Beware of crypto exchange scams

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You may already have won! How many scams have begun with these words?

There is a new breed of scammers gaining popularity, thanks to the wild growth in the cryptocurrency market. Researchers have tracked three different fake crypto exchanges, with names such as TraderESL, Forbit, and Coinsfv. Each of them uses a variety of communication channels, including Discord crypto discussion channels, phishing emails, and SMS to lure in their victims.

A typical crypto exchange scam with the a 'promo code' that needs to be redeemed quickly so that 'you can take part in the priz'. The misspelling should be your first tip-off that something is amiss.

A typical come-on discussion group dialog about fake crypto exchanges

The problem is that these crypto exchanges simply don't exist, except as a way to exchange your money to enrich some scammers. Certainly, the lure of free cryptocurrency is very tempting, and a lot of people fall for this. Scammers have designed very professional-looking websites with responsive designs, conversion rate details, and pages dedicated to tech support FAQs and trading history. Victims are even offered support for smartphone two-factor authentication!

Avoiding of these types of scams might seem like an effortless feat. However, as we've described above, the tactics of modern-day scammers should not be underestimated. What they are counting on is you will get caught up in filling out the forms and going through a rather thorough know-your-customer process that will have you taking pictures of your driver's license, a selfie, and some other realism-enhanced documents. They say that it is important to send you your 'priz' money. Having you 'register' for the promotion makes the scam seem all that more realistic, just like using 2FA.

Once you you're finished with the registration, it appears that you need to make a small 'top off' deposit. This should be the warning bell ' never send anyone money to collect something more. It is like that famous Nigerian Prince email scams. You won't believe, but they are still bringing in more than $700,000, year after year.

Although, there are a couple aspects of crypto exchange scams that catch victims off guard. First off, the registration process is pretty clever. Rather than asking outright for you to send a payment, this process gets you more involved in the whole process of deception.

What's more the process isn't very clear ' you don't know what other steps you need to take in order to get the amount of the promised winnings. They could ask for one more document to add to their database. Scammers can make use of and sell your data on the dark web that you've so conveniently provided.

Things to watch out for

First off, if someone offers you free money, be as much skeptical as possible. Anything that is too good to be true usually is. If you're unfamiliar with the site, take the time to explore it and ensure that it isn't part of a scammer's promotional network.

Never ever give anyone you don't know any of your private information. Additionally, be careful about sending any government documents to someone that you don't know.