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Going to War Against the Bitcoin Scam Industry

Considered by many the most revolutionary breakthrough of the 21st century, Bitcoin continues to surprise the world with its allure and resilience.

Launched in 2009 as a way to create a decentralized method of exchanging money, Bitcoin is by far the world’s biggest and most valuable cryptocurrency. It peaked at around $20,000 per coin in 2017 and today’s value is just under half that amount.

The Bitcoin Scam Industry

The rise of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency industry it fathered has created great interest and attention over the last ten years. Nobody is certain as to the projection Bitcoin’s value will take over the medium-to-long term. This uncertainty, however, has not deterred investors from purchasing and trading the commodity.

Such interest and attention has unfortunately given rise to a number of criminal entities that seek to take advantage of innocent and unsuspecting victims through cybertheft and cryptocurrency fraud.

Recent investigations into the darker side of the cryptocurrency world have revealed that victims have been scammed out of an estimated $16.5 billion in digital currencies since 2011.

Types of Bitcoin Scams

The number of Bitcoin scams that have surfaced are too many to list. Hackers and scam artists continue to develop new ways to defraud their victims. New scams surface almost on a daily basis. Below are a few of the most notorious of these:

Fake Bitcoin Exchanges

The rise in popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has created an increase in fake Bitcoin exchanges. These exchanges deceive their users by offering excellent market prices, giving the impression that the user has made a great investment. The user however, discovers later that the Bitcoin exchange is fake and the scammer has run off with the money.

Bitcoin Ponzi Schemes

Similar to mainstream investment scams, the scammer receives Bitcoins from new investors in order to settle accounts with previous investors. This inevitably results in the investors never receiving a return on their Bitcoin investment.

Fake Cryptocurrencies

A common scam is to release a new cryptocurrency to the market that promises to rival existing ones. The premise is that the time to invest successfully in existing cryptocurrencies has lapsed and that it would be a great investment idea to purchase a new up-and-coming cryptocurrency. This new cryptocurrency may be featured on a fresh, professional looking website. You can bet that it will exaggerate their client base. The purpose is to create a ‘fear of missing out’ illusion forcing victims to scramble to jump on board.

Malware

Using sophisticated techniques, scammers can access your wallet and deplete your funds if you do not have the required malware protection. Malware can be downloaded by clicking on links from unknown email sources, downloaded from the internet and social media, and elsewhere. 

How to Avoid Getting Scammed

The best advice is to trust your instincts and go with the common wisdom that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Other tips to protect yourself from Bitcoin fraud is to:

  • Stick to popular, well known Bitcoin exchanges
  • Ensure you have updated virus and malware protection
  • Keep up-to-date on the latest Bitcoin news and red flags
  • Research and double check your sources before making a decision to purchase
  • Do not trust anyone that approaches you for an investment opportunity

What to Do if You Have Been Scammed

If you have fallen victim to a cryptocurrency scam, take a look at www.mychargeback.com, a U.S.-based company that has successfully recovered over $15 million since opening their doors in 2016.

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binary options cryptocurrency Forex

Investment Scams Still Haunting Australians

Australian Citizens Lose over $35 Million to Investment Scams

Scamwatch, an organization that is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has recently issued its most recent information pertaining to scams and what they found was startling. The numbers clearly showed that the losses due to investment fraud surpassed $35.8 million in the first 10 months of 2018.

The overall breakdown

From January to October 2018, Australian citizens filed nearly 3,000 reports about investments scams, particularly against non-regulated forex, binary options and cryptocurrency brokers. Overall losses amounted to $35,853,001.

The majority of investment scams still target potential victims that are interested in the traditional markets such as foreign exchange (forex) stocks, real estate or commodities. For example, these con-artists cold-call victims claiming to be a traditional stockbrokers or investment portfolio managers and claim they solely have inside information on a particular stock or commodity that is supposedly about to increase or decrease significantly in value. They often claim what they are offer is low-risk or risk-free and will yield rapid and extraordinary returns.

However, cryptocurrency trading and binary options are two other forms of “investments” where scams are unfortunately widespread. In fact cryptocurrency trading scams have grown significantly over the past year or so and are currently the second-most common type of investment scam that lure victims into depositing their hard-earned cash.

