How to avoid falling prey to a cryptocurrency scam


South Africa has been home to some of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency investment scams. Most notorious was the Mirror Trading International (MTI) scandal. MTI, the supposed algorithmic trader, duped over 280,000 unsuspecting crypto investors roping in R7.9billion worth of Bitcoin. Then there was the recent Africrypt debacle in which the Cajee brothers solicited over $3.6 billion in Bitcoin from unsuspecting investors. The pair has since disappeared and are yet to be found.

It is your responsibility to take all necessary precautions when investing in cryptocurrency. Avoid falling prey to crypto scams by undertaking extensive due diligence before investing.

The below OVEX guide will help you steer clear of those crypto criminals:

(1) Always do you research
Research the companies background. Whether it is backed by reputable investors. And where it comes up in the news.

(2) Be weary of phishing scams
Many phishing scams involve individuals posing as an organisation and requesting your private information. Others involve malware.

Do not get trigger happy when you receive a link from an unknown contact. Chances are the link contains malware. Some scammers go so far as creating fake login pages to steal your private information. This is why it is imperative that you ALWAYS verify the domain of the website you are browsing. As a start — the site link should start with httpsNote the ‘s’. HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the site.

No lawful organisation will EVER ask you for your private information (so thats a huge red flag already). If in doubt, always contact the legitimate organization before acting on a request. You can find all legitimate OVEX contact channels on the official OVEX website.

Some rules of thumb when it comes to phishing attacks:

  • Never give support staff (or anyone else for that matter) remote access to your machine. This effectively gives the scammer full access to your computer, online financial accounts, and digital life.
  • Never accept outbound calls asking for your confidential personal information.
  • Never give out your 2FA (2-Factor Authentication) security codes or passwords. OVEX staff will never ask you to share sensitive authentication credentials.
  • Never send cryptocurrency to external addresses (or internal for that matter) on behalf of alleged support agents. OVEX staff will never ask you to send cryptocurrency to an external addresses.

(3) Avoid fake giveaways
No stranger wants to give you free cryptocurrency, simple as that.

(4) Be weary of social media phishing
Scammers will create an account that looks like someone with a high level of authority in the crypto space. Always double check that the person reaching out is indeed who they say they are.

(5) Fake blackmail
Scammers will often threaten you on the basis of having access to sensitive information. 99.99% of the time they really don’t. It is wise to always protect your personal information when browsing online.

(6) Enable that 2FA (Two Factor Authentication)
Any reputable exchange, like OVEX, have 2FA for a reason. Activate it so that you are protected in the event of password theft. 2FA ensures you, and only you, can access your account.

(7) Ransomware
Ransomware is a type of malware that locks a victims’ mobile or computer devices and prevents them from accessing valuable data — unless a ransom is paid (usually in BTC). Install an antivirus on your device and avoid skeptical click bait!

(8) And last but not least — the notorious pyramid scheme
A pyramid scheme — not disimilar to a ponzi scheme — is a business model that pays members based on how many new members they enrol. When no new members can be enrolled, the money flow stops. Steer clear of these by avoiding funds in which returns are based purely on network effects.

Let’s invest in cryptocurrency safely together.

Please report any suspicious activity by emailing [email protected]

Nicola Bergonzoli

Nicola is a marketing specialist with a vested interest in content marketing and brand-storytelling. He has written articles for many of South Africa's leading publications.

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