Crypto Exchange And XRP Refuge Bitsane Vanishes, Scamming As Many As 246,000 Users

Exchange for Ripple's XRP scam users.

Ireland-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitsane disappeared without a trace last week, likely taking hundreds of thousands of users’ assets with it.

Account holders told Forbes that attempts to withdraw bitcoin, XRP and other cryptocurrencies began failing in May, with Bitsane’s support team writing in emails that withdrawals were “temporarily disabled due to technical reasons.” By June 17, Bitsane’s website was offline and its Twitter and Facebook accounts were deleted. Emails to multiple Bitsane accounts are now returned as undeliverable.

Victims of the scam are comparing notes in a group chat with more than 100 members on the messaging app Telegram and in a similar Facebook group. Most users in the groups claim to have lost up to $5,000, but Forbes spoke with one person in the U.S. who says he had $150,000 worth of XRP and bitcoin stored in Bitsane.

Bitsane’s disappearance is the latest cautionary tale for a cryptocurrency industry trying to shed its reputation as an unsafe asset class. Several exchanges like GateHub and Binance have been breached by hackers this year, but an exchange completely ceasing to exist with no notice or explanation is far more unusual.

Bitsane had 246,000 registered users according to its website as of May 30, the last time its homepage was saved on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Its daily trading volume was $7 million on March 31, according to CoinMarketCap.

“I was trying to transfer XRP out to bitcoin or cash or anything, and it kept saying ‘temporarily disabled.’ I knew right away there was some kind of problem,” says the user who claims to have lost $150,000 and asked to remain anonymous. “I went back in to try to look at those tickets to see if they were still pending, and you could no longer access Bitsane.”

At the height of the cryptocurrency craze in late 2017 and early 2018, Bitsane attracted casual investors because it allowed them to buy and sell Ripple’s XRP, which at the time was not listed on Coinbase, the most popular U.S. cryptocurrency exchange. CNBC published a story on January 2, 2018 with the headline “How to buy XRP, one of the hottest bitcoin competitors.” It explained how to buy bitcoin or ethereum on Coinbase, transfer it to Bitsane and then exchange it for XRP.

Three of the five Bitsane users Forbes spoke to found out about the exchange through the CNBC article. Ripple also listed Bitsane as an available exchange for XRP on its website until recently. A Ripple spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Bitsane went live in November 2016 according to a press release, registering in Dublin as Bitsane LP under CEO Aidas Rupsys, and its chief technology officer was Dmitry Prudnikov. Prudnikov’s LinkedIn account has been deleted, and neither he nor Rupsys could be reached for comment.

A separate company, Bitsane Limited, was incorporated in England in August 2017 by Maksim Zmitrovich. He wanted to own the intellectual property rights to part of Bitsane’s code and use it for a trading platform his company, Azbit, was building. Zmitrovich says Bitsane’s developers insisted that their exchange’s name be on the new legal entity he was forming. But Azbit never ended up using any of the code since the partnership did not materialize, and Bitsane Limited did not provide any services to Bitsane LP.

On May 16, Bitsane Limited filed for dissolution because Zmitrovich wasn’t doing anything with it and the company’s registration was up for renewal. Some of the Bitsane exchange’s victims have found the public filing and suspected Zmitrovich as part of the scam, but he insists accusations against him are unfounded.

He says he hasn’t spoken to Prudnikov—who was in charge of negotiations with Azbit—in at least five months, and Prudnikov has not returned his calls since account holders searching for answers began contacting him. Azbit wrote a blog post about the Bitsane scam on June 13, explaining Bitsane Limited’s lack of involvement.

“I’m sick and tired of these accusations,” Zmitrovich says. “This company didn’t even have a bank account.”

The location of the money and whereabouts of any of Bitsane LP’s employees remain a mystery to the scam victims, who are unsure about what action to take next. Multiple account holders in the U.S. say they have filed complaints with the FBI, but all of them are concerned that their cash is gone for good.

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I’m a reporter on Forbes’ wealth team covering billionaires and their fortunes. I was previously an assistant editor reporting on money and markets for Forbes, and I covered stocks as an intern at Bloomberg. I graduated from Duke University in 2019, where I majored in math and was the sports editor for our student newspaper, The Chronicle. Send news tips to htucker@forbes.com.

Source: Crypto Exchange And XRP Refuge Bitsane Vanishes, Scamming As Many As 246,000 Users

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Critics:

Cryptocurrency and crime describes attempts to obtain digital currencies by illegal means, for instance through phishing, scamming, a supply chain attack or hacking, or the measures to prevent unauthorized cryptocurrency transactions, and storage technologies. In extreme cases even a computer which is not connected to any network can be hacked.

In 2018, around US$1.7 billion in cryptocurrency was lost due to scams theft and fraud. In the first quarter 2019, the amount of such losses was US$1.2 billion.

Exchanges

Notable cryptrocurrency exchange hacks, resulting in the theft of cryptocurrencies include:

  • Bitstamp In 2015 cryptocurrencies worth $5 million were stolen
  • Mt. Gox Between 2011 and 2014, $350 million worth of bitcoin were stolen
  • Bitfinex In 2016, $72 million were stolen through exploiting the exchange wallet, users were refunded.
  • NiceHash In 2017 more than $60 million worth of cryptocurrency was stolen.
  • Coincheck NEM tokens worth $400 million were stolen in 2018
  • Zaif $60 million in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Monacoin stolen in September 2018
  • Binance In 2019 cryptocurrencies worth $40 million were stolen.

