocurrency if they are not regulated by any entity
or government? Perhaps we would enter into a more philosophical and political
debate on whether this level of liberalism and decentralization is viable to
our inherent human condition.

Investment in bitcoin and
above all the promise of high returns for doing little sounds very appealing to
people. As if it were a religious cult, those who promote these fake investment
clubs ensure a better quality of life for clients and make use of countless
strategies to avoid leaving an imprint on the Internet.

It is for this reason that
in many cases they do not reveal great details on the Internet and simply leave
an image with an aspirational message with which they seek to captivate users.

            With the intense boom in Bitcoin and other
cryptocurrencies, it is to be expected in the future that these types of scams
will begin to appear more frequently.

 

Why scams
success

            Frauds related to these crypto coins profit from
ignorance. Bitcoin has attracted people because of its technological qualities
and the returns it has presented, something that speculative investors have
taken advantage of but, unfortunately, so have scammers.

As mentioned above, the
main scams related to bitcoins are the pyramid schemes or Ponzi. These involve
a series of promises such as very high, fixed returns and in a short period of
time, little or no transparency and a multilevel character, in exchange for an
initial investment and inviting more people to the system and, in turn,
including other users.

The bitcoins market does
not work in a multilevel way, since it is an open market of supply and demand
and it is the technological qualities of the cryptocurrency that make it have
value, not the people who add to the network, this is unknown to people and
this is where scammers take advantage to succeed in their scams.

Along with the pyramidal
character, as in other similar scams, the promises of quick and easy money
stand out. That’s the general rule: if someone tells you they’re going to
invest in an asset with a guaranteed return and it’s greater than 5%, it’s a
scam. No asset, digital or real, has a guaranteed return, unless it is a
treasury bond, and even so it is not guaranteed either, since a government can
fall into default.

Therefore, if a person asks
you for money to buy bitcoins with the promise of huge returns in a short time,
it is better to refrain from entering the scheme, even if the recruiter is a
friend or relative, since the first participants of the pyramid schemes are
those who usually make a profit only as a hook.

 

Phishing

Alongside the pyramid
schemes is the phishing, a practice that consists of deceiving the user into
stealing sensitive data such as bank details, from which bitcoins and other
cryptocurrencies are not safe.

Phishing is carried out on
apocryphal sites posing as exchanges, which are the sites where you can buy and
sell bitcoins.

Similar to the way banks’
websites do, in this variant of phishing the user runs the risk of entering a
site very similar to an exchange already recognized, but whose address can vary
almost imperceptibly and does not have security certificates.

According to the
badbitcoin.org site, where users report apocryphal sites related to bitcoins,
there are currently more than 4,000 fraudulent pages that ask for money in
advance from users, or else pretend to be other sites that are trusted for data
theft.

Consequences

v Total or partial loss of your bitcoins when you lose access to
your accounts.

v Exposure of personal data to the attacker. Many of the portals
they could access might contain private information.

Prevention

v Use double authentication factor or 2FA on all your portals. In
this way, whenever someone wants to access them, they will find a second key
that they do not have.

v Always verify that you are accessing correct web addresses and not
fraudulent links in Google ads.

v Check that the connection is secure (locking icon next to the URL in
your browser) to prevent your data from being intercepted.