11 Most Common Types of Crypto Scams

Top Types Of Crypto Scams And How To Avoid

  • Getting stolen from fake profiles or fake platforms
  • Joining an investment platform that blocks all withdrawals
  • Investing in a get-rich-quick, unsustainable project
  • Losing on price manipulation or FOMOing into a trap

Crypto Scams #1: Identity Fraud

  • Create fake profiles that copy the image and username of the official one
  • Use exploit tools to pump their number of followers and likes
  • Add links to actually official websites
  • Hundreds of fake profiles recommending a website or trader on the comments
  • Someone posing as someone famous asking to private-message them
  • A fake customer support profile that messages you first
  • A Bitcoin prize email from a misspelled exchange
  • Cryptocurrencies or NFTs supposedly created by influencers

Crypto Scams #2: Phishing Scams

  • If it’s a reward (e.g., a fake airdrop), they’ll post it on social media.
  • If it’s a warning (e.g., a security issue on your account), they’ll use email or SMSs.
  • Someone in private chat asks for the information because they claim to be customer support (not even real teams ask for this).
  • A link sends them to a fake login page asking for passwords or recovery phrases.

Crypto Scam #3: Fake ICOs

  • Copycats, which is a form of identity thief. The “project” rebrands someone else’s whitepaper and features to bring credibility and pull and exit scam later.
  • Shitcoins, which have no product-market fit. They often rely on heavy marketing, have abstract features, and use questionable names, such as MOON or UPONLY.
  • Memecoins, which are speculative tokens with zero technology or utility behind them. Price changes because of influencers and popular sentiment.
  • Fake tokens, which are worth ~$0 and impersonate others like Uniswap or PulseChain. They use the exact same icon, token name, description, links, and market cap. When adding custom tokens, scammers hope that you add their coin by mistake, so they dump prices later.
  • Fake pre-sale events. Founders make the project look great when there’s nothing built. After they get enough funding, they abandon the project and disappear by the launch day.

Crypto Scams #4: Ponzi Schemes

  • Consistent monthly returns, because markets are volatile
  • Money-making is the main or only token utility
  • There’s no “product” or blockchain infrastructure (because it doesn’t need one)
  • Heavy promotion of high passive income for no risk
  • The only way to earn is to deposit on their official platform (which isn’t a dApp)
  • There are strict withdrawal rules, constant delays, and paperwork
  • Unclear revenue model (which points to a zero-sum economy that only improves with new members)

5. Social Media Shilling

  • Exaggerating or bragging about their returns
  • Spamming the coin or NFT on social media
  • Making fun of anyone who criticizes or doesn’t buy
  • Overestimating the founder’s past achievements and vanity metrics like market caps

6. Romance scams

  • A love “partner” you only chat with on social media or dating apps. They want you to join an investment program, so you can get rich, be happier, meet in person, or whatever future you daydream about. If you do make money, the partner encourages you to double down.
  • In a networking platform, you find an interesting person near your area and decide to meet. You have barely introduced yourself and they’re already selling you some MLM cryptocurrency program. It’s the only thing they talk about.
  • Someone approaches you (online or not) who just happens to be your age, ethnicity, nationality, and interests (of course, there’s a sales pitch). Or maybe they know a business partner who has a lot in common with you. These affinity groups aren’t necessarily scams but powerful tools for confidence tricks.

7. Rugpulls

  • Cryptocurrencies with sleek websites, plagiarized whitepapers, and anonymous founders
  • Play-to-earn tokens that use templates from game assets stores and have no gameplay videos
  • NFT creators that over-promote pay-to-join airdrops and presales but disappear on the mint day

8. Giveaway scams

  1. A swarm of bots to cheat the number of subscribers and likes.
  2. One interview video of someone like Elon Musk, Michael Sailor, or Vitalik Buterin
  3. An investment scheme to put next to the interview
  • We’re running a 5000 BTC Giveaway until the end of the live stream
  • Send any amount to this address and we will send you the double amount
  • But you can only do it once
  • The minimum is 0.1 BTC
hex giveaway scam

9. Pump and dumps

  1. Find a coin with stable prices and low trading volume (even a worthless project works fine)
  2. Accumulate millions of dollars by buying the coin in small batches for weeks
  3. Share with the group the coin reveal date (which is when you’ve finished buying)
  4. At the specified date and time, you reveal the token name, and hundreds of traders rush to buy it
  5. Price skyrockets to +300% (maybe 700%) in a few seconds and you sell everything
  6. The sale triggers panic sales and prices go back or below the initial value
  7. Everyone who was fast and risk-smart made fast profits.

10. Fake Apps

  • It’s existed for less than a year and has either no reviews or some fake five-stars
  • It’s easy to deposit but impossible to withdraw
  • It claims the token has market value, yet you can’t trade it outside the platform
  • You need to wait for months to withdraw or pay high penalty fees
  • It requests too many device permissions
  • It asks you to share a seed phrase

11. P2P Payment Fraud

  • If you both trade without middle platforms, you rely on trust. The person can fake a deposit and then lie that they didn’t receive your crypto
  • If the fiat deposit isn’t permanent, their bank can still revert the transaction after you already transferred cryptocurrency

The Hard Truth About Crypto Scams

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