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Not least because of the massive price gains – and in some cases also losses – of the past few months Bitcoin and Co moved into the focus of the masses. The hope of many investors for quick money, however, is also calling criminal on the plan. Crypto scams are also increasing in Austria, like Thorsten Behrens explained by the Internet watchlist to futurezone.
Particularly dramatic: “They are often extremely high amounts of damage. “Most recently, a case was described on the watchlist in which the damage runs into the hundreds of thousands of euros. Some of the scams come up again and again, the futurezone gives an overview of common strategies used by fraudsters:
The offers for crypto investments can be found in many places on the net, occasionally the victims are also contacted by telephone. The fraudsters promise extremely high returns. The initial investment is often still small: “It usually starts with 300 euros,” explains Behrens. Then the victims would be presented with graphics showing how well the investment is developing and how much money they would make if they put even more into it.
“You are persuaded to invest more with psychological tricks,” warns Behrens. That rude awakening comes when you want to cash out your winnings. “That doesn’t work for some flimsy reason,” says Behrens. Instead, you should pay more in order to make up for the losses. In any case, the victims never see money.
Another scam is a fraud with a so-called “Airdrop“. Actually, it is a marketing tool for still young cryptocurrencies. In order to make them more popular and to get them into circulation, a certain amount of coins are given away through various channels. The term “airdrop” also appears in the context of attempted fraud with established coins. In most cases, this is referred to as a “barter transaction”. You should have a certain amount Bitcoin, Ethereum or Dogecoin Send to a specific address and get a multiple of the amount back in return. Unsurprisingly, however, there is never a payout, the money is gone.
If you have become a victim of crypto fraud and have already transferred money, Thorsten Behrens from the Internet Watchlist advises you to do so first go to the bank as quickly as possible. “You have to try immediately to stop all transfers and get your money back,” he says. But you only have a very good one for that short time window, which is why you shouldn’t lose time. Only then should you go to the police and file a complaint.
It has also been shown that it is sometimes worthwhile to face the fraudsters to stay tough and energetic to ask for the money back. According to Behrens, what has also proven to be helpful in the past was that it is worthwhile to pillory the fraudsters. For example, in Online forums or over Social media report on the negative experiences with the respective company. “If you get really annoying, you have the best chance that the money will come back,” says Behrens.
One should not, however, make too high hopes. It can also happen that the contact person simply disappears completely. And even if you manage to get money back, it is usually only part of the total investment. The Internet Watchlist has never seen anything come back.
Curling with celebrities
Regardless of whether it is system fraud or airdrops: Victims are often lured by prominent names. Examples are the Tesla boss and an avowed cryptocurrency fan Elon Musk or the entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz. With their faces and invented stories, attempts are made to persuade people to invest their money in supposedly good business.
“One is often lured to fake news sites where celebrities are advertised,” explains Behrens. It is particularly perfidious when official social media accounts are hijacked in order to advertise the scam. One of the biggest hacks in the Twitter-History was about exactly that. In addition to the Musk account, the accounts of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos were also taken over.
Another type of crypto scam tends to have less of a dramatic impact on those affected, but is still annoying.
Software is smuggled onto the victims’ cell phones and computers, which is used in the background for the authors Mining cryptocurrencies. Mining is the basis of many currencies. Transactions in the network are verified. Anyone can do it, as a reward there are coins. The main way the victims notice it is that the cell phone or computer suddenly slows down.
The devices can also get unusually hot and power consumption increases. “For you, that’s only a minor problem if no data is tapped,” says Behrens. Still, it’s annoying. If you cannot locate the affected apps (they are usually disguised as legitimate programs), the only thing that will help is a factory reset.
You can read more news about Bitcoin and other crypto currencies on our crypto channel futurezone.at/krypto.