With the price of Bitcoin (BTC) having increased significantly in recent months (at the time of writing) and the blockchain network busier than ever, thieves, tricksters and fraudsters are all cashing in on the boom. In this article, we look at the top three Bitcoin scams commonly seen today and you can avoid being the next victim.
Why This Happens
Whilst Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been around for well over a decade, they have only become common knowledge in perhaps the last three years with many middle aged mom and pop types becoming interested in them for their profit potential. Stories of friends making sizable wins through buying and selling crypto have fuelled btc demand and price. As with any gold rush; there comes a downside in the form of bad actors who want to make their money the easy way through more nefarious means. When it comes to cryptocurrency, this usually means we’re talking about fraud or theft. In the last 18 months, a few notable methods have come to light that are commonly used by some shady characters online.
Fake QR Code Generators
It’s very common to use a QR code when sharing a Bitcoin wallet address with someone. Trying to remember up to 35 random letters and numbers doesn’t appeal to anyone and making a single mistake with the address means your crypto could be lost for good. Instead, the user simply scans your QR code with the mobile wallet app which will be converted into your actual address instantly, but of course, you need to create that QR code to share with your friends or customers first.
While there are many useful tools online that can make light work of this task, there are malicious ones too. Rather than creating a valid QR code to use on your website, these malicious websites create the exact same code every time which instead points to the trickers wallet. A simple but very effective way for them to steal the coin that was meant to come to you instead.
Below is a list of the nine separate sites known to be operated by the scammer – please make sure you avoid them. We have also written to the web hosting company operating these sites and asked that they be taken down, which may or may not have happened by the time you read this article:
The same web host was also hosting almost four hundred and fifty other websites all being used for dubious bitcoin related scams such as bitcoin casinos (which obviously never pay out). Other had domains referring to Google Mail, covid-19 plus a bunch of others. A large number of these now appear to be inactive however.
Bitcoin Transaction Accelerators
The second con, involves a network of websites that all claim to be Bitcoin transaction accelerators. When the blockchain gets busy, bitcoin transactions can appear to get stuck in the network. This typically happens when someone has used a low mining fee when sending btc somewhere (or is waiting to receive bitcoin from somewhere else). What happens here is that the blockchain mining pools don’t get around to processing your transaction as the fee is lower than other transactions that are also waiting. What this means is that your transaction get’s stuck, or is simply slow while waiting for confirmations as part of your btc transaction.
When this happens, it can be very useful to get some help from a btc transaction accelerator. Whilst there are a few working ones, there are also many fakes. What these do is accept your TXID (or transaction ID) and ask you to send a small amount of bitcoin to a wallet address – of course nothing then happens, they just keep your money.
One way to test this is to enter any random TXID, on some you can even make one up and it will say ‘transaction found’, which of course is impossible as that transaction likely never even existed. The list below contains the most popular ones we found in the network. Some of them have been taken now, but the first one was live at the time of writing. Please don’t send them any bitcoin!
The wallet address associated with the above 4 ‘transaction accelerators’ is also the same. This is another way to make sure you don’t become a victim:
Perhaps most incredible is how many people seem to have fallen for it. The wallet has received over $246,00 since January 2018! Especially as it has already been widely publicised. See the scam-alert.io report here for more information: Scam Alert Link
If you do want a genuine way to accelerate your bitcoin transaction, of course our bitcoin transaction accelerator will work very well, often reducing the time waiting in the mempool (the holding queue) from days down to hours or minutes. There are others too – bitaccelerate runs a similar system, however when you inspect the network console window in Google Chrome, you will notice that at least 5 of the 10 nodes they use are defunct…one is even trying to rebroadcast your TXID using the blockchain testnet! (which is for development purposes only and wont do anything to help you here). ViaBTC is another option, however BTC Nitro includes this server already plus we make sure that
we use at least 10 nodes to accelerate your transaction, using our own private blockchain nodes if any of the public ones aren’t working.
The final trick I’ve seen more recently is where fraudsters are out to steal the entire contents of your bitcoin wallet. They do this by offering to help accelerate your slow transaction (often on forums), in the same way that it can be useful for the reasons I gave earlier. However, they then tell you that in order to accelerate your transaction, for free, all they need is the seed keywords to your wallet. DO NOT EVER give away your seed keywords! Anyone in possession of these can simply unlock your wallet from anywhere by using them to restore a local copy of your wallet before emptying it into their own bitcoin wallets – from where you’ll never get it back. This trick probably bothers me most as some people have lost many thousands of dollars worth of cryptocurrency in this way. Sad times.
Well, that wraps up my summary of the 3 most common scams and how to avoid them. If I save even one person from spending bitcoin, just to have it stolen, then my time writing this for you was well worth it. Please share with friends if you found this article interesting or helpful!