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Notorious Cryptocurrency Scams and How to Avoid Them

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Cryptocurrency thefts, scams hit $1.7 billion in 2018 according to Reuters new York

People lost their Cryptocurrencies after it was stolen from exchanges and after being scammed  which was a massive increase of more than 400 per cent from the figures recorded In 2017 to about $1.7 billion, according to a report from U.S.-based cybersecurity firm CipherTrace

The growth of blockchain and cryptocurrency over the past nine years has changed the way the world looks at transactions and this has made a massive attraction for scammers and criminal who have tweaked their schemes to suit cryptocurrency making people run into heavy losses. There move has to be aided with the fact that Cryptocurrencies are decentralised virtual peer-to-peer currencies. This means that the currency exists online only and is not controlled by a bank, treasury or country, making it free from regulation and government over sight.

Whether or not you believe cryptocurrency is the “IT”, we can both agree to the fact that frantic investments attract crafty individuals seeking to prey on trader greed. That is, the prospect of quick riches can blind some people to the risks and enable crooks to lure them into scams with dubious products and services. Here are some of the most notorious cryptocurrency scams and how to avoid them.

  • Social media give away fraud

Anyone can be prey to hackers, even legitimate coin issuers. Sometimes notable figures in the crypto space such as Vitalik Buterin or Andreas Antonopoulos, and many others that offer giveaways are impersonated. You cannot trust Facebook or Twitter accounts, especially unverified accounts. If a person claims to belong to an ICO or to be its founder, think twice before you reply to their offer or make a contribution. Whenever you read “Send 2 or 3 ETH to this address and receive up to 20 ETH in return”, that is a pure scam. Crypto is money and nobody is giving away good money for free. If someone is truly promising you a tenfold reward, be realistic – it is too good to be true? Before you actually send money to the person, make sure the source is real and trustworthy. You could also look through the company’s website, read comments about it from reliable sources, and, most importantly, try to make contact with real employees on Telegram or other social media channels to figure out what is truly going on.

  1. Fake Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

ICOs are a means of raising funds for newly launched cryptocurrencies. Investors in ICOs receive tokens in the new cryptocurrency. Over the past year, Investors have pushed billions of dollars into more than 1,000 ICOs. While many ICOs are legitimate, a large number have no real business plans or technology behind them. In a recent study, 80% of the ICOs conducted in 2017 were described as scams. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently filed fraud charges against two ICOs, stating that they were sold on the basis of fraudulent claims. China has also banned the sale of ICOs, and many individuals familiar with fraud have described Initial Coin Offerings as the biggest scam ever. Fake ICO scams can be found here.

  1. Fake websites

Phishing attacks are very common cryptocurrency scams. The main strategy is imitating popular exchanges by purchasing web domains and Google ads. This fake website may look similar to the original, but once you type in your credentials, it directs you to a special platform to proceed with your contribution. Fake webpages can be identified by the appearance of tiny dots beneath the URL characters. Also, the absence of “Secure” and “https” markers before the website’s URL can be a warning sign of a fake site. It is often advised to type the exchange URL directly into the address bar yourself. Also, ensure you enable some sort of multifactor authentication for all your accounts. This may seem too much, but adequate security demands extra measures.

  1. Ad scams

We should take caution of ads leading to phishing sites. Recent examples of such ads include Google Ads to cloned exchanges and Reddit ads to Trezor hardware wallet sale offers. Its common practice to always bookmark the legitimate URL and not to visit other URLs even if they look similar. Chrome extensions like Metamask block phishing sites.

  1. Fraudulent Emails

Scammers often send emails announcing fake ICOs, enabling them to steal a significant amount of money. It is not quite difficult to impersonate a real cryptocurrency issuer, it’s important to have this in mind and remain sceptical of emails concerning ICO.

If you do receive any of such email, pull up any previous emails received from the company and compare the layout and signatures. Also, be on the lookout for grammatical errors and ensure that the email address has been verified by the official website.

