Over the past few months, we have been spending a lot of time and effort to uncover scams and Ponzi Schemes in the Bitcoin world. Some people have been asking us how they can do research into these matters on their own accord. It doesn’t take a Master’s Degree to figure this out, but we have listed some obvious warning signs in the article below.
The Junior Bitcoin Scam Detective Toolkit
The most common tactic to determine how legitimate a particular Bitcoin company is comes in the form of looking up user reviews. This may sound like a logical step, but very few people seem to do their own homework when it comes to investment programs. Big ROI percentages and a fancy design can do strange things with the human mind; that much is certain.
There are two possible scenarios when it comes to these reviews: they are telling a clear story, or there is none to be found. If the latter is the case, it would be best to avoid the service altogether, regardless of how “new’ it may claim to be. If there are plenty of reviews, on the Bitcointalk forum, for example, make sure to check the accounts vouching for a service. Newbie accounts add zero credibility to any claims, as do accounts with negative trust ratings. Common sense goes a long way in this scam detective business.
Assuming the user review information is not conclusive, there are other tools to wield. Looking up the website’s domain in a WHOIS database may yield some surprising results. As a rule of thumb, any Bitcoin company offering investment or cloud mining services with privacy-protected WHOIS records is probably a scam.
Granted, there is an argument to be made for protecting user privacy. No legitimate business has any need to hide their details whatsoever, not even in the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Most of the investment platforms will have no information listed on the website either, so checking the WHOIS record may yield some additional information. In most cases, no information means the site is – or will soon turn into – a scam.
But there is another reason to use the WHOIS database. Every domain contains data on when it was registered and modified, which is being tracked in the database as well. The majority of scams can be identified by comparing the domain registration to claims of how much money they paid out to investors, or how long their service has been running. It wouldn’t be possible for any site to pay out hundreds of Bitcoin if their domain is less than two months old.
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