Josh Garza, who founded the cryptocurrency startups GAW Miners and ZenMiner in 2014, acknowledged in a plea agreement that the companies were part of a pyramid scheme, and pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2015. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission separately brought a civil enforcement action against Garza, who was eventually ordered to pay a judgment of $9.1 million plus $700,000 in interest. The SEC’s complaint stated that Garza, through his companies, had fraudulently sold “investment contracts representing shares in the profits they claimed would be generated” from mining.

Following its shut-down, in 2018 a class action lawsuit for $771,000 was filed against the cryptocurrency platform known as BitConnect, including the platform promoting YouTube channels. Prior fraud warnings in regards to BitConnect, and cease-and-desist orders by the Texas State Securities Board cited the promise of massive monthly returns.

OneCoin was a massive world-wide multi-level marketing Ponzi scheme promoted as (but not involving) a cryptocurrency, causing losses of $4 billion worldwide. Several people behind the scheme were arrested in 2018 and 2019.

See also

Is It Possible To Recover Funds From Trading & Investment Frauds

Investors of certain markets have had a hard time this year due to the COVID 19 pandemic. This year global economies have experienced a heavy recession. And if that is not bad enough, investment scammers are still stealing from innocent people. Trading and investment scams evolve every day. Nowadays they have become so sleek, you don’t know you have been robbed until it is too late. Fund recovery after such scams is a hard and long process, but it can be done.

Trade and investment scams are cleverly orchestrated schemes to rob innocent people. They convince people to part with their money with fake promises of high returns. They prey on people who want to get returns on investments fast.

Nowadays they impersonate genuine investment traders and convince people to invest. They may even make one payment to trap you into investing more money, only for you to suffer devastating losses.

Some of the Notorious Investment Scams

The common characteristic of investment scams is that they promise low-risk investments with high returns. They come in different languages but the premise is the same. For instance, an advance fee scheme persuades you to give a small amount for triple returns. You may feel that you are giving just a small amount, but if they trick millions of people, they make a lot of money. They come up with “boiler room” offices to convince you that they are professionals. Once you lose your money, you cannot trace them.

Some scammers pitch “exempt securities” and sell you on a fake exclusivity narrative. They convince you of how lucky you are to be the first one to know of these securities. Later you realize that you paid for non-existent securities. 

Forex scams are also on the rise. Some forex trading is legal. But scammers have come up with clever ways to mint money out of innocent traders. They convince you to open ghost accounts with promises of big returns. Once you make your deposits that is the end of the road for you.

Other scams include offshore investment, pension scams, and Ponzi scams. You send your money or offshore investments in the name of lowering your taxes and you lose it all. Ponzi scams promise quick cash in a short time. You may also fall victim to pump and dump schemes that lead you to buy worthless stocks. 

How Can You Spot a Scam?

You have to be very careful about money nowadays. Trade and investment scammers come up with clever ways to deceive victims every day. Some of these scams look legit and before you know it, millions of people lose their money. However, here are the obvious signs that you can look out for in these scams.

  • They offer very high returns with very low risks.
  • They promise you hot insider secrets and information
  • They give you pressure to make decisions instantly. They convince you that you are running out of time.
  • The sellers are not legally registered to trade stocks or investments. Some of them can convince you with fake documentation. Always do your background research.
  • They keep sending you spam messages on social media and your email address.
  • Pension schemes target senior citizens and coerce them to disclose personal information about their pension plans.
  • They are relentless with unsolicited advice. They barely let you breathe. A genuine company lets you breathe and make a sound decision.

Why Do People Fall Victim to These Scammers?

Surprisingly, more people fall into these scams every year. There are many reasons why someone may fall victim to these scams. Some of them are very crafty in the way they market themselves. They forge legitimate documents and convince people that they are legit. They use very inviting language and narratives to attract the masses. They use false advertisements and stories to convince you that others have had successful investment returns. They offer the lowest risk and the highest returns.

The rate of unemployment and poverty is on the rise. Simple psychological manipulation can cause a person to fall victim to these scams. They promise quick riches to people who are struggling and they believe them. They ask for something small at first, so people oblige.

Can People Recover Their Money From a Scammer?

Investment fraud causes disorientation, stress, and worse, financial distress. Funds recovery is a long and hard process, but it can be a success. Victims should report the scammers to anti-fraud government authorities. You can also contact your bank immediately to reverse transactions. If it’s not too late you can get your money back. Collect as much evidence as possible and file a funds recovery police case.

If you can get a hold of the scammers, you can file a class act as a group and go to court. If you are not a part of a group scam, get an investment lawyer, and file a single case. You can also use a fund recovery company that specializes in asset recovery. They conduct a detailed investigation with legal help and they often recover money lost to scammers.

Binary options continue to be a highly-debated subject among retail traders and even though some might argue that some brokers focusing on these assets have a long track-record in providing reliable services, in reality, the whole binary options industry favors the appearance of scammers.

Letting aside the fact that trading these instruments comes with a high risk of loss, there are plenty of other reasons that this is a “heaven for scammers” and in this article we will like to have more focus on the matter.

Binary options favor the “house”

If we think about how binary options work, the trader is always on the weaker side. Most of the binary options brokers offer around 80% payout rate and that has many implications on the probability to generate returns in the long run.

To be more specific, let’s say to buy a binary option with $10 and assume the price will be above the strike price at the expiration (call option). If you are right, then you will make $8 in profit. However, if you are wrong, you will lose all $10, which puts you in a position to have a high win rate over any given period, to be a profitable trader.

