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How to spot and avoid scams in 2022

Bitpanda

By Bitpanda

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At Bitpanda, the security of your funds is paramount to us - we want to make sure that you have some tips about what you need to keep your funds safe and how to spot scammers and fraudsters on the web. Find out how you can detect and avoid online scams in 2022.

Digital safety never goes out of fashion: we covered this issue in our Bitpanda Blog last year and the year before. You can also find useful articles on avoiding scams and account safety

Visit our Bitpanda Academy, where you can learn what cryptojacking is and find out how to spot ICO scams. As a general rule, it is highly recommended that you schedule a review of your online habits involving your digital security (personal information, passwords and more) on a regular basis - and to make sure that you put measures in place to ensure your funds and data are safe from fraudulent activities. 

So without further ado, here are some of the most recent threats to your safety in cyberspace in 2022. 

The remote access scam

The remote access scam is a dangerous scheme for fraudsters to gain access to your devices (such as your desktop computer, mobile phone and/or tablet) and therefore also to your personal files, funds, and in the worst case, even to your identity. 

What is the remote access scam? Scammers will usually contact you via a phone call. The scammer will pretend to be an employee at a reputable company (such as Microsoft, Apple or Bitpanda) and claim that they’re calling you to inform you about an issue with your account, often offering you tech support. 

How does the remote access scam work?

The scammers might say that vulnerabilities or a virus have been detected in your computer, or even claim that a suspicious transaction has been observed involving your account. 

This scam can also originate in a suspicious email that prompts you to log in via the interface you are used to. Actually, this would lead you to a fake page or could open an attachment that infects your computer.

In this case, the scammer will ask you to download Anydesk, Teamviewer or another app on your device and to give them remote access under the pretence of helping you with the issue (that they made up), when they are, in fact, scamming you. 

Using the remote access scam, the scammers could even guide you into creating an account on Bitpanda or on other investment platforms and go through the verification process via your own webcam. 

Therefore, do not trust people asking you to give them remote access to your devices, no matter what their justification is.

Bitpanda can call you for some specific reasons, but we will inform you about it via email. We’ll never ask for your credentials or passwords, payments, fees or access to your device. Better to be safe than sorry: if you are not sure who contacted you, you can always double-check by contacting us via our contact form

Remember: Do not give anyone remote access to your device and do not share your login details with anyone. If you received a suspicious email, do not open any links or attachments.

Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes

These scams have been popular for years and are still very common. Usually, they come concealed as an offer for a great investment opportunity. In reality, it is not an opportunity but a type of investment scam. 

How do Ponzi schemes work?

Existing “investors” that have already invested get paid with funds collected from new “investors” that are “joining” at the bottom of the pyramid. 

A pyramid scheme needs to enrol new members constantly to keep running and only those at the top benefit. Scammers will try to recruit you by promising high profits and little to no risk, and will then ask you for an initial investment. 

This initial investment into a pyramid scheme can be a payment in fiat but also in cryptocurrencies. You, as the victim of a pyramid scheme, may be asked to send your cryptocurrencies to a wallet address as your initial investment. 

You can learn more about this scam in this article on Ponzi schemes and cryptocurrencies by the SEC. 

Remember: if something feels suspicious, it usually is - and don’t forget the shape of a pyramid. This means that the only people making money in such a scheme are the ones at the very top of the pyramid. 

5x1 scams

Would you believe someone if they told you that they could get you 5 BTC for the mere price of 1 BTC? No? Good, because you shouldn’t. A 5x1 scam, also known as the “make money easy and fast” type of scam, is a scheme that requires victims to send funds - including cryptocurrencies. 

How does a 5x1 scam work?

The scammer will contact you and ask you to invest a certain amount of funds and then promise you that you can earn more funds (“make five times as much as your initial investment”, hence the name) for a very small price and within a very short time. 

Scammers behind this scheme often pose as experienced investors claiming to be sharing their “knowledge” with you and may also be hiding behind a fake social media account. Be aware that these scammers may also be using a fake Bitpanda account when they approach you. See our example of a 5x1 scam below: 

Please note that this is a fake Bitpanda account. Official Bitpanda social media accounts would have a blue tick next to their name. We’ve provided a list of our official accounts later in this article. The Bitpanda team would also never contact you directly regarding this topic and all giveaways are announced on our social media channels.  

Remember: If something is too good to be true, it probably is. Bitpanda will never ask you to send funds to a wallet in exchange for more funds.

Scammers pretending to be working at Bitpanda

Imposters might contact you impersonating a Bitpanda employee. When this happens, these fraudsters could tell you that your funds on Bitpanda have been frozen and you need to pay a fee to access them again, or that you need to pay to be able to deposit. 

How do imposters scam people?

