How to Avoid Crypto Scams in 2024

Cryptocurrency has revolutionized the way we perceive and interact with money, but with great innovation comes great responsibility. The digital landscape is riddled with scams and fraudsters eager to prey on unsuspecting investors.

Protecting your hard-earned digital assets requires vigilance, research, and secure practices. In this post, we will explore the various types of crypto scams, offer essential tips on how to avoid them, and provide guidance on reporting and recovering from scams.



Recognizing Common Crypto Scams

Crypto scams come in various forms, each meticulously designed to part you from your digital assets. Some common types of crypto scams include:


Fraudulent Cryptocurrencies:

One easily identifiable scam is fake cryptocurrency projects. These projects usually identify themselves as alternative options to more significant cryptocurrencies. For example, a cryptocurrency may claim to be an upcoming fork of an established cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum (ETH), or simply a new cryptocurrency from the parent company of Ethereum. 

They lure you into becoming interested in it since crypto, such as Ethereum, is booming, but at the same time, it might be a little late to invest in ETH for large profits. Many people are not aware of how cryptocurrencies even work.

But they’re willing to invest due to “fear of missing out” (FOMO). Once the people behind this bogus cryptocurrency feel they have taken enough money, they can transfer all the crypto investments into their bank accounts and quickly shut down the fraudulent project, leaving the “investors” without their assets. [source]


Phony Exchanges:

Another common crypto scam is bogus exchanges. These fake exchanges build a reputation among cryptocurrency communities by claiming they’re legit, as well as offering seemingly lucrative staking yields and airdrops than legitimate exchanges. Shortly after investors buy in, they can never get a hold of these coins. Instead, these fake exchanges often went missing and remained uncontactable. [source]


Pump-and-Dump Schemes:

Pump-and-Dump schemes originate in the stock market. The main idea behind a pump-and-dump is that an asset is predicted to have a future increase in its price so that people will invest at a lower price. This automatically drives the product’s price to increase as demand starts exceeding supply. Once the individual/group behind the pump-and-dump scheme makes enough money, they “dump” the project.

Inspired by significant cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), investors attempt to hype up and promote fake plans about a cryptocurrency to more buy-in from the public. As a result, people begin investing in that cryptocurrency, believing that its prices will surge based on seemingly strong fundamentals.

However, once they realize the “innovative” plans were a hoax, the cryptocurrency is dumped, resulting in substantial financial losses for everyone involved — except the con artist behind the scheme. [source]


P2P Trading Scams:

When trading crypto on exchanges that offer peer-to-peer (P2P) trading services, be aware that P2P scams can occur if the seller attempts to skirt the exchange’s escrow system by making an external transaction with the buyer. After the seller receives the buyer’s payment, the scammer pretends the transaction didn’t go through and refuses to keep their end of the bargain. [source]


Fake Apps:

App fraud involves malicious apps that steal funds or personal information from unsuspecting users. Scammers may create fake crypto trading apps or exploit popular platforms to deceive victims. Fake apps are often swiftly detected and removed from official app stores; however, thousands may have already fallen prey to their schemes.

These apps are usually based on existing apps, and only a letter may differ in the name so that people get tricked into thinking they’re genuine. Once these apps are downloaded, they can introduce malware to your device or steal your data once you enter your private information.

Exercising caution when downloading apps, assessing reviews, and verifying the legitimacy of the app’s developer can help prevent you from falling victim to these scams. [source]


Ponzi Schemes:

The idea behind a Ponzi scheme is that a fundraiser finds two investors and lures them into giving him money so that they can “double” their investment. To do so, the con artist finds another four investors who, in turn, provide the same amount of money, allowing the scammer to “make good” on his promise to the first two investors. And to return the money to all four investors, the con artist scams another eight people, then another sixteen, and so on. The implication is that the person behind the Ponzi scheme does not actually invest the money he collected from investors but rather steals it using the money of subsequent investors to pay back each round of investors. [source]


Exit Scams:

Most cryptocurrencies raise their funds for developing their projects through an initial coin offering (ICO). ICOs can be private or public, depending on the team behind the project. With ICOs, the price of tokens or coins is lower than anticipated once it is released into the crypto market. Hence, investors use this opportunity to buy a lot of coins through the ICO while the funds for the project are raised.