If we combine this disadvantage with the ability to manipulate prices on the platform (this will be discussed in one of the following sections), traders are faced with guaranteed losses, rather than profits, when dealing with a binary options scam broker. A lot has changed in terms of regulation for these companies and because of that, now we have most of them operating offshore.

Binary options brokers generally operate offshore

Since 2018, European regulators made a historic decision to reshape the regulation for retail online trading. As a result, there are tighter restrictions for traders with little experience and at the same time, binary options are prohibited for retail traders. This had been a major hit for brokers, which are now operating offshore.

This creates an even bigger problem, considering they can now operate free from any regulatory requirements, and even target customers based in areas where binary options trading is no longer allowed. As with any other broker type, operating via an offshore entity should be a major warning flag, signaling a binary options scam or a Bitcoin fraud.

There’s a long list of scams related to binary options, and more than 90% of them were operating via offshore companies. As a result, traders that still want to trade these instruments, despite acknowledging the high risk associated, should avoid these entities and instead look for brands that have a long track record in providing reliable services.

Marketing exaggerated returns

Like most of the fraudulent companies, a binary options scam will use aggressive social media advertising to reach inexperienced people and promise exaggerated returns. This is a typical practice and works many times because financial strains are pushing some to take drastic measures and embark on avenues that could generate returns fast.

Unfortunately, a binary options broker can’t ensure or talk about the level of profitability you’ll be having. That will be depending on the market’s performance, your expertise in the world of trading, as well as the effectiveness of your trading strategy. The broker is a simple intermediary that creates a link between you and the market via trading software.

When dealing with a binary options broker promising you will make a lot of money, the best thing to do is walk away as fast as possible. It can be a company operating not on behalf of customers, but one that wants to set up a trading or bitcoin scam.

Accurate pricing on the binary options platforms?

Another important aspect to consider has to do with how the prices displayed on the platform are calculated. A binary options scam can be easily spotted by simply reading its terms & conditions. These companies are using a method that implies averaging the pricing from multiple liquidity providers. As a result, the prices you see on the platform are not the actual market valuations, but averages calculated by the broker.

Considering binary options trading is generally short-term and even a pip can make the difference between profit and loss, it would be important to have the most accurate pricing.A bitcoin scam hide behind this price adjustment technique that generally results in massive losses for clients in the long run.

Many binary options brokers turned out to be scams

After taking an in-depth look online, we’ve noticed that there are plenty of blacklists with binary options scam. Only a few companies are still labeled as not scam, which means that most were eventually flagged as “not to be trusted”. For someone looking now for a binary options broker, this fact should be raising doubts, even on those companies that are still out there providing their services.

Keep in mind that most binary options brokers have affiliated programs and some positive online reviews may be coming from individuals that are affiliates and are generating income based on each new customer they bring in. As a result, even reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. The ultimate goal should be to avoid being trapped in a binary options scam and any Bitcoin fraud. By considering all the relevant data we’ve highlighted today, we think that’s possible.

Final Words

We can conclude that binary options trading comes with high risks and the whole industry is designed in such a way that scammers can thrive. If you want to trade these instruments, despite all the downsides, it would be important to do in-depth research and find out a company that has been operating for a long time and gets reliable positive feedback from customers. So many binary options scams had been uncovered during the past few years and this should raise serious questions about the interests of these brands. Finding the best binary options broker is a very complex process and will require you to not make any concessions.

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MoneyBack Hero

Are you a victim? MoneyBack Hero can help you get your money back. Click Here for a free consultation: https://www.moneybackhero.com Looking for more info on Binary Options, Forex, CFD, or Cryptocurrency scams? Take a look at these helpful articles on the Money Back Hero site: 1) Read to understand the psychology employed by the scammers: https://www.moneybackhero.com/educate… 2) Not sure if you are the victim of a trading scam? Read this for the telltale signs: https://www.moneybackhero.com/how-do-… 3) Want to know your best option to get your money back? Red this to discover your #1 weapon to get your money back: https://www.moneybackhero.com/how-do-… At Money Back Hero (https://www.moneybackhero.com), we are not merely a wealth recovery service, we are your personal team of experts who do one thing all day long: use every legal trick in the book to get your money back from the scammers.

Uncovering The Money Laundering Attempts Of Bitcoin Fraudsters Behind The Recent Twitter Scam

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Performing an initial investigation to follow the funds related to the Twitter TWTR hack that happened on July 15 to Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kanye West, Bill Gates and numerous other celebrities and executives of large technology companies, it is evident the many of those funds already hit reputable exchanges that might freeze the funds.

During the Twitter hack, the fraudsters, posing as celebrities, falsely informed users that they have decided to partner up with a mysterious organization called “CryptoForHealth” in order to ‘give back to their community.’ The scam has been covered extensively by several news outlets including Forbes contributors like Jasse Damiani, that reviewed the initial steps just after the hack.

As different celebrities were sharing and resharing those posts that turned out to be fraudulent, some of their followers decided to open up their own wallets and pay as well. More than $130,000 later, most of the posts had been removed, the website of CryptoForHealth shut down. Twitter stepped in to forbid some users to tweet, but it is high time to recover the funds to the victims or at least specify to which exchanges they have been sent.

Despite a common misperception as Bitcoin represents a pseudo-anonymous network, transactions performed on it are both visible to the general public and traceable. Addresses can be directly connected to particular exchanges.