You could get a phone call from scammers pretending to be from Bitpanda’s support team, asking for your credentials, password and other personal data. This attempt could even take place via email and/or social media channels, prompting you to click on a fake page or to open malicious attachments. 

Remember: Bitpanda will never contact you and ask you for your personal information. If you receive a call, email or message on social media from a source pretending to be representing Bitpanda that seems suspicious to you, please contact us via our contact form to verify if it was us. 

Phishing emails and websites

Phishing emails are scam attempts in which scammers send you emails or links pretending to be reputable companies and asking for your personal data, passwords, private keys, card numbers and so forth. 

How does phishing work?

You receive an email with an email address and logo and even the links could look exactly the same as those of reputable companies. Beware of suspicious emails asking you to reveal personal details. Never download strange-looking attachments. When you visit the Bitpanda website, make sure it looks like this: 

Also, note that the address shown above - bitpanda.com - is our only Bitpanda domain and there is only one. For example “bitpanda.io” or “bitpandaexchange.co.uk” are NOT an official Bitpanda website.

Remember: When you receive a phishing email, try to make sure you don’t open it and instead, that you delete it immediately.

Recovery scams

If you’ve been scammed, then you could even be a target for a follow-up scam, the recovery scam. The fraudsters behind this kind of scam prey on people who have been victims of scams and promise them they’ll help them recover their lost funds after paying a fee, sometimes pretending to be lawyers or technical experts with blockchain knowledge. 

How does a recovery scam work?

Here’s a scenario of how a recovery scam might happen: 

You fell for a 5x1 scam and sent 1 BTC to an address. You were promised 5 BTC but instead, you got scammed. You tried to get your funds back, but unfortunately, blockchain transactions are not reversible. Afterwards, opportunistic scammers come again: they tell you they know a way to get your 1 BTC back, that they know how to reverse the blockchain, or that they know how to get your investment platform to give you that 1 BTC back. The scammers ask you to pay a fee for their services.

Remember: these “services” are actually another scam, and you are just about to lose more money. Please note that blockchain transactions are irreversible and this means that it is not possible to recover funds sent to other wallet addresses. 

You can read more about recovery scams in these articles: 

The Romance scam

Romance scams usually start on dating platforms. A scammer will set up an account on a dating platform pretending to be looking for a partner. They will engage in long conversations with you to gain your trust, ask you lots of questions and seem genuinely interested. They may even pretend to have a job in finance or investing. 

How does a romance scam work?

However, some time after first contacting you, they will start asking about your background, probe into your financial details, personal credentials and may start telling you they need money. They may ask you to pay for hotel bills, plane or train tickets, or perhaps ask you to cover health-related expenses for them. 

Romance scams can also be related to ICO scams. A scammer may try to convince you to invest in a project’s ICO claiming it will be a great investment opportunity for you to profit from. 

Remember: When you are using dating platforms and especially when chatting with someone you don’t know, keep an eye out for romance scams. Always be careful with trusting people you meet online, especially if you’ve never seen them or met them in person. We can’t say it often enough: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Social media scams

Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon to find scams on social media. Just like fraudsters who are pretending to work at Bitpanda, there are many fake accounts on social media pretending to be Bitpanda. Again, these fake accounts might look very similar to our official Bitpanda accounts, as they often steal images and content from our official accounts.

How does a scam on social media work?

Fake accounts on social media platforms that are impersonating Bitpanda will promote fake giveaways, advertise scam promotions and may even contact you directly from these accounts. Most of the time, they are trying to get your personal data, track your habits or gain access to your funds.

Remember: Remain vigilant at all times, be careful on social media and make sure you’re only following our official Bitpanda social media accounts - including our official Telegram groups.

Only trust our official websites and social media accounts 

A good way to avoid social media scams is by following our official Bitpanda channels. Here you can find a list of our official Bitpanda social media accounts.

You can find us on Twitter:

You can also follow us on Instagram:

We’re also on Facebook:

Reddit:

Discord: 

Telegram:

If an account looks suspicious, take a look at the handle: if it doesn’t match the ones we mentioned above, this means you’re dealing with a fake Bitpanda account. In this case, be aware that we can’t personally remove fake accounts, so please report the fake account to our Bitpanda Support team as well as to the respective social media platform and ask them to block it.

Don’t fall prey to scams - be aware and be safe

Don’t forget: It’s better to be sceptical and safe than naive and sorry. Take your time when reading information and really take it in and always be cautious on the web. 

Try to research regularly and keep up-to-date on common scams and the latest scams around, remain vigilant at all times, even if you are feeling stressed. Find more information, warning lists, examples and guidance in our Helpdesk article on how to spot online scams

Be safe on the web and you’ll keep your funds safe.

Bitpanda

Bitpanda