Image by Rant 73 – digital museum via License: Public Domain

If there’s one resolution you should make, it’s this: Don’t let scammers take your coins in 2024. To make this work better, we will help you with a little knowledge.

There are three simple basic rules that will go a long way in preventing you from getting ripped off: First, if something sounds too good to be true, it’s a scam. Second, if you receive a nice email from an unknown sender, be suspicious. Third, use Google and the search term “scam” before doing anything with your wallet and not being 100 percent sure.

But it would be naive to think that you could expose every scam and fraud with such home remedies. The scammers out there are not stupid and think about how they can take your coins every day. And like every year, they will be successful.

2023 was an extremely successful year for crypto scammers. According to Atlas VPN, $610 million was stolen by scammers in the first three quarters of the year alone. The top scams were primarily investment scams or Ponzis from Asia.

The analyst Chainalysis estimates losses of at least $374 million from targeted “approval phishing scams” ​​alone. In these cases, the unsuspecting victims allow the fraudster to empty their own Web3 wallet through a blockchain transaction.

The situation became a bit confusing. An analyst from Chainalysis notes in a podcast that in the past they would have focused on simple investment scams and ICOs, but today they are faced with a variety of methods that are becoming increasingly sophisticated. And with the advance of generative AIs that can falsify images, voices and videos, the situation is likely to become even more delicate.

Therefore, we are introducing you to the many ways in which you can lose your cryptocurrencies to scammers in 2024. Hopefully knowing them will help you recognize them too.

Investment scam and Ponzi

The classic investment scam lures you into a trap with high interest rates. You may deposit money into a platform and not be able to withdraw it, it may be fine for a while because interest is paid out on new investments, making it a typical pyramid or Ponzi scheme. The general rule here is: If something is too good to be true, it is a fraud, and your own greed is your greatest enemy.

That sounds simple, and is often transparent. But the scammers are not stupid and have come up with a variety of methods to trick you:

The business scam

Someone offers you a good business opportunity to give you the impression that it is a reputable platform. The deal doesn’t happen, but you took confidence and invested.

The job posting scam

Some scammers post fake job offers for jobs in the crypto sector, such as in mining or on stock exchanges. The goal is to gain your trust so that if you unfortunately don’t get the job, you can at least invest in the company.

Der Pig Butchering Scam

This is perhaps the most sophisticated variant. Here the victim is entangled in a budding romantic relationship on social media. This can take weeks or months. Once the scammer has gained the victim’s trust, he leads them to an investment site. According to Chainalysis, such pig butchering scams are becoming increasingly common and larger.

Der Giveaway-Scam

This scam is a classic that unfortunately won’t die: someone copies a profile on social media – for example from Elon Musk, Vitalik Buterin or – and promises to give away Bitcoins or Ether. But you first have to send him a small sum in order to then receive double or X amount. Which of course never happens.

Pump and Dump

This method is ancient and cannot be killed: traders connect via Telegram groups to drive up the price of certain shitcoins, i.e. to “pump”. To do this, they first buy up their own wallets so that the price rises a little, which attracts attention. Then they advertise the coins on social media. When you finally get in, the dump begins: They sell the shitcoins at a profit and you are left with them. Such a pump and dump can sometimes last for several weeks.

Shitcoin Scam

To speak of a scam in general terms is wrong. Many shitcoins are created, sold and promoted with honest intentions. But often enough, fans of shitcoins are not concerned with your well-being, but with their wallet, and it is not uncommon for you to end up with empty pockets when you fall for shitcoins. You can understand the market of a thousand altcoins as a casino or lottery. But as an investment you should rely on solid cryptocurrencies.

Phishing Scams

Unlike the investment scam, the phishing scam does not aim to lure you into an investment, but rather to visit a specific site, reveal certain data or download software.

That also sounds simple: you don’t follow a link that someone sends you, and you don’t open a PDF from an unknown sender! You’re not stupid! But here too, the scammers are not stupid, and while you only think about scams sometimes, they think about how to gain your trust every day. Therefore, they have developed numerous variants of the phishing scam.

Der Wallet Scam

Especially after the sensitive incidents involving hardware wallets like Ledger, many fraudsters are taking advantage of users’ insecurity. They write you an email in which they pretend to be a wallet provider – such as Ledger, Exodus or Metamask – and ask you to take steps to keep your wallet safe. All you have to do is enter your seed on a website. The result is obvious. A similar procedure is circulating around bankruptcy procedures like Mt. Gox or FTX, where the email promises you to get part of your money back if you just visit this website and…

The Approval Scam

In this scam, the scammer attempts to convince the victim to log into a Dapp using a Web3 wallet, such as Uniswap, and then sign a transaction provided by the Dapp. This transaction then allows the fraudster to have ALL coins and tokens in the wallet. Such an approval scam can also be the home stretch of the pig butchering scam or some investment scams. It has been on the rise since 2022 and has already caught prominent members of the Ethereum community. So please only sign transactions if you know that they come from a reputable site whose URL you have checked carefully.

Airdrop Scam

Airdrops have become a popular method of distributing coins by retrospectively rewarding users for activity. This is a win for both sides – but it also wakes up scammers. Plausible and long-awaited airdrops – for example from Metamask or a new Layer 2 – are particularly tempting to go to a website without any worries. If this is then copied from the original, it quickly happens that you log in with your Web3 wallet and sign a transaction, which means that the approval scam has already struck. Related to this are emails in which you find out that there is a sensational offer for one of your NFTs, which you can view on the now linked website…

Wallet Drainer

The Wallet Drainer Scam is technically different, but the result is the same: malware that gets onto user systems via phishing and other methods and empties wallets. It stole nearly $300 million from more than 300,000 victims last year. Strictly speaking, it falls into the category of hacks that we don’t want to touch on today.

Blackmail and blackmail

A third category is blackmail: Scammers write you an email in which they claim that they have compromising material from you, videos, photos or even evidence that you have surfed on perverted websites. Sometimes they pose as an FBI agent or representative of another agency. Such emails are usually in English. You should simply ignore or delete them, even if you feel caught.

All in all, there are even more scams and more variants, and 2024 will certainly lead to one or two “innovations” in this area. Therefore: stay vigilant!


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