Cryptocurrency scam: How to avoid crypto ‘romance’ scam that mimics loved-ones

OneCoin: Cryptocurrency 'scam' discussed by expert

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One popular method scammers employ is the so-called “romance” scam. Kraken, a US-based cryptocurrency exchange with offices in Europe, explains scammers will impersonate a well-known celebrity or loved one with an emotional angle that encourages them to send tokens. As with many other scams, this could leave them out of pocket to the tune of a year’s wages, but they can pre-empt these attacks.

Ask for a video call

Scammers trying to realise the “romance” angle will often use pictures or other details from family members’ social media.

Thankfully, this is easy to pull apart and only requires a video call request.

Real-life family members will hopefully accept the request, but scammers will always try and avoid it.

Never give out financial details

People shouldn’t give out their financial details to anyone without proper confirmation of their identity.

Romance scammers will pressure their targets to hand over sensitive details such as a mother’s maiden name.

They may attempt to make the message appear “natural” from a family member, but online, requests like these almost always indicate a scammer wants to access your financial details.

Keep an eye out for urgency

Scammers will often try and employ urgency in their messages to stop people from thinking critically about the request.

Urgent messages requesting details are an essential red flag, and people should do the opposite of what the scammer wants.

Anyone receiving these kinds of messages should step back a moment and really consider whether the request is legitimate.


Stay wary of “celebrities”

When scammers aren’t impersonating family members, they may try their hand at celebrities.

Chris Hauk, a consumer privacy champion at Pixel Privacy, told people should stay especially wary of tweets.

He said: “Be wary of tweets and other social networking posts that appear to be from celebrities claiming that they are giving cryptocurrency.

“Of course, they’ll ask for money, saying they’ll send you back more money.”

Do your research

As with every cryptocurrency, people should try and stay on top of complaints from the general public.

Sites such as Action Fraud keep a database of organisations people have reported for scamming in the past.

Most of the entries include fraudulent companies rather than individuals, but they can be equally predatory.

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