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How to Identify and Avoid Common Crypto Imposter Scams

2021-10-01

If you’ve ever received unwanted calls or messages from contacts you don’t recognize, you’re in good company. While many calls and messages come from telemarketers, others may come from scam callers trying to steal from unsuspecting victims. Imposter scams are becoming more commonplace, targeting everyday people along with traditional investors and cryptocurrency users. Imposter scams attempts all follow a similar format: someone contacts you pretending to be someone they’re not. In some cases, these scammers may pretend to be tax officials, government workers, and even family members. 

Binance users should be on the lookout for bad actors who impersonate Binance staff to gain your trust and steal valuable information from you. These messages come in many different styles and include elements that make it hard to distinguish them from legitimate Binance messages. In this article, you’ll learn how impersonator scammers operate and how you can protect your Binance account. 

5 Common Cryptocurrency Scams and How to Avoid Them 

1. Text Message and WhatsApp Scam 

This is arguably one of the most common scams reported by Binance users in Malaysia. They receive a text message from a scammer impersonating Binance staff members. The text will claim your account is under attack from a hacker and a Binance staff member with a specific (fake) employee ID will contact you via WhatsApp to help secure your Binance account. 

The same scammer sends a WhatsApp message to the user, prompting them to send their coins to a secure, Binance-certified account. Users who fall for this trick end up sending their funds to the scammer. After that, the scammer blocks them on WhatsApp and the phone number suddenly becomes unreachable. 

How to Protect Yourself From the WhatsApp and Text Message Scams 

Never reply to any text message from anyone who claims to be a Binance staff member. Block and report the numbers to the official Binance security team right after you receive the message. Binance will never ask you for your account details via WhatsApp, text messages, email, or any other channel. 

2. Verification Code Scams

The verification scam is one of the most common scams in the financial sector. Over the years, this scam has become dominant in Malaysia’s crypto scene.  Traditionally, security measures like 2-factor authentication and one-time verification codes make it challenging for scammers to withdraw a user's funds from Binance, even when they have their login details. 

Scammers who successfully log in to a user's Binance account may be able to initiate a withdrawal request. However, they will be unable to get the cash until they input the verification code. Once the code is sent directly to the user's phone number, the hacker impersonates a Binance staff member on WhatsApp and will try to convince you to give the code. . They may claim that the code is needed to secure your account. 

How to Protect Yourself From Verification Scams

If you receive a verification code without initiating a transaction, make sure you do not give that code to anyone claiming to be a Binance staff. Binance will never ask you for a code to secure your account, protect it from hackers, or anything of that nature. 

3. Corrupt URL (Phishing) Scams

Before text and verification scams ravaged the cryptocurrency industry, phishing scams were the most popular option used by scammers. All they have to do is trick people into clicking a corrupt link. Typically, phishing scammers send an email from a fake address that looks just like the official Binance email. They might ask you to update your password to continue using your Binance account, log in to claim a reward, or just write any message that will tempt you into logging into your account. 

Typically, phishing scams are sent via email, however, some Malaysian hackers will use text messages. They’ll send a misleading message along with a link to login to your account. This link will redirect you to a fake website that looks just like Binance. As soon as you fill in your login details, the hackers will have everything they need to take control of your account. 

How To Avoid Phishing Scams 

Make sure you log in through the official Binance website on an up-to-date browser. These browsers typically post a warning when people try to access a corrupt URL or fake site. If you haven't already done it, enable 2-factor authentication on your Binance account right away. Binance also has an anti-phishing code you can add to your account for an additional layer of security.

4. The Account Blocking Scam

Binance users have also reported experiences with scammers who claim to be law enforcement agents or even Binance staff. These scammers send a text message with a threat, claiming your account will be permanently banned if you don’t follow their instructions.  After the text message is sent, the user receives a telephone call requesting the code on the text message. 

The scammers can also claim that your account has already been blocked and a Binance staff will contact you via WhatsApp to help resolve the issue.  In any case, don’t follow their instructions or you’ll lose all your funds. 

How to Protect Yourself From Account Blocking Scams 

Remember, Binance will never ask you to click a link or input a code to unblock your account. So, ignore, block, and report any message of that nature, even if there’s a Binance staff ID attached to the message. These scammers will fabricate the ID or copy it from actual Binance staff. 

5. The QR Code Scam

This is another version of the account-blocking scam. This scam involves a QR code through WhatsApp along with a message stating your account is under investigation or has been blocked due to suspicious activity.  Like most of the common scams, they’ll contact you as a fake Binance staff member on WhatsApp. 

You’ll receive a WhatsApp message prompting you to verify your account. The scammer will also send a QR code with instructions on how to scan and send the code to reboot your account. As soon as you do this, the scammer gains access to your account and clears your funds. 

How to Protect Yourself from QR Code Scams 

The best way to protect yourself from this scam is by avoiding any interaction with an alleged Binance staff member. If you’re worried about your account status, you can always login to Binance directly from an up-to-date browser. 

6. Know Who You Are Communicating With

An equally common scam scheme is when someone impersonates Binance Customer Service and asks you to release cryptocurrency without payment during a P2P transaction.

The most important P2P rule you should remember—never transfer cryptocurrency to buyers until you’re confirmed full payment in your bank account.

The second thing you need to know is that customer service will never interfere with transactions between users or communicate with you in P2P chat. The only time you will get a message from customer service is in the appeal window of an open dispute.

If you’ve placed an order and someone in the P2P chat informs you about the progress of the order and the need to complete it, ignore the message and immediately report the user. We do not store users' fiat money and there is no escrow for fiat money. Any attempt to convince you otherwise is a scam and should be ignored.

More Tips to Protect Your Account From Binance Impersonator Scams 

Whether you're a global merchant, P2P user, or Spot trader, you should always take measures to protect your account. Impersonator scammers are coming up with new and improved ways to get access to your funds. As soon as they gain access to your account, it’s highly unlikely you’ll recover your funds. We’ve provided some extra tips below to safeguard your Binance account. 

  • Verify your Binance account if you have not already done so. 

  • Activate 2-factor authentication on your Binance account. 

  • Always keep your login details private. Do not share it with anyone—even close friends. 

  • Ignore any text message, phone call, email address, or WhatsApp message from someone claiming to be a Binance staff or law enforcement agent. 

  • Report suspicious activities to Binance through the official Binance website. You can contact us via live chat. 

  • When you have concerns or questions, reach out to Binance through any of the email addresses on the Binance email whitelist. 

  • Binance will never ask you to send money to a staff memberto unblock your account or unlock a promotion. 

  • Read our page dedicated to verifying Binance staff identity.  You can run a quick search with the email, phone number, or Telegram ID the person used to contact you. 

Conclusion 

When scammers gain access to funds through text message or email scams, there is little Binance or anyone can do to recover it, as most cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible. Make sure you follow our guide because it’s better to be safe than sorry. Now that you know the most common methods used by scammers in Malaysia, the best thing you can do is protect yourself by following the tips in this article. Binance will never message you and ask you for sensitive information for any reason.  

If you want to learn more about how to avoid scams, you can refer to the articles below: