The entire cryptocurrency market has reached a total traded capitalization of nearly $2 trillion dollars in just 10 years. The price of a single bitcoin reached $18,737.60 by 18 December 2017, with a global FOMO frenzy, but then the price of bitcoin tanked to as low as $3,209.76 by 15 December 2018. The volatility of the cryptocurrency has not however deterred investors trying to make a quick buck and this is where the scammers take advantage of innocent victims.
Although blockchain tech is a relatively safe technology, cybercriminals manage to find breaches and loopholes to break into the websites and compromise users’ digital wallets and funds. It goes without saying that the laws protecting investors of ICO are far from perfect, so it’s easy for founders to commit a serious financial crime and get away with it. The term “Wild West” is often associated with cryptocurrencies and for the most part, it is true, as global regulation is still a work in progress, with governments struggling to keep up with the pace of innovation.
People often buy cryptocurrencies using a credit card/ wire transfer or any type of method to move funds to exchange and in some cases directly through the scam websites, and this is where the liability can be attributed to the card issuers and banks, as they are supposed to safeguard customers funds.
Investment Scams will often get you to transfer cryptocurrencies as they are anonymous it is very difficult for an untrained to track and recover their funds. Below are two of the most prolific scams in recent history:
In 2015 Ruja Ignatova, along with her brother, Konstantin Ignatov, ran “OneCoin” which claimed to be a new and better version of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and managed to steal an incredible $5 Billion from people around the world. They held elaborate and glamorous events where they pitched OneCoin to potential investors and claimed it was going to change the world and usher in a new world of financial freedom. Those who invested early were told they would be at the start of a revolution. However, nothing actually existed, OneCoin didn’t have a blockchain, a cryptocurrency or wallet. Ruja Ignatova vanished in mid-2017 and is being charged with money laundering offences in several countries.
Another well known MLM cryptocurrency scheme was a company called “Bitconnect” that had a total capitalization of trade in excess of $1.5 Billion just before the entire house of cards came tumbling down on 16 January 2018, and with its many thousands of people lost all of their investments to what turned out to be a global Ponzi scheme. The scammers were accused of fraud, misrepresentation, and misappropriation in connection with bitcoin/BCC trading. The crypto scammers are now being sought by law enforcement authorities in virtually every major country.
COMMON TYPES OF CRYPTOCURRENCY INVESTMENT
Cryptocurrency scammers are constantly inventing new ways to steal your coins & tokens many people have reportedly been a victim to one of these five types of scams below.
The Pump & Dump
The crypto scammers “pump up” or hype up (pump) a cryptocurrency that they own in bulk with the aim to sell it (dump) once the value peaks due to the increased demand that they themselves have generated. In most cases, however, they will actually convince newbie inexperienced investors into colluding with their scam with false promises of massive returns. Sadly these naive people often find out too late and are then left holding huge amounts of worthless cryptocurrencies.
Fake Investment Syndicates
Often the only people who profit from online “syndicates” are the scammers who run them. The sites look incredibly legitimate and, similar to binary options sites, they also feature photos of happy members with large houses, sports cars or in exotic locations, and claim to have made megabucks by investing with the hidden cryptocurrency pros who stand behind the curtain. The last time you see your money will be when you hand it over to the scammers and then suddenly the customer support is too busy to assist with your inquiries about returning investments or missed deadlines for dividends.
They’re all over cyberspace, and for first-time investors, they’re hard to distinguish from the legitimate ones. In December 2017, Korean authorities closed down one of them, BitKRX. What was particularly pernicious was that BitKRX usurped the last three letters of its name from KRX, the Korean Stock Exchange, in order to purposely misrepresent itself.
This scam is custom-made for cryptocurrencies. Since “altcoins” are bytes of data, rather than metal, they have to be parked somewhere online in what is euphemistically called a “digital wallet.” Innovative scammers with good marketing skills set up their own digital wallets advertise aggressively for customers to come along and once they deposit their cryptocurrency in them, it disappears forever.
Ponzi and Pyramid Schemes
If cryptocurrency investments are, as they say, guaranteed to quickly appreciate in value at a skyrocketing rate, why would someone offer you a higher interest than the market currently generates? The most obvious answer is because the offer is a red light for a cryptocurrency Ponzi or pyramid scheme. The phenomenon will continue, since other such online schemes employ the same 200%-in-90-days business model, and are bound to collapse as well. The main difference between the operators of these sites and Charles Ponzi, for whom the scheme is named, is that these guys, unlike Mr. Ponzi, are anonymous.
Using the ‘Telegram messaging” platform has its risks also and it is often used by scammers to trick victims into thinking they are dealing with real “admins” just by changing their username so it looks official, essentially they will add a letter or even “admin” next to their username. Once they have started a conversation with you they will take time to gain trust and offer help and even appear to be very sympathetic to your needs. However, they will soon ask you to transfer cryptocurrency as part of an admin process to verify your details or they will try to get you to send the private keys to your wallet. Many people new to cryptocurrencies are very trusting in the beginning and are not sure about what to look for to spot the scams and the scammers rely on this and take full advantage to steal your money. Telegram is also full of bots and spam which often have links to fake sites or to sites that can install phishing links that scrape your data and allows the scammers to get more information about your online presence, so we recommend never to click on these links.