Is there a glimmer of hope?

It seems as if the tide is starting to turn. Since July the overall amount of money that Australians have lost to scams decreased significantly. The month of October, in particular, had the least amount of losses reported this year, with $1,365,444 lost. This is down compared to $6 million reported back in July.  Interestingly enough, individuals over 65 years of age reported the largest value in losses in October while those aged from 25 to 34 filed the most reports.

 

Source: Scamwatch.

How to spot an investment scam

First and foremost always check if the investment company or individual is licensed by a regulatory body such as ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) or the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) of the United Kingdom. If they are not licensed or if they are regulated in some offshore country such as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines do not invest with them. Additionally, any time that a broker or company uses the term(s) ‘risk-free investment’ high return, become a millionaire in just three months they are a scam.

Help me I have been scammed

If you were the victim of a binary options, forex, CFD, or cryptocurrency scam contact us immediately here, fill out the form and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.

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binary options cryptocurrency online trading

Facebook in Trouble Over Binary Options

Facebook under fire over binary options ads featuring Martin Lewis

One of the United Kingdom’s leading fiscal and consumer advice journalists filed a lawsuit against Facebook this week for allowing binary options and cryptocurrency ads containing his image that has ultimately caused unsuspecting consumers to lose their money.

Just three months after Facebook proclaimed it was outlawing all adverts for binary options, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs (initial coin offerings), well known British journalist and the founder of Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis is suing the company for defamation. The social media giant allowed paid Facebook ads, which promoted binary options to use his image. Individuals who clicked on the adverts and left their contact details complained that various binary options brokers contacted them.

Unfortunately, having the image of a famous person such as Lewis gives these fraudulent online trading companies an air of legitimacy. Most of the time these deceptive ads link to various imitation websites that are often designed to look exactly like genuine publications such as the BBC or CNN. One fictitious site even generated a video fabricating an endorsement from leading physicist Stephen Hawking to solicit its illegal services.

Lewis, when interviewed by Sky News stated “Enough is enough. It’s about time Facebook took responsibility. This is about stopping Facebook facilitating the ripping off of vulnerable people and destroying my reputation at the same time.” Additionally, he stated that he was aware of one particular woman who lost over 100 thousand pounds due to a fraudulent binary options advertisement with his image plastered on it.

A nightmare for Facebook

The lawsuit has the potential to turn into a nightmare for the social media titan since it is claiming that Facebook must be liable for all content that appears on their pages. A number of British analysts have stated that if Lewis wins his Facebook lawsuit, it could be in line for numerous other claims pertaining to what appears on their platform.

When pressed for a comment as to whether it would take into consideration the possibility of using its facial recognition limit the increasing number of unlawful deceptive ads featuring high-profile individuals, Facebook was unresponsive.

Take against binary options brokers

If you were the victim of a binary options scam be sure to fill out our complaint form: https://brokercomplaintregistry.com/binary-options/. Additionally, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you can help spread the word and put these scammers out of business.

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binary options cryptocurrency Forex online trading

Google to Ban Binary Options Ads

Google is ready to ban binary option and cryptocurrency ads

Well, it’s about time, Google is next in line to pose a stiff challenge to the largely fraudulent online trading industry. The world’s largest search engine has just announced that it plans to ban all cryptocurrencies and binary options advertisements, and it is cracking down on ads for various other speculative financial products.

Say goodbye to binary options & cryptocurrency ads

The new rules, which are scheduled to take effect in June, will flat out ban adverts for binary options, cryptocurrencies and all related content (including initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice. Cryptocurrencies have surged in popularity over the last year thanks to a boom in the price of bitcoin towards the end of fiscal 2017. This coincided with a surge in initial coin offerings (ICOs), where numerous startups have issued their own cryptocurrency in exchange for money to construct their businesses.

Taking Facebook’s lead

Google’s hard-line approach follows a similar ban that Facebook enacted earlier in the year in banning cryptocurrency related advertising on its platform. Scott Spencer, Google’s Director of Sustainable Ads said in a recent blog post that the clampdown is part of Google’s efforts to shield consumers from online trading scams.

