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What is phishing and how scammers use it in crypto?

There are a lot of scams in the financial industry, and in the crypto world. Being well-informed is the only way to avoid possible scams. Most reputable companies always inform their users about ways to stay safe and secure, and not fall for tricks of scammers. In this post, LATOKEN experts give their take on the most infamous phishing scams and how you can stay away from them. One of the tricks of scammers is phishing. Phishing is sending a fake link and trying to get the victim to enter information or steal it in the process. 

“Phish” is pronounced just like it’s spelled, like the word “fish” — it is an analogy for a baited hook that is being used to fish. The term arose in the mid-1990s when hackers aimed to trick AOL users into giving up their login information. 

Currently, it is becoming a popular method for scams for cryptocurrencies as well. There are several places where you might encounter scammers. This post will focus on the most common ones. 

They Send a Legitimate-looking Email with a Fake Link

Scammers find out your email address, and send fake email, seemingly coming from a reputable exchange or app. The email will then redirect you to a different website, and possibly ask to share some information. Scammers usually find your email address on different forums, or platforms for cryptocurrency or blockchain, on social media, or other places that make sense to share your email address. The best way to avoid it is to create and keep a separate email account for your crypto-transactions. This email address is not to be shared with anyone and solely used for transactions on crypto exchanges or verifying deposits or payment. 

They Send a SMS Message Informing You of Suspicious Activity on Your Account

This is also another phishing channel that is used for crypto scams. This purpose of it is the same, but it is a lot easier for scammers to look legit via text. 

They might address you with your first name, or even have the name of a reputable exchange. But it doesn’t make them legit. This method also asks you to follow a link, or send them private information. The sender is on a first name basis with you on the text, has a legit-looking brand name, and knows that you have a crypto-exchange account – but it doesn’t mean they are the actual representative of the exchange. 

Pop-ups or Direct Messages on Social Media about Winning a Lottery or Your Account Being in Danger 

Social media is another common place for all kinds of crypto-scams. The random pop-ups with sales-y headlines: “congratulations”,”suspicious activity”, “claim your bitcoin”, or others should turn on your mental siren. These pop-ups or messages might cause fight-or-flight responses, and make you click or enter private information. 

It might come from a legit looking page, with a familiar company name or familiar person – but remember, reputable exchanges never communicate urgent issues regarding your account online, especially not when you are scrolling through your Facebook feed at 11pm on a Saturday evening. 

In conclusion, when you trade or buy or sell cryptocurrencies online – make sure to keep up with news about your exchange. Before entering anything, contact the exchange or the app through their official website. 

Crypto is a relatively new area for most people, therefore scammers try to double-down on the fact that most people are still naive about their crypto wallets or accounts. Keep this rule of thumb: reputable companies will release official statements and use official notifications on their exchange or app if they need to notify users. Everything else is better be treated as a scam, until proven otherwise through an official statement or ID-verified representative. You can learn more about other ways to make crypto transactions and trading secure on the LATOKEN blog section, here. 

LATOKEN does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. This article is written for informational purposes only. Like many other assets, cryptocurrencies are subject to high market risk. Please trade with caution.