As scammers are still moving funds between cryptocurrency wallets, investigators from all over the world have stepped in with the goal to identify types of exchanges and freeze the funds on different accounts.

From the initial review, it is evident that much of the funds have been transferred to Binance. In a recent statement to TechCrunch, Binance Security Team informed that they have been aware of the situation and launched an investigation, which is visible to the crypto community as their team marked several cryptocurrency wallets as fraudulent.

bestmining780

Earlier today, an article released by Cointelegraph revealed that addresses used by the hackers had previously been linked to Coinbase and BitPay, common names in the cryptocurrency exchange and merchant sphere.

“According to our initial analysis the funds have reached many exchanges, but the core of the funds originated from the main Binance address. It is now clear that scammers were sending funds back and forth between different cryptocurrency addresses in an attempt to confuse law enforcement agents, wash them. Once completed fraudsters have sent a large parts of the funds to an address belonging to Binance yet again, which has been rather quickly discovered and flagged by the exchange.

Secondary besides Binance, it seems though that multiple exchanges like Bittrex, as well as MercadoBitcoin in Brazil have received funds from this scam already,” said Sven Martinsson, the Founder & CEO of VALEGA Chain Analytics – a Blockchain Investigations and analytics firm working out of Finland.

Even though the investigation remains novel, due to the transparency of the open blockchain of Bitcoin, it is possible to follow different transactions to a different account at cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Being personally engaged in one such ‘crypto exchange platform,’ competent and motivated compliance team members have a portfolio of tools and processes to stop such transactions in case they are being spotted. The fraudsters seem to know that so that there is a race for the fraudsters to try to exchange the funds to fiat currencies as soon as possible and Blockchain investigators to mark as many wallets as quickly as possible to freeze those funds.

Even though the identity of the scammers remains yet unknown, there are tools in place which allow for visualizing transactions between different accounts and exchanges that use the publicly available data and connect wallets to crypto exchanges.

Here are a couple of examples of how the fraudsters anticipated to hide their tracks. Everything starts on the left side in the middle of the graph, which represents the first address to which the scammers asked users to pay. Each additional connected line of dots represents their effort to hide their tracks and mix funds between different wallets and exchanges.

A more comprehensive description has been placed below each picture which represents a print screen out of a Blockchain Analytics Software.

Zooming in closer to different dots allows us to directly view the cryptocurrency wallet address which has been used. It is connected to a particular wallet provider or a platform (with strong but not utmost certainty). In order to review where funds were directed and how much was sent.

Investigations performed by compliance teams take time as they are most likely performed by individuals who are working for different exchange platforms or geographies, so sometimes the funds are able to be transferred to an account before they are being flagged as fraudulent. Red accounts have been already marked as fraudulent.

Following each transaction and the connected spiderweb of transfers between cryptocurrency addresses helps to spot a time period in which fraudsters will try to wash funds with a legitimate exchange. As stated below, fraudsters launched a transfer to MercadoBitcoin in Brazil as well as Bittrex.com already.

This review is just a snapshot of the current stage of transfers performed by the fraudsters as of the afternoon of July 17th. It does not display traces in full to avoid obstructing justice or investigations. Even though it has been a Twitter hack and not a Bitcoin hack, the pseudo-anonymity of bitcoin and visibility of each transaction with tools like the wallet explorer does prove that the Crypto community is not helpless and knows more and more with each transaction the fraudsters perform. It is important to underline that it was not Bitcoin that got hacked, it was Twitter. Bitcoin was just the chosen means of payment.

Sven will release a collected investigation free of charge to anyone who can identify themself as an investigator in the process.

Disclaimer:

The transaction investigation remains ongoing. For security reasons and not to interfere with investigations, this is just a teaser to provide insights into different tactics of criminal networks. Exchanges in question have the appropriate means to stay compliant and do their reporting accordingly. This is NOT an attempt to defame or point any fingers and the statements are assumptions, not yet evidence. It remains a visualization of investigation that affected many users and the account holders on Twitter.

For transparency purposes – The contributor of this post is a Head of Compliance in one of the leading Cryptocurrency Exchanges in the Nordics called ‘Safello’.

He serves as a board advisor to Valega Chain whose team has launched an investigation to follow the stolen funds on his request. Statements about how Blockchain Analytics Tools work have been performed on the example of Valega Chain Analytics and should not be generalized to other Blockchain Analytics Tools as all of them have their own criteria, tools, and internal processes. 

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I’m a freelance technology, video game, and entertainment journalist. I’ve been writing about the world of technology, video games, and entertainment for the last decade. If you’ve seen my work around the Web, you’ve probably found me analyzing and reviewing your favorite smartphones, televisions, and video games. And if you’re on Twitter, you probably see me asking for movie recommendations and complaining about the tech in my life not working the way it should. In my free time, I’m usually tinkering with tech, improving my surround sound setup, and insatiably consuming all the world of tech, games, and geek culture has to offer. I write for Forbes Finds. If you buy something using a link on my posts, Forbes Finds may receive a small share of that sale.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

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Hackers Threatening to Release ‘Dirty Laundry’ of Celebrities If Ransom Not Paid

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Hackers have doubled their original ransom demand in exchange for the data belonging to U.S. entertainment law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, which represents many celebrities, such as Lady Gaga, Lizzo, and Madonna.