However, much of the online trading world is unregulated, which in turn has attracted scammers looking to make quick money. Last year myriads of “pump and dump” filled the market, while this year bogus ICO projects have become routine.

Forex & CFD Crackdown

Google is additionally coming down on ads for contracts for difference (CFD), spread betting, and foreign exchange (forex) instruments on its platform.

These products carry a high level of risk and the entire industry is under increasing regulatory scrutiny across Europe over the past year thanks to severe investment fraud sweeping through the continent. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a warning in November that cryptocurrency CFDs are incredibly high-risk, speculative products that risk the investor suffering significant losses. Research conducted by the FCA showed 82% of people who use the products lose money, implying CFDs are more similar to gambling than investing.

Affiliate marketing for online trading takes a hit

Google additionally announced it is banning ads from affiliates and aggregators who traffic leads to online trading brokers. These websites earn a commission for referring new clients to these products that are lightly regulated.

The search giant will require CFD, spread bet, and forex websites to register with it if they want to advertise on its platform and all brokers must be licensed in the country they are looking to advertise in.

Pressure getting to Google

Google’s financial marketing crackdown arises among continued pressure on the search giant, which additionally owns YouTube, regarding the way it runs its advertising procedure. Google has been heavily criticized by the media and politicians for permitting everything from radicalization to binary options trading on its advertising platform due to careless controlling of content and advertising.

Spencer did state in his blog post that Google removed 3.2 billion “bad” ads last year and announced, “Improving the ads experience across the web, whether that’s removing harmful ads or intrusive ads, will continue to be a top priority for us.” We shall see. However, there is a pretty good chance that these fraudulent brokers will just simply change the name of their product in order to get around Google’s ban and deceive an unsuspecting user.

What you can do

If you see any ads pertaining to binary options, cryptocurrencies etc., be sure to inform them here so they can ultimately remove them. If you were the victim of a scam please be sure to fill out our contact form and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.

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bitcoin BTC Global cryptocurrency scam

BTC Global – A Huge Ponzi Scheme

Oh No! Another Cryptocurrency Scam

Since Bitcoin was created back in 2008, there have been numerous shady individuals and companies for that matter that have used the hype to their advantage to facilitate cryptocurrency scams. These shrewd schemes conned thousands upon thousands of people who knew virtually nothing about cryptocurrency but wanted to invest in this alluring venture. 2018 is underway but here is this year’s top cryptocurrency scam thus far:

BTC Global

Just a little over two weeks ago BTC Global collapsed and Broker Complaint Registry has received numerous complaints pertaining to this fraudulent broker. The company claimed to be an exclusive platform providing unparalleled earnings through valid binary trading services, but that was unfortunately not the case. Here are excerpts from there website:

“We are backed by our founding trader at Steven Twain.”

This “Steven Twain” character is not a real individual.

“Steven has 6 years of experience trading binary options with consistent success, over the last 3 years he has started providing trading services for other large account holders ($10,000+ only).”

I have not come across any trading history pertaining to Steven Twain.

“Through our partnership with Steven, BTC Global have secured access to guaranteed 14% WEEKLY returns from as little as $1,000 in your account. We have also secured extra returns to pay out as referral commissions should you decide to share this opportunity with others! There are very few legitimate opportunities to get the kind of returns on investment BTC Global is offering so we encourage you to get involved as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

How can a legitimate company guarantee any sort of returns?

In BTC Global there were two ways one could earn:

  1. Return on investment, which was 14% of the dollar amount that was invested, paid weekly in BTC.
  2. Team shares or commissions on the people that the investor recruited or referred (think of a pyramid scheme).

BTC Global – a textbook Ponzi scheme.

The definition of a Ponzi scheme is as follows:

A deceitful investing scam guaranteeing high rates of return with little to no risk to investors. The Ponzi scheme produces returns for earlier investors by procuring new investors. BTC Global certainly fits the bill

Investment values generally go up and down over a duration of time, especially the ones that offer potentially high yields. If an investment consistently generates the same returns despite the market conditions or guarantees these high returns that is cause for pause.

Additionally, Ponzi schemes usually involve investments that have not been registered with the SEC, FSB or any other regulatory agency. Obviously, registration is pivotal as enables investors to access pivotal information pertaining to the firm’s management, services, products and most importantly finances.

