Wherever there is money to be had, there is always a collection of lowlives who want to get it dishonestly.
In the old days, the lowlifes rode into town, robbed the bank, and maybe a shoot out would ensue. Yes, the bank lost money, but at least we got good films about Frank and Jesse James and Dick Turpin in the end.
Somehow, I don’t think we’ll find crypto thieves so romantic or funny in 50 years. Anyone using tricks to steal money via computer is a chickenhearted yellowbelly – playing the game at no risk to himself, unlike the outlaws of yore.
I’m not saying the James-Younger Gang and Dick Turpin are models for human development, but they certainly weren’t cowards.
Nevertheless, these modern thieves are highly effective at manipulating others into playing their game.
Here are some phishing tricks they like to play.
One way they manipulate victims is by scaring them.
For instance, just now, someone pretending to be a copper called my wife and said our car had been found in South Amsterdam full of cocaine and that if she didn’t pay a fine in cryptocurrency, her BSN number would be canceled. Luckily, my wife knew his game and told him to sod off.
Someone else, though–an older person, perhaps, whose pension and other benefits depend on having a BSN number–might have given in. The best thing to do in this case is hang up and call the police.
There’s also the blackmail trick.
A stranger rings or emails saying he knows you have very exotic tastes in pornography. You then get an ultimatum to send crypto or have your internet history published.
If you are a pornography connoisseur, getting this ultimatum is quite scary. Even so, if you get such correspondence, take Lord Wellington’s approach and say, “Publish and be damned!”
The Iron Duke knew it was better to have humiliating correspondence published than to grovel on his knees.
Follow the victor of Waterloo’s example and do likewise.
The more knavish hackers employ subtler phishing stratagems.
For example, you might get an email from someone purporting to represent your exchange. He says your account has been hacked, and you must send your log-in information.
The email looks legitimate, with the company’s logo and salutations from the writer at the bottom.
But it’s a fake.
No financial institution asks for this information unless you are the one initiating the communication. If you send the requested information, you will lose everything.
Another way thieves steal from people is by tricking them into downloading ransomware.
For instance, you might get an email asking you to upgrade your wallet. So you click on a link inside to do so. Suddenly, you find your files are encrypted, and the only way to get them back is to pay Dear Glorious Leader Kim Jong Un a ransom in cryptocurrency.
The lessons here are to never provide your financial details over the phone or by email, and beware of links in emails.
This trick targets the stupid and greedy among us.
Someone gets an email or phone call saying he’s won a million dollars. But the email recipient has to first pay a fee in cryptocurrency or provide his exchange or banking information.
He happily pays and disappointedly gets nothing. Or he surprisingly finds his accounts and wallets cleaned out the next day.
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
The lesson is not to let other people frighten, trick you, or use your worst vices against you. Instead, always exercise due diligence when opening your email or responding to texts and calls.
Even the best antivirus software doesn’t protect against poor judgment.
Phishing comes in many forms, but vigilance and critical thinking in the short term can protect your assets and your sense of security in the long run.
Like other types of investing, cryptocurrency can present risks. But against our world’s current rate of inflation, is crypto a good hedge against inflation?
If you’re a fan of NFTs but don’t want to get scammed or ripped off, take a look at our article on How to Keep Your NFTs Safe.