According to a report by Fox News, the hacking group REvil ( updated their ransom demand to $42 million in exchange for the stolen files containing personal information on high-profile celebrities such as Lady Gaga, U2 and President Donald Trump. The files belonged to attorney Allen Grubman.

The hackers claim to have stolen 756GB of data that includes the firm’s contracts, personal emails, and correspondence with clients.

The hackers also deleted or encrypted the firm’s backup files and are demanding a ransom for the decryption key.

Grubman has refused to negotiate with the hacking group. The report cites an anonymous source close to the matter saying,

“His view is, if he paid, the hackers might release the documents anyway. Plus the FBI has stated this hack is considered an act of international terrorism, and we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

The hacking group released a statement on Thursday threatening to release to the “dirty laundry” of President Donald Trump if the ransom was not paid.

Well, acording to a report published in Mail Online on Sunday (May 17), the hackers have “released a trove of emails mentioning President Donald Trump, and claim that they will publish much more damaging material if they aren’t paid a ransom of $42 million.”

By Michael LaVere

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com

Source: https://www.cryptoglobe.com

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“The US Secret Service and the FBI are continuing to probe hacking group REvil, who attacked the server of attorney Allen Grubman’s NYC firm and stole 756 gigabytes of confidential documents relating to his firm’s clients including Lady Gaga, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Priyanka Chopra and Bette Midler. On Thursday the hackers upped the ante by doubling their ransom demands and threatening to publish “a ton of dirty laundry” on President Donald Trump — who is not a client of the NYC law firm Grubman, Shire, Meiselas and Sacks — next week if the law firm did not pay in full. It remains unclear if the hackers claims to have dirt on Trump are true.

Some of the Most Important Bitcoin Scammers You Should Be Aware Of

Bitcoin scam

Bitcoin’s spectacular ascent in prices throughout the last year has stirred considerable interest for the first digital money. With costs looking bullish lately, investing resources into bitcoin has never been as famous, to say more the attention, more the consequences.

One of the drawbacks of new financial specialists entering the market is the expansion in the number of scams, deceptions and fake accounts of retail speculators who lose their coins to suspicious endeavors. From ICO scandals to wallet robbery and cheating, standard customers can fall prey to crime effectively.

These following scam pages in Instagram are known mostly because of capturing assets and never showing back or even refraining from return back their clients profits:

Of course because of no specified regulations over the crypto structure, most of these scammers have legaly binding with their BROKER LICENSEs but never be afraid of ripping off people with their advertisements and promises.

The most effective method to Avoid Bitcoin Scams

With the unavoidable ascent of bitcoin in the present and coming years, it is becoming progressively essential to comprehend and be vigilant for bitcoin scams that could cost you thousands. There is no one particular method to abstain from being defrauded, yet reading the most recent bitcoin warnings, keeping data private, and double checking sources before investing resources into anything are great standard techniques that may help spare you from being cheated. Succinctly put, Knowledge is power.

Wrap up

Even though there are more risks in the market, the open doors might be overpowering for a few. Moreover, being cautious is dependably an absolute necessity, and there are clear indications of scams that financial specialists can search for. By staying away from these traps, clients can better their odds for progress and secure their investments. These are probably the most widely recognized scams, and how they can be evaded.

If you see this article useful you can send your donations to us in order to find more information regarding this matter.

Nonspendable Bitcoin Addresses – Is It Real or Just Used For Scam

A watch-only wallet, as the name suggests it is just a Bitcoin wallet that is used for watching only. A watch only address doesn’t have private keys and you’ll not be able to spend any Bitcoins associated with that address. It is used only to view the balance and monitor the transaction activity of a particular wallet address.

That is called a ‘watch-only’ address in your wallet, meaning you can only watch it, but not spend the coins held by it. The Bitcoin blockchain is an open database, so anybody can watch any address they want to.

From this, it sounds like the scammer had access to your account in the past. If this is true, then your account is 100% compromised, there is no way to make it secure again. Make a new wallet, move all funds to it, and do no ever use that account again.

The reason you MUST abandon that wallet is that while logged in, the scammer likely copied down your wallet’s mnemonic seed phrase (a series of 12 or 24 words). With that seed phrase, they can recreate your wallet on a different device, or using different software.

The seed phrase is the current industry standard for making a wallet backup, it is used to derive your bitcoin private keys and addresses. The password/2FA are just used to unlock your ‘blockchain.info‘ account (which has used that seed phrase to create your wallet), so if you put the same seed phrase into a different device, it will recreate your wallet, without needing a password (since blockchain.info isn’t involved at all).

blockchain watch only wallet

The only way, would be to find the person who does own that private key, and ask them for it (but they probably won’t give it to you). The scammer is likely trying to ‘sell you the private key’, or ‘unlock it’, or some other nonsense. That is the scam, so please beware and do not send any more BTC to them.

In the future, do NOT EVER give your wallet details, login, passphrase, seed phrase, 2FA, private keys, etc, to anyone that you do not trust 100%. If you ignore this warning, you are much more likely to have your bitcoins stolen.

Whichever wallet it is Paper wallet, core wallet or electrum wallet. Whenever you generate a new wallet address a private key is also generated along with it. If you find a watch only address in your wallet then you are the one who imported it. So you must first find out the private keys of that address. For electrum wallet read this guide and for core wallet read this to know how to export private keys. Once you have the private keys you can import them to your wallet and spend its funds.

