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Anatomy of a cryptocurrency scam

While going about your day, you suddenly receive a message, whether it’s through SMS, WhatsApp, or a direct message on a social media platform. Typically, these messages appear to have been sent by mistake, addressing you as a different person or with a different phone number. They may include a URL with login credentials and always contain some form of enticing bait.

I recently received a WhatsApp message with these characteristics and have decided to create an article to raise awareness. To prevent any potential harm, I will ensure that all critical and sensitive information in the screenshots is erased.

The rest of the article will be written from the perspective of a regular person navigating the evolving world of scam operations.

I suddenly received a notification from WhatsApp.

When I checked the message, it was from an unknown number. It was sent to someone named Leo and contained some account information. I couldn’t believe my eyes – there were more than 2.2 million USDT (a cryptocurrency) and nearly 600,000 euros. Today is my lucky day! I can start planning my early retirement from my 9 to 5 job and live my dream life with this unexpected windfall.

Author’s Note: An important sentence to remember is: “Free cheese can only be found in mouse traps.”

I will verify if the website and account information provided in the message is valid. The website appears to be genuine and secure, as indicated by the lock icon on the address bar.

I noticed some random numbers on the login page, which suggests that the site prioritizes security.

It seems like a message was sent by mistake, but we all make mistakes at times. I will now check if the username and password are correct.

Author’s Note: Making mistakes is normal for all humans. However, using this mistake for personal benefit instead of reporting the issue to the respective company or authorities is a moral and ethical issue that needs to be discussed separately.

Great! The username and password worked. The message sent must be a mistake. Let me check what kind of website it is. This website must be an investment platform. It looks like everything is legitimate. They have “Help” and “Customer Service” links. They must be a serious company.

I am curious. Is this person named Leo as rich as it has been said in the message? Where can I see it? Let me click on the icons. Oh, there is an icon with the name “Wallet.” This must be the page to see if it is true or not.

Author’s Note: After seeing the working username and password found in the message, our fictitious character started invading privacy. This is crossing a serious boundary.

Oh my god! I cannot believe my eyes. This person is really rich. I am sure that this is not only his wealth. I can’t imagine what kind of life this person is living while I am suffering on a 9 to 5 job to live a life paycheck to paycheck. Why I can’t have money like that?

Oh, this person is also on the “VIP5” level. This person should be wealthy. And the numbers on the message are true. This “VIP5” must be expensive.

This person spent 84.050 USD already. I am convinced that my salary is petty cash for this person. I can’t think how much this person is worth.

Let me try if any of these buttons work. How can a person so wealthy notice few hundred USD is not there?

Oh, the USD Transfer did not work. What about USDT? Also, there is a “Withdraw” button. This way, I can get a few hundred USDT then.

Author’s Note: Once a boundary is crossed, there is no way to stop a human without a moral compass. Greed can cause any human to make serious mistakes.

What is this “USDT”? This is the first time I saw that. It must be some kind of money. I do not have a bank account for that. Where can I find it? Let me search on the internet.

This is what I have found.

This means that USDT is equal to USD but in the cryptocurrency world. I have heard that these cryptocurrencies are completely anonymous and no one can find me even if I get some money. This is awesome. Only I need to create a wallet and withdraw the USDT there and I am anonymous.

TPYMxDLDPJP9ue2SzdRB6TQyaZoXv8B9Bg” Here is my wallet address. Now I can withdraw some money.

Oh no! It is asking for a key that I don’t have.

Author’s Note: So far, our immoral victim has determined to have some money by stealing from someone he does not know. Read and see where this greed takes the person in the end.

Oh, here is a help menu. There I can find some clues, what can I do?

I can’t believe my eyes. Transferring that damn key is not needed. A VIP5 can transfer up to 200.000 USDT. That is more than my 2 years of salary.

What should I do for transferring? Let me check.

That is clear now. I need to open an account on this platform and then I can do whatever I want.

Author’s Note: The greed of the person has caused blinded eyes. In the help screen the example is given for the VIP5 level and a VIP5 customer only can transfer 200.000 USDT to another VIP5 customer. Let’s continue reading about where this situation will evolve.

If I need to create an account, then I will. I hope they will not require identity verification as it is mentioned in the internet search results.

I did great by creating a new mail account. This way nobody can find me in case they discover the lost tokens. Even I have typed the wrong phone number that can’t be linked to me. Now I have my keys that I can withdraw freely to my anonymous wallet and enjoy my life.

Here it is. My brand new account and I am completely anonymous. Now I can do whatever I wish freely.

Author’s Note: There is no complete anonymity on the Internet. Our every move, and every site visit are recorded unless special techniques are used. When the topic becomes money, you should always need to verify your identity. In case a site doesn’t require verification, also you can verify who they are.

I can’t wait to have some money now. Now I need to log in with the previous account and send myself some cryptocurrency.

Oh, no! I can’t get any money right now. I need to be a VIP to get some money. Let me check what I must do.

OK, now I need to pay some money to become a VIP. I have some savings for the bad times. I can be VIP3 very easily. Then by transferring the remaining amount I can easily reach VIP5 in 3 days and retire forever.

Author’s Note: We are leaving our victim with his/her thoughts alone. This is a never-ending spiral.

Be cautious of scams promising quick profits without substantial investments. Look out for these two major warning signs:

1. These systems prevent you from withdrawing funds that you have transferred. To attain VIP or Bonus levels, you must make additional payments using your own money. Despite the promise of easy money, you end up losing more in the process.

2. The total investment required is an exorbitant 84,050 USD. Although the claim of earning 200,000 USD in just one day may seem tempting, it’s unrealistic. No legitimate investment can yield roughly more than 200% return in a day.

Furthermore, this system only accepts deposits and doesn’t allow any withdrawals, including the initial funds you’ve added. Be wary and avoid falling for such schemes.

You can find all the details of many types of Cryptocurrency Scam Operations and Networks. How to detect, identify, and prevent to fall into these attractive schemes in the following book.

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