However, once these ICOs have been held, the people behind the project can shut down and keep the money for themselves. This is known as an exit scam. [source]

Understanding how these scams operate and learning to recognize red flags are key steps toward safeguarding your assets.


Ways to Avoid Cryptocurrency Scams

Now that you are familiar with common crypto scams, here are some essential tips to protect yourself:

  1. Do Your Research: Before investing in any cryptocurrency or project, thoroughly research and understand its background, team, and legitimacy. Look for red flags such as lack of transparency or unverified claims.

  2. Be Cautious with Personal Information: Avoid sharing your private keys or sensitive financial information with anyone. Legitimate services and platforms will not ask for this information.

  3. Use Trusted Exchanges and Wallets: Stick to reputable and well-established exchanges and wallets to ensure the safety of your funds.

  4. Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and developments in the crypto industry. This will help you identify potential scams and make informed investment decisions.

  5. Exercise Caution with Offers and Promotions: Be skeptical of offers that sound too good to be true. Scammers often use enticing offers to lure unsuspecting individuals.

  6. Stay Vigilant: Be wary of unsolicited messages, emails, or social media requests related to investments or cryptocurrencies. Scammers often use these channels to target potential victims.

  7. Report Suspicious Activity: If you come across a potential scam or fraudulent activity, report it to the appropriate authorities or platforms. This helps protect others and may contribute to the investigation of the scam.


By following these tips and staying vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to crypto scams.

Remember, it is always better to be cautious and skeptical than to become a victim of a scam. Stay informed, do your due diligence, and protect your hard-earned assets in the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrencies.


FAQ: Avoiding Crypto Scams

1. What are the common types of cryptocurrency scams?

  • Investment Scams: These promise high returns on crypto investments.
  • Giveaway Scams: Scammers claim to multiply the cryptocurrency you send them.
  • Initial Coin Offering (ICO) Scams: Fraudulent ICOs lure investors with the promise of lucrative returns.
  • Crypto Wallet Scams: Fake wallet apps or websites that steal your crypto assets.
  • Phishing Scams: Scammers use fake websites or emails to steal personal information and access to your crypto wallet.


2. How can I spot a cryptocurrency scam?

  • Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true, like guaranteed high investment returns.
  • Check the legitimacy of the crypto company or ICO.
  • Look out for fake celebrity endorsements or social media profiles promoting crypto giveaways.


3. What should I do to avoid falling victim to a crypto scam?

  • Always do thorough research before investing in any type of cryptocurrency.
  • Use reputable crypto wallets and exchanges.
  • Never share your private keys or send cryptocurrency to someone promising to multiply it.


4. How can I safely invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

  • Use well-known and secure crypto exchanges.
  • Keep your investment within your risk tolerance.
  • Stay informed about the latest trends and scams in the crypto world.


5. What are the red flags of a giveaway scam involving cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin?

  • Promises of free crypto in return for a small initial deposit.
  • Requests for personal information or private keys.
  • Urgency or pressure to act quickly.


6. How can I protect my personal information while dealing with cryptocurrencies?

  • Use two-factor authentication for your crypto accounts.
  • Never share personal information on unverified platforms.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited offers or requests for information.


7. What steps should I take if I fall victim to a crypto scam?

  • Immediately contact the crypto exchange or wallet provider.
  • Report the scam to relevant authorities.
  • Change your passwords and secure your accounts.


8. Are there specific signs that indicate a crypto investment is a scam?

  • Unrealistic promises of high returns with little or no risk.
  • Lack of clear information about the investment or the company behind it.
  • Pressure to invest quickly or to recruit others.


9. How can I verify the legitimacy of a crypto company or ICO?

  • Research the company’s background and the team behind it.
  • Look for reviews and feedback from reputable sources.
  • Check for registration with relevant regulatory bodies.


10. What should I know about cryptocurrency fraud and how to report it?

  • Be aware of the common types of fraud in the crypto space.
  • Keep records of all transactions and communications.
  • Report fraud to local financial authorities, cybercrime units, or platforms where the scam occurred.


Remember, staying informed and cautious is key to avoiding scams in the ever-evolving landscape of cryptocurrency.

Related Articles