This guide is not about watch only wallet but to show you the importance of your private keys. What you must remember is if you don’t own the private keys you don’t own the funds. So keep your keys safe and whenever you create a watch only wallet remember to back your original wallet because watch-only wallets don’t have access to private keys. One last thing: Do not provide your private keys to anyone and do not import them to any online service (Including blockchain.com). Once you expose the private keys your wallet security will get compromised.

If you really wanted to have a safe and paying company to fill you up with crypto currencies profit you can refer to Finance Current with over two million customers around the world. They are acceptable by SEC and other financial services…

By: Finance Current Investment Pilot

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#bitcoinscammer #cryptoscams #bitcoinscams2020 Ever wonder how to spot a bitcoin scammer? Or a crypto scammer in 2020? Well here is a bitcoin scams list in 2020 of all scams you may encounter in blockchain space. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency scams have become too good so we are going to expose all these bitcoin scams that are seen in countries like Canada, South Africa, or Philippines even the US. Bitcoin news by 📀Bittruth.

Josh Garza Sentenced to Prison and Fined $9M over GAW & Paycoin Scam – Bitcoin News

U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Connecticut has announced Homero Joshua Garza (Josh Garza) has been sentenced to “21 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, the first six months of which [Mr. Garza] must spend in home confinement, for his role in his companies’ purported generation and sale of virtual currency.” The so-called stablecoin founder was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $9 million. After sentencing, he was released on bond, having been also ordered to report for incarceration at the start of next year.

Also read: Mt. Gox Victims Must Take Claims to Tokyo, Not US, Judge Rules

Josh Garza Is Finally Sentenced, 21 Months in Prison, $9 Million Fine

Slightly more than four years ago, nearly a lifetime in the crypto space, Mr. Garza, 33, is alleged, over an eight-month period, to have “through GAW, GAW Miners, Zen Miner, and Zen Cloud, companies he founded and operated, defrauded victims out of money in connection with the procurement of virtual currency on their behalf,” according to a press release from the US Attorney from Connecticut.

GAW/Paycoin 2014 Scam: Josh Garza Sentenced to 21mos Prison, $9M Fine
Mr. Garza during better times.

Mr. Garza and cohorts were involved in selling miners, access to them, and an alternative cryptocurrency called Paycoin, described as one of the first stablecoins, along with what were known as hashlets. According to the complaint, subsequent indictment, and eventual conviction, a hashlet “entitled an investor to a share of the profits that GAW Miners or Zen Miner would purportedly earn by mining virtual currencies using the computers that were maintained in their data centers. In other words, hashlet customers, or investors, were buying the rights to profit from a slice of the computing power owned by GAW Miners and Zen Miner.”

He was also alleged to have made false promises to potential and real investors, including “that GAW Miners’ parent company purchased a controlling stake in Zen Miner for $8 million and that Zen Miner became a division of GAW Miners,” prosecutors maintain. He pushed hashlets, a kind of early cloud mining, which the government claims was fraudulent. His “companies sold more hashlets than was supported by the computing power maintained in their data centers.”

Josh Garza Imprisoned and Fined $9M over GAW Paycoin Scam
Even at its peak, Paycoin failed to maintain its promised $20 peg, reaching a peak of $15.92.

An Early Crypto Ponzi

Then there were the alleged pump and dump schemes. According to authorities, he “also stated that the market value of a single Pay Coin would not fall below $20 per unit because [his businesses] had a reserve of $100 million that the companies would use to purchase Paycoins to drive up its price. In fact, no such reserve existed.”

All of it turned out to a be a classic Ponzi, whereby Mr. Garza is alleged to have taken money from one company to prop up another, essentially borrowing from newer investors while trying to keep older ones from getting too concerned. “The payments were money that the companies owed the older investors based on the purported mining GAW Miners and Zen Miner had done on the investors’ behalf. Through this scheme,” the government charges, he “defrauded hundreds of individuals around the world of a total of $9,182,000. Judge Chatigny ordered [Mr. Garza] to pay restitution in the equivalent amount.”

Josh Garza Sentenced to Prison and Fined $9M over GAW & Paycoin Scam
Mainstream media and go-to pundits such as Mr. Casey were often unwitting cheerleaders of scams (thanks to Jamie Redman for source and graphic).

It was one of the very first US crypto crime cases, involving multiple law enforcement and regulatory agencies from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the US Department of Justice. Summer of last year, Mr. Garza struck a plea deal with authorities over criminal matters. A suit by the SEC remains ongoing, however, and could very well dampen things for Mr. Garza even further.

Was justice served in the Garza case? Let us know in the comments section below.


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alternative coin, Crime, Cryptocurrency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fraud, gaw, GAW Miners, hashlet, Homero Joshua Garza, mining, N-Featured, Pay Coin, Ponzi, pump and dump, Scam, Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Connecticut, U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny, US Department of Justice, Zen Miner

Source: Josh Garza Sentenced to Prison and Fined $9M over GAW & Paycoin Scam – Bitcoin News

Pay Attention to These 7 Bitcoin Scams in 2018 – Anne Sraders

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Bitcoin the possible Pandora’s Box of the currency world – has never been short of controversy. Whether it be aiding the black market or scamming users out of millions, bitcoin is no stranger to the front page.

Still, the jury is out on the legality and usefulness of bitcoin – leaving it in a proverbial grey area. However, there have been several legitimate bitcoin scams that have become infamous – but, what are the top 7 bitcoin scams? And how can you avoid them?

What Is a Bitcoin Scam?

