The year 2019 has begun and for those of you that are familiar with and are involved in the crypto space, you are (especially within the last 2 years) aware that the crypto realm is an extremely lucrative and easy market for scammers. Whilst most of us may by now be privy to these types of scams the people behind them are becoming more and more creative and as such its always best to keep your wits about you and do your research before handing over any funds. For those who are crypto newbies, its a tough world out there but there are genuinely legal, legitimate, regulated and dedicated exchanges out there (like us) who aim to provide a service to the people of the crypto world. Whilst there isnt really a step by step guide on how to weed out scam sites, the below checklist will help you to determine whether a company is fraudulent or genuine.
The first thing to check is whether or not the website connects securely over https (not http)? The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. This is easily visible when using common web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome as they also display a padlock icon in the address bar to visually indicate that a HTTPS connection is in effect.
Secondly, and this is also something that is easy to check but often overlooked, check the website’s URL. Does have anything noticeably strange such as deliberate spelling errors or additional symbols? If so, its likely to be a fake.
Another obvious warning sign lies within the content of the website. Legitimate businesses put a lot of time, money and effort into their content so if the the site features poor grammar, bad phrasing or obvious spelling mistakes then its recommended that you proceed with caution. Bare in mind that the odd mistake can be overlooked so an error or two doesn’t necessarily mean that you should run for the hills, but do keep a look out for any other red flags before depositing any funds.
We’ve all heard the phrase “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is”, well this definitely applies. Does the website promise ridiculously high returns? For example, does it claim that you’ll be able to double or even triple your investment overnight? Any claim that seems outrageous or just too amazing to possibly be real most likely isn’t and if you fall for it you will probably lose your “investment” totally.
The next thing to look at is the information that is provided about the company itself. Is there an “About us” page or something that gives you in depth details on the business itself? In the crypto world it was and still is quite common to want to remain anonymous or for each team member to not be directly contactable. We understand. Its also quite simple to find a stock image of a sparky looking businessman and write an impressive fake bio claiming he/she as the “CEO” or Lead Developer. Whilst it doesn’t directly point to a scam if a site doesn’t have an organizational chart, its always good to be able to check out the team and do some research on who they are and whether or not they are fictitious.
Legitimate businesses will generally provide details about where the company is registered? If there’s little or no information about who the company is and what it does, you are most likely dealing with a scam and should quickly slide your mouse over to the little “x” symbol, click on it fast and never look back.
In the world of crypto (we are claiming the rights to this title if a game ever comes out with the same name) reputable websites or companies generally form alliances or collaborate in some way and as such you will likely find other sites out there that link to this site (and say something positive). This is a sure fire way to tell if a site can be trusted.
Yes its probably the most obvious way to tell if a site is a scam, but seriously, google it. The chances are that some poor crypto noob before you has been caught hook line and sinker and is now royally p****d and has taken to forms like Reddit to seek revenge or to warn others of the scam. The crypto community may be clicky but we are pretty quick to spread the word about scams (we hate scams and scammers).
Ok so you’ve completed all of the above checks but you still aren’t quite sure if you are ready to trust said website with your hard earned moola, there is something else you can investigate before you commit. Check who the registered owner of the domain or the website is. You can do this by searching for the platforms URL registration details on WHOis.net. If it looks dodgy and/or the so called owner is hidden behind private registration then its likely a scam site.
The important thing to remember is to always trust your gut feeling. If you don’t feel comfortable, move on. There are plenty of legitimate crypto exchanges out there that you can happily and safely use for example Ethbits!