Simple tips to keep your crypto safe.

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Many people can’t fathom the gains that are possible from crypto investing; literally thousands of percentage point gains are not unheard of and many people have had their lives changed as a result of making the right investment decisions.


Sadly however in a space where people are making life changing money it attracts the most despicable types of people who are happy to exploit a lack of knowledge or naivety.



In holding digital assets one has to face up to the fact that individual responsibility is a prerequisite. This requires some understanding, education and common sense to safely manage one’s digital assets. The crypto space can be a safe place to operate in, however hackers and scammers will do everything they can to exploit any weakness; at the end of the day they want your crypto coins!


In this short article I will lay out some of the simple things that you can do and you should know about in order for you to not fall foul of these nasty individuals who lurk in the darkest recesses of the digital arena.


Seed Words


Hackers, scammers and online thieves will try all manner of devious tactics to try and get you to give them your seed words.


Your seed words, which you should most definitely have made a careful note of and are being stored in a safe place having gone through the setting up of your crypto wallet, are 12 or 15 randomly generated words. These are unique to your wallet and they are essentially your key to your vault that holds all of your crypto; so anyone who has those words can access all of your money.


Allowing someone to have access to your seed words is akin to giving a complete stranger your bank card with the pin number written on the back!


How are they going to do that?


There are 3 primary ways that people are losing their crypto to scammers.


Fake websites


Scammers will put up fake websites, they will advertise those fake websites, which can even be on the top of Google.


In conducting a search for the Metamask wallet download site, you may see an advert that says it’s for Metamask. If you click on it you could be taken to a fake website and you will subsequently install a fake Metamask app. After you have installed the wallet and gone through the set up process, including writing down the seed words, the thieves will literally be waiting for you to deposit your crypto at which point they will take control and empty the wallet.


This is the ONLY place you should download a Metamask wallet from:

https://metamask.io/


Fake Youtube videos are also another devious method that is used to steal people’s crypto.


The scammers run what you may think is a live stream presentation being made by a well known personality in the crypto space. For example I have seen these with both the founders of Ethereum and Cardano being involved.




The presentations are not live, but the premise is that they make the viewer believe that they are offering something for free and all the viewer has to do is send a certain amount of the crypto and they will receive back double or more.


The crypto space can be extremely generous when it comes to free coins being given in the form of genuine air drops when crypto projects launch, however never hand over your own crypto in the belief that someone will send you back more. You will lose it all! Consider the old adage…."if it is too good to be true…..it probably is!"


What I actually find quite disgusting is that YouTube does nothing to curtail this type of thing from happening and will even show adverts before the person views the video!


Here is another scammer on Twitter using a similar approach but having the audacity to pretend to be Elon Musk:



Fake Twitter accounts with Google forms


Another approach is where the scammers go into Twitter threads and make posts impersonating someone from Metamask support. On any thread where there is a mention of the word Metamask they will be waiting to pounce.


Therefore if anyone either complains or is looking for help regarding Metamask wallets on Twitter, they will have people who say that they are from Metamask support in their username or refer you to someone else who says they are and they will try to get you to fill out a Google form and convince you that it is ok to put your seed words in the form. If the form is sent you will lose all of your money.


Being conned into believing you can get something for free.


A slightly more sophisticated approach that is adopted by scammers is getting people to authorise a smart contract that will allow them to then access your funds.


This is done because the user believes that they are going to be able to receive something for free, be that free coins in an airdrop or you believe that you will get some free rewards of some description.


The victim would authorise the scammers smart contract to essentially spend all of your crypto that is held in your wallet. This would initiate their contract to empty your wallet and you would lose all of your money.


2 Factor Authentication Scams


When you set up an account at an exchange to comply with KYC (Know Your Client) information process you will be encouraged to set up a 2 factor authentication on your mobile device which will then be required in order to access the exchange and the funds in an account.


Never set up the 2 factor authentication using your cell phone number to receive SMS verification messages.


Scammers have been known to go to the extremes of contacting cell phone companies pretending to be the account holder and then SIM swap the rightful owner meaning that they take over the SIM account which allows them to take over the SMS messages and more than likely emails from any associated crypto exchange accounts, because typically SMS and emails are used as a means of account authentication when signing in.


To prevent this never use SMS as your 2 Factor Authentication, always set up the Google Authenticator and avoid leaving your crypto on exchanges.


Whilst exchanges are used by many people to buy and sell their cryptocurrency they are not infallible. There have been situations where hacks have taken place and large sums of crypto has been stolen.


Invariably it is complacency and perhaps even laziness that causes people to leave their digital assets on a third party cryptocurrency exchange.





Just remember:


“Not your keys, not your crypto” is a crypto saying derived from the Proof of Keys concept, which discourages the dependence on exchanges for the storage of one’s crypto assets and promotes self-storage instead.

Securing your private keys is critical to ensuring your financial freedom. Unfortunately, most people outsource this responsibility to exchanges, believing that their money is in good hands. But numerous security breaches in the past few years have proven without a doubt that this couldn’t be further from the truth.


If you hold the keys to a wallet, then you are the only person who can access those coins. On an exchange you have no keys, so if anything happens on the exchange you could become the unwitting victim of a hack or some other unfortunate misadventure.


I am not saying this to deter you from participating in the crypto space, I just want you to be aware that the responsibility for your money and assets is down to you and by following some simple guidelines you will not become a victim of a scam or theft.


Other ways to ensure your crypto stays safe:


  • If you are using a computer, is there a video camera watching you use it?

  • Have you inspected your devices for any malicious software that is lurking to record things such as keystrokes on your keyboard?

  • Do you have strong and up to date anti-virus / security installed?

  • Do you have strong passwords set?

  • Have you written down your seed words and passwords and you are storing them in a secure location?


Thankfully, this “endpoint” security isn’t a major concern for hacking and weakness otherwise there would be a lot of people having their regular bank accounts being emptied.


However, all of this doesn’t matter if your keys aren’t kept on your computer in the first place.


Conclusion


When you decide to become a crypto investor you have to be prepared to put on your big boy (or girl) pants and be comfortable in accepting responsibility for your own assets. By accepting that responsibility you effectively become your own bank, so you must think in those terms.


If you owned a bank would you leave leave the vault and front door open over night? Would you give the combination of the vault to a complete stranger? I'm quite sure that the answer to both questions would be a resounding 'NO'! It should be no different when you hold your own crypto assets.


It's not difficult to stay safe in crypto land, you just have to apply a little common sense and when necessary throw caution to the wind.


At the end of the day your cryptocurrency investment journey should be one of excitement and not one of fear.




IMG_0098 (1).jpg

Hi,
I'm Paul

I am on a mission to help people start a journey to financial freedom. The key to long term success is education and understanding the incredible opportunity that exists right now.

Post Archive