For most cases, it may be pretty obvious what a scam is – but with bitcoin, things become murkier. Bitcoin itself is an unregulated form of currency that essentially is a mere number that is only given value because of an agreement. It’s basically like a moneybag with a lock on it – the code of which is given to the recipient of the bitcoin (an analogy drawn by Forbes in 2017).

Bitcoin scams have been famously criminal and public in nature. With no bank as a middleman in exchange, things become more complicated; so hackers and con men have had a heyday.

Top 7 Bitcoin Scams

There have been (and undoubtedly will be) nearly countless bitcoin scams, but these frauds make the list of the top 7 worst bitcoin scams to date. Take note.

1. Malware Scams

Malware has long been the hallmark of many online scams. But with cryptocurrency, it poses an increased threat given the nature of the currency in and of itself.

Recently, a tech support site called Bleeping Computer issued a warning about cryptocurrency-targeting malware in hopes of saving customers from sending cryptocoins via transactions, reported Yahoo Finance.

“This type of malware, called CryptoCurrency Clipboard Hijackers, works by monitoring the Windows clipboard for cryptocurrency addresses, and if one is detected, will swap it out with an address that they control,” wrote Lawrence Abrahams, computer forensics and creator of Bleeping Computer.

The malware, CryptoCurrency Clipboard Hijackers (which reportedly manages 2.3 million bitcoin addresses) switches addresses used to transfer cryptocoin with ones the malware controls – thus transferring the coins to the scammers instead. And, according to Asia Times, even MacOS malware has been connected to malware scams involving cryptocurrency investors using trusted sites like Slack and Discord chats – coined “OSX.Dummy.”

2. Fake Bitcoin Exchanges – BitKRX

Surely one of the easiest ways to scam investors is to pose as an affiliate branch of a respectable and legitimate organization. Well, that’s exactly what scammers in the bitcoin field are doing.

South Korean scam BitKRX presented itself as a place to exchange and trade bitcoin, but was ultimately fraudulent. The fake exchange took on part of the name of the real Korean Exchange (KRX), and scammed people out of their money by posing as a respectable and legitimate cryptocurrency exchange.

BitKRX claimed to be a branch of the KRX, a creation of KOSDAQ, South Korean Futures Exchange, and South Korean Stock Exchange, according to Coin Telegraph.

BitKRX used this faux-affiliation to ensnare people to use their system. The scam was exposed in 2017.

3. Ponzi Scheme – MiningMax

“Ponzi bitcoin scam” has got to be the worst combination of words imaginable for financial gurus. And, the reality is just as bad.

Several organizations have scammed people out of millions with Ponzi schemes using bitcoins, including South Korean website MiningMax. The site, which was not registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, promised to provide investors with daily ROI’s in exchange for an original investment and commission from getting others to invest (basically, a Ponzi scheme). Apparently, the site was asking people to invest $3,200 for daily ROI’s over two years, and a $200 referral commission for every personally recruited investor, reports claim.

MiningMax’s domain was privately registered in mid-2016, and had a binary compensation structure. The fraudulent crypto-currency scam was reported by affiliates, resulting in 14 arrests in Korea in December of 2017.

Korea has long been a leader in technological developments – bitcoin is no exception. However, after recent controversy, it seems as though this is changing.

“But a lot of governments are looking at this very carefully,” Yoo Byung-joon, business administration professor at Seoul National University and co-author of the 2015 research paper “Is Bitcoin a Viable E-Business?: Empirical Analysis of the Digital Currency’s Speculative Nature,” told South China Morning Post in January. “Some are even considering putting their currencies on the blockchain system. The biggest challenge facing bitcoin now is the potential for misuse, but that’s true of any new technology.”

4. Fake Bitcoin Scam – My Big Coin

A classic (but no less dubious) scam involving bitcoin and cryptocurrency is simply, well, fake currency. One such arbiter of this faux bitcoin was My Big Coin. Essentially, the site sold fake bitcoin. Plain and simple.

In early 2018, My Big Coin, a cryptocurrency scam that lured investors into sinking an alleged $6 million, was sued by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, according to a CFTC case filed in late January.

The CFTC case further details that the suit was due to “commodity fraud and misappropriation related to the ongoing solicitation of customers for a virtual currency known as My Big Coin (MBC),” further charging the scam with “misappropriating over $6 million from customers by, among other things, transferring customer funds into personal bank accounts, and using those funds for personal expenses and the purchase of luxury goods.”

Among other things, the site fraudulently claimed that the coin was being actively traded on several platforms, and even mislead investors by claiming it was also partnered with MasterCard, according to the CFTC case.

Those sued included Randall Carter, Mark Gillespie and the My Big Coin Pay, Inc.

5. ICO Scam – Bitcoin Savings and Trust and Centra Tech

Still other scammers have used ICO’s – initial coin offerings – to dupe users out of their money.

Along with the rise in blockchain-backed companies, fake ICOs became popular as a way to back these new companies. However, given the unregulated nature of bitcoin itself, the door has been wide open for fraud.

Most ICO frauds have taken place through getting investors to invest in or through fake ICO websites using faulty wallets, or by posing as real cryptocurrency-based companies.

Notably, $32 million Centra Tech garnered celebrity support (most famously from DJ Khaled), but was exposed for ICO fraud back in April of 2018, according to Fortune. The company was sued for misleading investors and lying about products, among other fraudulent activities.

The famous DJ wrote his support in a caption on Instagram back in 2017.

