Although cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, may seem to be new. I have been writing in Scamicide.com about cryptocurrency scams for more than five years. Cryptocurrencies are legitimate, but scammers are increasingly taking advantage of the public’s fascination with cryptocurrencies to take old forms of scams and update them with a cryptocurrency twist.   In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, scammers are sending immense numbers of emails to people that appear to come from one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges. Cryptocurrency exchanges are websites where you can buy, sell or exchange cryptocurrencies for other digital currency or traditional currency like US dollars or Euros.  In these emails the targeted victim of the scam is told that due to some issue related to the Coronavirus, there is a problem with their account at the particular cryptocurrency exchange.  The scammer then attempts to lure the targeted victim into clicking on a link in the email that supposedly will take them to their account with the exchange, however, the website it takes the victim to is a fake version of the real cryptocurrency exchange’s website and lures the targeted victim into providing their user name and password which then enables the scammer to empty the victim’s account.

TIPS

Obviously if you do not have an account with the particular cryptocurrency exchange that appears to be sending you the phishing email, you can safely ignore the email.  If you do have an account with the particular cryptocurrency exchange, there are still a number of red flags to alert you to the particular email being a scam.  Often, the email address of the sender will not have any relation to the email address of the real cryptocurrency exchange and will, in fact, be the email address of a victim of a bot net whose computer was hacked and is used to send out phishing emails and other scams.  Another red flag is if the email does not refer to you by name or provide your account number.  However, even if the email looks entirely legitimate, you can never be sure whenever you get an email if it is legitimate or not and so it is always prudent to refrain from clicking on any links or providing any personal information in response to an email unless you have absolutely confirmed that it is legitimate.  In this case, the best course of action would be to not respond directly to the email, but rather contact the cryptocurrency exchange independently to confirm whether or not the email was a scam.

Finally, and most importantly, it is critical to use dual factor authentication for cryptocurrency exchange accounts so that even if someone were to manage to obtain your user name and password, he or she would not be able to access your account.  Dual factor authentication is important to use whenever you can, but it is particularly important to use to secure cryptocurrency accounts to prevent an identity thief from stealing your account.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”