Keeping your crypto safe this holiday season

Your security is our top priority – always has been and always will be. While this time of year is intended to be one of peace and reflection for many, it is unfortunately also when scammers are at their most active, targeting us in our homes as they try to defraud us of our hard-earned money.

Listen to your common sense

Most scams, tricks and phishing prey on our emotions. The perpetrators want us to act without thinking things through. They do this by appealing to our impulsive side. They’ll offer something exclusive, but you must act quickly. The combination of feeling special and time pressure makes us act irrationally and do things we wouldn’t normally do. This is often why people who have been tricked are unwilling to come forward and report it. They usually feel that nothing can be done anyway, plus they are embarrassed. 

So how best to identify a scam before it happens and avoid being a victim?

We’ve come up with a handy way to make a sound judgment. Just always bear in mind these five Ws and an H:

  • Who – who is this person that is trying to get me to do this thing?
  • Why – why are they singling me out for this?
  • What – what are they trying to get me to do?
  • When – is it something that has to be done quickly?
  • Where – where are they contacting me. How did they get these contact details?
  • How – how does this person come across? Does this seem odd to me? Out of the ordinary?

Keep your eyes peeled

Here are a few of the scams we’ve identified that are currently being tried out online. Apply the five Ws and an H to these and see if you would have spotted that they were untrustworthy.

  • You receive an invitation on social media to buy something at a knock-down price, and if you pay in Bitcoin there’s another 35% off. The advertisements all look real, and there is a website, too. Unfortunately the offer is limited to just a few days, and there is not much stock left, so you have to act now.
  • You get an email or an SMS telling you that someone has tried to hack into your Luno account and you should change your password immediately by clicking on a link in the message. You need to hurry before any funds are taken.
  • You’re contacted out of the blue on social media by someone offering you a deal with good profits in a short period of time. They use friendly language, and send you several messages as the deal is limited and if you don’t act now it’ll be too late. You’ll have to make a small deposit to get things moving, but then the money will come rolling in.
  • You get contacted on WhatsApp or Facebook or something similar by a cryptocurrency trader. They are experts in finances, and can sign you up to a website to get you trading right away and make good money. The referral is to a professional-looking website, and the trader tells you what deals to make, saying he or she knows that the price is going to skyrocket. He or she sends you a few messages in a short space of time because the deal is limited and there is no time to waste. After a first small deposit, the deal can get started.

Notice any patterns? Let’s work through our list.

Who – In every case, the person making the offer is a stranger. Who are they?

Why – They selected you, completely at random, for this special offer. Why? 

What – They want you to do something that seems on the face of it to be OK. What is it exactly that they want me to do?

When – All of these things have to happen as soon as possible….

Where – This person has reached out to you online. Where did they get my details from?

Know the basics

Essentially, a stranger is offering me something apparently out of the goodness of their heart, as long as I do it right now. Not likely…

As you can see, all of these scams are a variation on the same theme. And while scammers are getting more and more clever with their tactics, the principles are very much the same.
To help you stay ahead of the game, we’ll be regularly updating our alerts page with the latest scam attempts as we learn of them, so please check back regularly.

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