“I just received my titanium centra debit card. The Centra Card & Centra Wallet app is the ultimate winner in Cryptocurrency debit cards powered by CTR tokens!” Khaled wrote.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission even issued a warning in 2017 about ICO scams and faux investment opportunities, brought on by a slew of celebrities who promoted certain ICOs (like Paris Hilton and Floyd Mayweather Jr. to name a few).

“Any celebrity or other individual who promotes a virtual token or coin that is a security must disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion,” the SEC wrote in an Investor Alert in 2017. “A failure to disclose this information is a violation of the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws.”

Another example is Bitcoin Savings and Trust, which was fined $40.7 million in 2014 by the SEC for creating fake investments and using a Ponzi scheme to scam investors. According to Coin Telegraph, Trenton Shavers, the organization’s leader, allegedly scammed investors into giving him 720,000 bitcoins promising a 7% weekly interest on investments – which he then used to pay back old investors and even fill his personal bank accounts.

6. Bitcoin Gold Scam – mybtgwallet.com

Nothing catches the eye of the naïve quite like the promise of gold – bitcoin gold, of course.

That is exactly what mybtgwallet.com did to unsuspecting bitcoin investors.

According to CNN, the bitcoin gold (BTG) wallet duped investors out of $3.2 million in 2017 by promising to allow them to claim their bitcoin gold. The website allegedly used links on a legitimate website (Bitcoin Gold) to get investors to share their private keys or seeds with the scam, as this old screenshot from the website shows.

Before the scam was done, the website managers (slash scammers) was able to get their hands on $107,000 worth of bitcoin gold, $72,000 of litecoin, $30,000 of ethereum, and $3 million of bitcoin, according to CNN.

Bitcoin Gold, the site’s wallet used in the scam, began investigating shortly after, but the site remains controversial. Still, firm released a warning to bitcoin investors.

“It’s worth reminding everyone that it will never be truly safe to enter your private key or mnemonic phrase for a pre-existing wallet into any online website,” Bitcoin Gold wrote. “When you want to sweep new coins from a pre-fork wallet address, best practice is the same as after other forks: Send your old coins to a new wallet first, before you expose the private keys of the original wallet. Following this basic rule of private key management greatly reduces your risk of theft.”

7. Pump and Dump Scam

While this type of scam is certainly not relegated to just bitcoin (thank you for the education, “The Wolf of Wall Street”), a pump-and-dump scam is especially dangerous in the internet space.

The basic idea is that investors hype up (or “pump up”) a certain bitcoin – that is usually an alternative coin that is very cheap but high risk – via investor’s websites, blogs, or even Reddit, according to The Daily Dot. Once the scammers pump up a certain bitcoin enough, skyrocketing its value, they cash out and “dump” their bitcoin onto the naïve investors who bought into the bitcoin thinking it was the next big thing.

Bittrex, a popular bitcoin exchange site, released a set of guidelines to avoid bitcoin pump-and-dump scams.

While “stackin’ penny stocks” may sound like an appealing way to earn an extra buck (thanks to its glamorization by Jordan Belfort), messing in bitcoin scams is nothing to smirk at.

How to Avoid Bitcoin Scams

With the inevitable rise of bitcoin in current and coming years, it is becoming increasingly important to understand and be on the lookout for bitcoin scams that could cost you thousands.

There is no one formula to avoiding being scammed, but reading up on the latest bitcoin red flags, keeping information private, and double checking sources before investing in anything are good standard procedures that may help save you from being duped. After all, knowledge is power.

Bitcoin Scammers Hack into Twitter Accounts of Target, The Body Shop (Among Others) – Jodie Lauren Smith

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Target and The Body Shop were targeted in a new wave of verified Twitter account hacks. This new attack follows a wave of similar attacks, including the attack where hackers masqueraded as Elon Musk by changing the name of other verified accounts they hacked into. Hackers used Elon Musk’s identity and credibility within the industry to encourage users ot part with their Bitcoin in exchange for more Bitcoin that never materialized.

In this latest attack, a crypto giveaway was the focus of the tweets, and a link was included so users could take part. More than a few high profile accounts were targeted including TargetToledo Rockets, The Body Shop, Universal Music Czech Republic, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

It is not yet clear how hackers managed to hack the accounts, however since the English used within the tweets is substandard, it is assumed the hackers are not native English speakers. While this may seem like a hint to most people that the Twitter account is not genuine, often this is intentional. For example with Nigerian inheritance and love scams, the scammers often use poor English as a means of making sure they only receive responses from the most gullible people, which are usually the most vulnerable people to these types of scams.

The relative success of these scams goes to highlight the trust people put into the verified account ‘tick’ on Twitter profiles. For many people, as soon as they see the tick, they believe they are dealing with a legitimate person or company that they can trust. Hackers are exploiting this to target a wide array of people. The attacks also prey on people’s excitement over cryptocurrency and the desire to get involved in this new and exciting area of financial technology. Many people have been wanting to dip their toe in the cryptocurrency pool, but aren’t sure how to go about it. Big businesses that are accessible to the public also add an air of legitimacy for those people wanting to segway into crypto.

Twitter hasn’t released a formal response specifically around these attacks, although pressure is mounting for them to do so. Twitter needs to find a way to make these types of attacks impossible, otherwise, users will become more fearful and less trusting of the platform.

Hopefully, Twitter can find a solution before the next wave of attacks. This seems to be a method hackers wanting to scam people out of cryptocurrency keep returning to, suggesting that it is very profitable and worth the effort to hack the accounts.

 

 

 

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