Lastly and most importantly if you do not receive a “scheduled” payment or incur difficulty when trying to cash out your investment that is the biggest red flag. Those who promote Ponzi schemes regularly ask investors to “roll over” investments and often promise returns in excess of the amount that was rolled over.

How to protect yourself from a cryptocurrency scam

Although we have just talked about the BTC Global scam, this is not the only one. The very best way to ensure your funds are safe is to know how to identify and avoid ponzi schemes like BTC Global.

Stay far away from ICOs, unidentified companies and companies that do not provide suitable information. Be sure that creator’s names and all team members are publicly listed and verified and, if reviews give consistent negative feedback it best to avoid that cryptocurrency broker.

If you or anyone you know was scammed by BTC Global please fill out the following form and we will do our best to try to come up with potential solutions.

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bitcoin cryptocurrency scam

Cryptocurrency – The Next Scam?

Cryptocurrency: What is it?

Cryptocurrencies, today’s biggest investment fad is dominating the headlines. Take Bitcoin, the most famous (and perhaps the most notorious) cryptocurrency has exploded in popularity over the last calendar year, despite the fact that it has been around for nearly a decade. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard of bitcoin, however, most do not know about the details behind the enigmatic cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that was created by Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2008. However, the name Nakamoto is really an alias for an unidentified person, or group of people, who developed Bitcoin. Although there are numerous cryptocurrencies accessible now, Bitcoin has become the most popular one for investors.

Bitcoin was developed is such a way to evade tight government control on currencies while making online transactions simpler. The primary technology behind Bitcoin is a blockchain, a digital ledger in which public transactions made in cryptocurrencies are documented in a universal network of computers.

An ICO not an IPO

An ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is an unregulated fundraising mechanism that is used for a new cryptocurrency undertaking.

Here’s how it works: Say a company is trying to streamline a car service payment system so that it can be digital and encrypted. Sounds like a good idea. Let’s name it CarCoin. The company will then produce a document basically specifying exactly how the process will work (generally called a white paper). Additionally, they will create an eye-catching website and describe why CarCoin is a great idea that could be very beneficial. Then, the company will ask for people to send them money (typically Bitcoin or Ether, but they’ll also take fiat). In return, the company will send them back some CarCoin. The “investors” hope that CarCoin will be used a lot and be high in circulation, which could potentially raise the value of the currency.

This is sort of like an initial public offering (IPO), where investors buy shares of a company. However, unlike an IPO investing in an ICO doesn’t award you an ownership stake in the company or startup you’re giving money to. You are hoping that in this instance, CarCoin currently a worthless currency, will ultimately increase in value down the line and make you money.

Oh, what a scam!

Unfortunately, whenever there is money to be made the swindlers are never far behind. This is especially true at the ICO stage. Anyone can launch an ICO as there is very little regulation in most countries such as the United States. This means that as long as you got the tech aspect set up you can get yourself funded. This obviously can result in one of two things: potential profit for an investor or massive scams. The cryptocurrency market is perfect for scammers because it’s relatively new, backed by tons of hype, and comprises of complex technology. It’s easier to sucker someone into investing in your ICO in 2018 than your bogus real estate business—and unfortunately, plenty of people have.

Fake bitcoin brokers

Unfortunately, whenever a new investment opportunity pops up there are plenty of fake brokers to go along with it and cryptocurrency is no different. Take Bitcoinopts for example. This “broker” does not allow you to buy and sell bitcoins or let you “watch your profit grow as we trade daily”. Rather they profit off of your deposit and never allow you to withdraw. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Many of these cryptocurrency brokers are the same fraudulent binary options brokers operating under a different brand. It has become so rampant that Facebook has instituted a blanket ban for all ads pertaining to Bitcoin, ICO’s and other cryptocurrencies

Report these cryptocurrency scams.

It is important to remember that not every ICO is a fraud, and many cryptocurrency startups are legitimate. However, the duplicitous, mostly unregulated cryptocurrency investment landscape is plagued with lots of fraudulent schemes. If you were the unfortunate victim of a cryptocurrency scam or you know of someone who was, be sure to raise a complaint here.

 

 

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