The forex market (FX) is the world’s largest trading market, dwarfing the stock exchange in size with nearly US$5 Trillion traded daily. The market is open 24 hours a day, when trading closes in New York it starts again in Tokyo and Hong Kong. Currencies are always traded in pairs, for example, the US$ with the UK£ or the US$ with the EURO. With constant price fluctuations, this tumultuous market can make Institutions, companies and some individuals a lot of money.
Forex fraud is a growing problem. It can be found everywhere from boiler room scam artists, to some guy you met at the coffee shop the other day, even past trusted brokers and executives have been involved in forex scams. The most common victims are the ones who think it will never happen to them.
Though there is no guaranteed way to avoid forex fraud, it is still possible to trade, minimize the chance of becoming a victim of a forex scam, and prosper in the forex market providing you remain diligent and alert in every decision you make. Don’t let your hard-earned money become an easy target for some forex scammer, make sure any person you choose to do business with is duly regulated in the country they operate from.
People under 25 are falling in droves for the lavish payouts promised by rudimentary Instagram scams. Until recently, older people (those over 50 and in retirement) were considered to be most vulnerable to various scams perpetrated online. It makes perfect sense: a generation not particularly well-versed in the ways of this new online world would indeed be expected to fare poorly when faced with its challenges.
All that is apparently a thing of the past now. Those who currently make up the over-55 age-category, have grown somewhat immune to the tricks of the online scammers. The young adult category has become the preferred target of shady online operators, and yes, that means you too. These days, young people on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and the likes, are the most likely to fall for get-rich-quick schemes, even if these schemes are rudimentary and lack any kind of credibility, even at first glance.
The scammers start out by setting up Instagram accounts. To the expert eye, these accounts are very easy to spot and they do tend to be mostly alike. They feature pictures of attractive young people, posing in front of expensive mansions and cars while holding up wads of cash – as if saying: this could be you! Accounts featuring attractive young women tend to draw noticeably more followers for obvious reasons. There are also plenty of such scam accounts featuring the alleged profiles of attractive young men too. The scammers do not want to leave any demographic group uncovered and since they are sort of saying “this could be you”, they need characters their targeted people can identify with.
So with the above context in mind, we are here to help you recover your lost funds from the banks and credit card providers with our extensive knowledge in fraud detection and years of experience in dealing with these matters. We have a high success rate and many satisfied customers. Below we list several common Forex scams that have gained traction over the last decade as the internet has reached a larger population.
High yield investment programs
High Yield Investment Programs (HYIP) are (a lot of the time) a form of Ponzi scheme in which a high level of return is promised for a small initial investment into a forex fund. However, in reality, the initial investors are only being paid back by the money generated by the current investors and once there are no more investors in the scheme the owners usually close it down and take all money remaining.
Ponzi or pyramid schemes
This is a very common form of affinity fraud. They promise high returns from a small initial investment upfront. The early investors usually do gain some sort of return on their money and motivated by this success they then recruit their friends and family into the scheme. However, the truth is that the ‘investment opportunity’ does not actually exist and their initial return is being funded by money paid in by other members of the scheme. When the investor numbers start to drop the scammers close the scheme and take the money. We have covered this type of scam in-depth under the Ponzi & Pyramid scams section.
This old forex scam was based on computer manipulation of bid/ask spreads. The point spread between the bid and ask basically reflects the commission of a back-and-forth transaction processed through a broker. These spreads typically differ between currency pairs. The scam occurs when those point spreads differ widely among brokers. Brokers often do not offer the normal two- to three-point spread in the EUR/USD, for example, but spreads of seven pips or more. (A pip is the smallest price move that a given exchange rate makes based on market convention. Since most major currency pairs are priced to four decimal places, the smallest change is that of the last decimal point.) Factor four or more pips on every $1 million trade, and any potential gains resulting from a good investment are eaten away by commissions.
“Robot” Scamming in Today’s Market
A persistent scam, old and new, presents itself in some types of forex-developed trading systems. These scammers tout their system’s ability to generate automatic trades that, even while you sleep, earn vast wealth. Today, the new terminology is “robot,” because of the ability to work automatically. Either way, many of these systems have not been submitted for formal review and tested by an independent source.
A popular modern-day scam is the signal seller. Signal sellers are retail firms, pooled asset managers, managed account companies or individual traders that offer a system – for a daily, weekly or monthly fee – that claims to identify favorable times to buy or sell a currency pair, based on professional recommendations that will make anyone wealthy. They tout their long experience and trading abilities, plus testimonials from people who vouch for how great a trader and friend the person is, and the vast wealth that this person has earned for them.