Social media remains one of the best ways for you to get your hands on first-hand crypto information. Whenever we look, social media platforms have already become a mainstay.
At the same time, a lot of people have abused social media platforms and are now using these services to steal customers' funds. If you're an avid social media user, you should definitely know about scams that are aiming to take your money.
Social media scams have evolved over the years as security measures improve. However, most of the scams you see today are usually one - or more - of the following:
The Original Giveaway Scam
Giveaway scams are among the oldest in the book. Here, someone poses as another entity and goes on to prompt some scam with the promise of giving people money - or crypto.
Most giveaway scams follow a specific template - scammers mimic reputable individuals or companies and promise to give money in exchange for depositing crypto in some address or the other. As soon as you send them money, they cut you off.
For clarity, you should know that there are indeed some legitimate giveaways that go on across social media. But, before you engage any of them, be sure to do your thorough investigation.
Usually, the first step will be to search for the giveaway itself. When brands do crypto giveaways, they usually share them across multiple channels - along with strict instructions on how you can win. So, the best bet for you will be to check out what the brand is saying about the giveaway.
You can also check the websites of the people doing the giveaway. Once you can ascertain that the site is legitimate, it becomes easier for you to trust them and engage. While checking websites, be sure you're on the official website. For instance, the website for CashApp is cash.app - not cashap.com or cashapp.net.
Duplicates of Verified Accounts
It is also important for you to be wary of the checkmarks that show verification on social media channels. Scammers can duplicate these accounts, then create profile pictures with edited checkmarks, or cleverly use wallpapers to bring a blue mark into the right place. Once they can make their accounts look authentic, the rest is pretty easy.
You can hover over a blue checkmark to see that the verification is real if you're on Twitter. The same applies to Facebook. Real accounts on Instagram don't have the same pop-up, but you can easily spot a real account from a fake by looking at the follower and engagement numbers.
Of course, this isn't to say you should always rely on verification. Many real accounts on social media have been hijacked, with people tweeting and promoting fake giveaways with them. So, you still need to be very careful.
Twitter Reply Scams
Twitter has become perhaps the most popular app among crypto enthusiasts. This makes it one of the most attractive places for anyone looking to scam people. While many hackers try to break into large accounts, some also focus on niche verified accounts and change them to make them look legitimate.
For instance, a hacker once broke into the account of hockey player Troy Sketcher and changed it to look like the official account for Saturday Night Live. From there, they used the account to promote a scam.
Hackers can also use these accounts to reply to other scam accounts, thus giving these scams more legitimacy.
So if you're checking replies and come across a giveaway or other crypto promotion, it is most likely a scam.
Fraudulent YouTube videos
Another growing trend is YouTube scams. A report suggested that YouTube crypto scams have stolen almost $9 million in a month. Here, the fraudsters create YouTube Live videos to portray themselves as experts in the industry. From there, they post a giveaway that requires you to send money to some account first.
Using the Live feature, the scammers avoid YouTube's content review process. So, they make money in the moment and leave. To protect yourself, check for the channel's legitimacy by examining:
- The channel's video count and history
- The channel's verification status on YouTube
- The channel's information and engagement stats - especially relative to when it launched
- The content of the video itself
In general, it is important to keep yourself safe. These rules will help with that, but also remember to never send money to anyone in exchange for some giveaway or the other…it never works.