Cryptocurrency has become a buzzword in today’s day and age, thrown around sometimes with little to no understanding of the term or the risks involved. The most famous cryptocurrency is without a doubt Bitcoin. While originally it was viewed as a secure financial option by its use of blockchains, it is by no means an un-hackable currency and has been a victim of numerous scams.
The Optioment Ploy might be one of the more famous cases of Bitcoin fraud. By combining a Ponzi scheme with a fake ICO (initial coin offering), investors in Bitcoin Savings and Trust were guaranteed too-good-to-be-true returns on investment. Ultimately, this resulted in the collapse of the fraudulent organisation, more than 265,000 bitcoins stolen, and imprisonment and a $40 million dollar fine on Trendon Shavers, the organiser of Bitcoin Savings and Trust.
Others may have heard of the Silk Road – a famed online black market used for drugs and other illegal activities. This in itself was not a scam. When the government seized it and offered to auction off the bitcoins, potential buyers were emailed to see if they were interested in purchase, which is a common fate for harmless seized goods. Unfortunately, due to an administrative error all email addresses were able to be viewed by all addressees, resulting in a tidal wave of phishing schemes with a ready-made potential victim hit list, composed of people that scammers knew were interested in bitcoin purchase. Countless people had sensitive financial information tricked out of them by scammers.
Well-known in hacking circles is the fact that no matter how strong your online security might be, human error is always a way in. This was certainly the case with the simplest and possibly most effective scam: a hacker sent a message to the Rogers Data Centre, where Canadian Bitcoins (a company which managed Bitcoins for Canadian investors) were located. Rogers Data Centre received the message, which claimed to be from James Grant, the CEO of Canadian Bitcoins, needing all security codes. After confirming only that the CEO was indeed named James Grant, the Rogers Data Centre promptly sent out all the codes, resulting in a loss of more than $100,000.
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