Finally

Your approach to the security of your investment will determine your success in it, as there are a lot of ways cryptocurrency can benefit your business as long as you proceed with a reasonable degree of scepticism and care. Despite the growing number of fraudulent projects, there are numerous prestigious projects and groups that make investing in cryptocurrency worthwhile. It is a surety that fraud is prevalent wherever big money is involved, and these scammers tend to use more or less the same tricks, each adapted to fit new scenarios.

Thus whenever you are visiting a new website, see something that looks too good to be true, or you are accessing information using your private details, be cautious.

Security measures are fundamental: Trust only authentic websites and cryptocurrency exchanges, and be suspicious of crypto mobile apps and all emails promoting an ICO.

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Finance

Yahoo Finance Adds Cryptocurrency Market Data on its Website

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US based financial news firm, Yahoo Finance has partnered with Coinmarketcap to add cryptocurrency market data on its website amongst other financial reporting data.

The data which is supplied by the popular cryptocurrency market data aggregator Coinmarketcap now allow visitors on the website to track the prices of cryptocurrencies daily.

Currently available on the website are 118 cryptocurrencies ranked in the order of their market capitalization. The price data on the website are denomination in USD.

The website has a feature which it calls Heatmap View. It allows visitors to see the price actions on each crypto assets. A red signal shows the asset has dipped while a green signal reveals a gain in the asset.

Registered users can add any cryptocurrency to their portfolios.

Just like coinmarketcap reports, the Yahoo Finance website also reports detailed information on each cryptocurrency it has listed in its website.

The website reports on each website various market data such as current price, changes in percentage and amount, market capitalization, volume and circulating supply.

Yahoo finance also have individual pages for each cryptocurrency listed on the website. Yahoo Finance was quoted saying “We are thrilled about this partnership which comes timely as we continue to level up our game with the new liquidity-based metrics for ranking market-pairs and an improved pricing algorithm coming soon.”

Other than data from Coinmarketcap, Yahoo Finance also have two indices Crypto 200 (including Bitcoin) and Crypto 200 EX (i.e. excluding Bitcoin)

The data on the website incorporates pricing from over 200 exchanges, according to the Finance reporting organization, the indices provide exposure to the broader cryptocurrency market by including the cryptocurrencies that represent more than 90% of global market capitalization as of the index launch date.

Its daily newsletter and blog content will also be integrated into the news stream on finance site’s cryptocurrency screener landing page as well as the individual cryptocurrency pages.

The firm said in the future, it will plan to produce more educational video features, which it hopes will further add to the educational content on the website.

Image: Yahoo Finance

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Finance

Facebook to launch Facebook Pay to Provide Users With Secure and Convenient Payment Experience

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Is Facebook Pay an alternative to Libra?

Facebook has announced it will be launching the Facebook Pay service to provide people with a convenient, secure and consistent payment experience across its platform.

According to Facebook, people already use payments across its platform to shop, donate to causes and send money to each other. The Facebook pay will make these economic events easier while continuing to ensure user transaction information is secure and protected.

In order to use the service, users are to add their preferred payment method once and then use the service where it is available to make payments and purchases on the facebook’s platform apps. This will ensure users are not inconvenience as they wouldn’t be required to enter their payment information again.

The Facebook Pay will be available on Facebook and Messenger this week for US customers for fundraising, in-game payments, and event tickets, person-to-person payments on Messenger and purchases from select pages and businesses on Facebook marketplace.

According to Facebook, over time, the service will become available to more people and places including on its Instagram and WhatsApp platforms.

Security

Facebook iterates its desire to continue investment in security of its platform.

Facebook said “We designed Facebook Pay to securely store and encrypt your card and bank account numbers, perform anti-fraud monitoring on our systems to detect unauthorized activity and provide notifications for account activity”.

Facebook Pay allows users to add Pin or use their device biometrics for extra security when sending money or making payments. Facebook argues it will not receive or store users device biometric information based on its privacy policy.

