Scams have always been a part of life. However, the online world has given rise to an increasing number of scams which are becoming hard to identify, making it easy to fall victim to them. Module 8 of C1b3rWall Academy 2021/2022, “Online scams. Means of payment” presents several cases, including cryptocurrency scams by Alberto Muñoz, Professor at the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics and Vice-Dean of Students at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (National University for Remote Education).

The aim of his lecture is to teach students how to detect a cryptocurrency scam and not to fall for it. Alberto explains that, in 2019 most of the cryptocurrency movements made by illicit entities were related to scams. This represents 2% (about 20 billion) of the total cryptocurrency movement that year. The first thing to clarify is that cryptocurrencies are not a scam, but there are scammers who take advantage of the term.

Types of cryptocurrency scams

All crypto-related scams tend to share some characteristics:

  1. They promise consistent and secure turnover.
  2. They have a very aggressive referral/affiliate system.
  3. They use vague language but full of sophisticated terms.
  4. The project’s whitepaper contains vague, confusing or copy-pasted information. Team members do not exist (image banks).
  5. The cryptocurrency is only traded on a poorly known exchange.

Some real cases

Internationally, some of the most famous cryptocurrency scams have been Plus Token, Bitconnect, BitClub or OneCoin. In Spain, Arbistar, Kuailian and Mind Capital were the most known.

What to do if you have been scammed?

Alberto also explains what to do if you find yourself in this situation. If you nevertheless fall into the nets of cybercriminals, what should you do?

  1. Collect all possible evidence (transaction logs, emails, whatsapps, websites, etc.)
  2. File a complaint to the National Police (Technological Investigation Brigade of the Technological Investigation Unit ITU) or the Civil Guard (Telematic Crimes Group – GDT).
  3. Report it to the Comisión Nacional de Mercado de Valores (whistleblowing channel): 900 373 362 / comunicaciondeinfracciones@cnmv.es
  4. Inform your bank and Exchange of what happened.

You can learn more about this in an article on News365. I also invite you to watch the complete presentation here.

Posted by Juan M. Corchado

Juan Manuel Corchado (15 de Mayo de 1971, Salamanca, España) Catedrático en la Universidad de Salamanca. Ha sido Vicerrector de Investigación desde el 2013 hasta el 2017 y Director del Parque Científico de la Universidad de Salamanca. Elegido dos veces como Decano de la Facultad de Ciencias, es Doctor en Ciencias de la Computación por la Universidad de Salamanca y, además, es Doctor en Inteligencia Artificial por la University of the West of Scotland. Dirige el Grupo de Investigación Reconocido BISITE (Bioinformática, Sistemas Inteligentes y Tecnología Educativa), creado en el año 2000. Director del IOT Digital Innovation Hub y presidente del AIR Institute, J. M. Corchado también es Profesor Visitante en el Instituto Tecnológico de Osaka desde enero de 2015, Profesor visitante en la Universiti Malaysia Kelantan y Miembro del Advisory Group on Online Terrorist Propaganda of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (EUROPOL). J. M. Corchado ha sido presidente de la asociación IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics, y coordinador académico del Instituto Universitario de Investigación en Arte y Tecnología de la Animación de la Universidad de Salamanca e investigador en las Universidades de Paisley (UK), Vigo (Spain) y en el Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK). En la actualidad compagina toda su actividad con la dirección de los programas de Máster en Seguridad, Animación Digital, Telefonía Movil, Dirección de Sistemas de Información, Internet de las Cosas, Social Media, Diseño e Impresión 3D, Blockchain, Z System, Industria 4.0, Gestión de Proyectos Ágiles y Smart Cities & Intelligent Buildings​, en la Universidad de Salamanca y su trabajo como editor jefe de las revistas ADCAIJ (Advances in Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence Journal), OJCST (Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology) o Electronics MDPI (Computer Science & Engineering section). J. M. Corchado desarrolla principalmente trabajos en proyectos relacionados con Inteligencia Artificial, Machine Learning, Blockchain, IoT, Fog Computing, Edge Computing, Smart Cities, Smart Grids y Análisis de sentimiento.

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