Watch out for scams
Unlike bank transfers, which can be disputed and reversed, bitcoin transactions and transfers CANNOT be reversed once they're sent. Because of this, many fraudsters are using this technology to scam innocent people out of their hard-earned money. DON'T BE A VICTIM!
Only send bitcoin and cryptocurrency to people or businesses that you know and trust. If you have not met this person in real life, it could very well be a scam.
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
THE ONLINE DATING SCAM:
This scam can feel the most heartbreaking, because you're not just out the funds you sent -- you've also been tricked by someone you thought you could trust. Unfortunately, this scam is incredibly common, with most victims being senior citizens, widowed, or otherwise lonely and looking for someone to connect with.
Once a scammer makes a connection and establishes an online relationship, they will request money for an emergency (often a hospital bill, lawyer or immigration fees, or to buy a plane ticket to come visit you).
You can protect yourself from these types of scams by refusing to send money to anyone you haven't met in person.
Read more about these scams and how to protect yourself here.
THE IRS, POLICE, AND/OR IMMIGRATION SCAM:
In this scam, someone contacts you and claims to be from an official government organization (IRS, Police, Immigration, United Nations, or Military). They might threaten you with an arrest, deportation, or a fee unless you send them bitcoin to ‘settle your debt’.
These legit organizations do not accept cryptocurrency payments, so any requests for bitcoin are coming from scammers posing as agents from one of these groups.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from one of these organizations, do not call the number back. Look up the official number online — DO NOT call the number they provided or called from.
THE ONLINE SELLER:
Ebay Motors, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc. If you're purchasing something from someone online and they only accept bitcoin as payment, this can be a red flag.
A legit merchant should be able to accept another form of payment, but scammers will use bitcoin because transfers are irreversible. Once these scammers receive their funds, they'll disappear and you'll never receive what you were trying to purchase.
THE PORN BLACKMAIL SCAM:
This is a fairly new scam, but thousands of people are being tricked into sending money because these scammers often have at least one of your personal passwords (possibly from the 2012 LinkedIn data breach), which make their claims seem more legit.
Victims will receive an email claiming that there is video of them watching porn from their computer or mobile phone. Because the scammers already have private passwords, it's easy to believe that they have indeed hacked into your computer and have records (and video) of your private viewing history.
Learn more about these phishing scams here.
These examples are by no means the only bitcoin scams out there, but these are the ones we most commonly encounter. The best rule of thumb is to never send money to someone you've never met in person.
If you're being asked to send bitcoin to someone, don't hesitate to give us a call at 503.985.8066. We're happy to hear your situation and go over any risks.
Secure your wallet
Each crypto wallet is slightly different, but each should have a Backup Phrase or Master Seed.
This seed is a 12 word phrase made up of random words, and it's important to document and store this seed in a safe place (it's recommended to keep this information offline, so most people will write this down and store it in a lockbox, safe, safety deposit box, or other secure location).
In the event that you lose your wallet ID or your password, this Backup Phrase might be the only way to recover your account and your coin.
Remember that anyone with this information can gain access to your funds, so keep this information private and secure.
Please check with your specific wallet to see how to find your Backup Phrase and see what other security features they may offer.