To the Future

The Facebook Pay is part of our ongoing work to make commerce more convenient, Facebook said and this also will make it accessible and secure for people on its app.

And it will continue to develop Facebook Pay and look for ways to make it even more valuable for people on our apps.

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Finance

Bankera Announces the Release Its Crypto Lending Solution, the Bankera Loan 

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Bankera has announced the release Bankera Loan, its crypto lending solution. The Bankera Loan according to Bankera is geared to providing flexible and secure crypto-backed loans to cryptocurrency holders globally.

The Loans are to start with a minimum of at least 100 EUR and to as high as 1 million EUR.

Bankera Loans act as an option for cryptocurrency owners who desire access to financing, but do not want to liquidate their assets. The solution offers cryptocurrency holders the ability to access funds by using their cryptocurrencies holdings as collateral while retaining ownership of their crypto assets.

According to Bankera, the solution aims to democratize access to core banking services for all cryptocurrency market participants by giving them facility better suited for either individual or enterprise needs.

Co-founder of Bankera Vytautas Karalevicius expatiating on the solution said “We see a big interest from the community in smaller crypto-backed loans. This market has been heavily underserved, and typical loan minimums in the current market are often too high”.

Continuing, Vytautas said “Bankera Loans solution offers our clients the possibility to take a loan as low as 100 EUR so that all clients can obtain the financing they need”.

Enterprise clients can also use their crypto asses to get quick facilities for leveraging positions, for expansions or other needs.

Taking a loan is simple, Bankera revealed. It can be achieved by a sign up which is followed after by a deposit of crypto assets to Bankera Loan wallet. This deposit are required and used for as collateral.

Once this is done, Bankera said a customer can then personalize the facility by selecting amount, duration, withdrawal and collateral currencies. Once approval is achieved, the customer/clients receive the facility to his/her Bankera Loans account.

Though the more assets or currencies will be added to the platform in the future, the Banker Loans platform currently supports just over half a dozen currencies such as the EURO, Banker (BNK), Tether (USDT), Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), NEM (XEM) and privacy coin Dash (DASH).

Bankera aims to revolutionize banking by taking advantage of what blockchain technology has to offer while still focusing on scale by becoming a one-stop store for all financial services, in the same way traditional brick and mortar banks are now, while using technology to reduce the number of counterparties, thus lowering the cost of banking for the end consumer.

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Bitcoin News

25-Year-old pleads Guilty to Running Unlicensed Crypto Exchange.

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Kunal Kalra, a 25-year-old from West wood Los Angeles has been said to have pleaded guilty to federal charges of having exchanged over $25million in cash and cryptocurrencies.

Kunal, also known as  “Kumar,” “shecklemayne” and “coinman,” was indicted on Friday, August 23 for allegedly trading cash and cryptocurrencies including drug dealers partially via his Bitcoin ATM kiosk.

The exchange was a front for other illegal activities

Kalra was said to have agreed to engagements in other illicit activities such asd distributionof methamphetamine, operating an unlicensed money transmitting virtual platform, laundering money and failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering instrument.

According to an announcement made by the U.S Department of Justice last Friday, Kalra had said that he has agreed to plead guilty to the offence of converting Bitcoin for cash for criminals, drug dealers who acquired cryptocurrencies from trading narcotics on the dark web, as well as a number of other persons involved in various illicit activities. He had also confessed that he used platforms such as Localbitcoin and a company known as Paxful.

It was alleged that Kalra had been running this cryptocurrency exchange from May 2015 through October 2017. The justice department also went ahead bro say that without the implementation of an anti-money laundering program, Kalra facilities these kinds of transactions with a commission knowing fully well that the proceeds came from drug trafficking.

As at the time of this report the law enforcement agency had already seized about $889,000 in liquid cash from Kalra, about 54.3 Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, worth more than half-million dollars.

The announcement also said that the maximum sentence that Kalra stood a chance of facing was life imprisonment.

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