Unfortunately, cryptocurrency scams seem to be catching out a lot of people who are new to the crypto world. Con artists prey on those of us who don’t know the difference between a real crypto platform and a fake one, or who don’t know a Ponzi scheme from a legitimate affiliate program. These scammers fool people into thinking that their well-designed websites give them a strong impression of legitimacy, but on closer inspection, these sites won’t pass muster. Here are some giant red flags you should be aware of:
1 – Website Has No SSL Certificate
It’s extremely important for a website that deals with cryptocurrencies to have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate installed. Websites with no SSL only display HTTP before their domain names, but more secure websites with SSL show HTTPS. Many scam websites are here today, gone tomorrow types of sites, which means once they’ve scammed a certain number of people, they’ll shut down that site and move on to a fresh domain. It’s quite easy to transfer website files from one domain to another; this is why these scammers can set up shop very quickly.
2 – The Offer Is Too Good To Be True
Whether you’re trying to get the best rates for your dollars or bitcoins, it’s only natural that you’d want the best possible deal. Since cryptocurrencies are decentralized, most crypto exchanges have their own exchange rates. However, these rates don’t vary by much. If you see a website offering rates that are significantly lower or higher than other established exchanges, then it’s a giant red flag. It’s better to do business with a trusted platform with higher fees than to try to get the best deal out of an unknown website that could possibly swindle you out of your entire fortune.
3 – Beware Of Ponzi Scams
Some Ponzi scams are not as obvious especially if they’ve been around for a few weeks or months. This is because their first members would already have received their profits (derived from payments by new recruits) and would be posting glowing reviews on the Internet. At first glance, you might be fooled into thinking it’s a legitimate crypto operation especially if you personally know someone who’s made money from the scheme. Check out those positive reviews, and you’ll see they’re basically saying the same thing. We’d even like to bet they would have their affiliate or referral links somewhere on the review.
4 – Website Has Been Set Up Recently
One more red flag to be aware of is the date the website was originally set up. Scam websites have usually been set up in the last few weeks or months so look out for recent dates.
You can find the Registration Date of any website by using the whois directory. Simply go to www.whois.com and type in the domain you are querying then hit Search.
You will see the domain listed as ‘unavailable’ so just hit the Whois button to find out when the domain name was first registered. In the example below you can see this was 2016-11-13.
Keep a close eye out for any of these red flags when you see an offer which is ‘too good to be true’. Because, usually it will be. Don’t let them win!
Find out more about Bitcoin and Crypto in general over at my new section.