Published by Franziska on

With the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies, the number of people who want to buy coins has also increased. Unfortunately, criminals take advantage of this and run fake exchanges. These fake exchanges lure users with supposedly attractive market prices, leading users to believe that they can get their hands on cheap cryptocurrencies quickly and easily.

Examples of fake exchanges are, for example, moneycraft.info, swapex.net, myexchanger.lv, iconvex.net, likechange.biz, and wowex.online.

The fake platforms are often elaborately programmed, sometimes even using 2-factor authentication. On the fake exchanges, false prices, charts, valuations and much more are then feigned. Victims report that it is even advertised that initial experience can be gained with small amounts. These fake exchanges take advantage of the increased public interest in cryptocurrency and the ignorance of crypto beginners. In the beginning, everything also runs successfully. At first, the new crypto investors are happy about the alleged increases in value. This makes investors more confident and let them quickly invest further money into the exchange. Interested users deposit money or cryptocurrencies to exchange them for cryptocurrencies or money. But then the tide turns, profits are not paid out, the deposited money is gone, price trends are faked and a price crash is suggested.

On the identity verification page, personal data, an ID photo and a confirmation selfie are requested. This personal data that the interested user reveals for the 2-factor authentication is also collected and resold by the operators.

Is it possible to recognize fake exchanges? Hardly, since the sites are elaborately built. It is recommended to only inform yourself via reputable trade magazines and to check current entries on Twitter and Reddit. It is also recommended not to leave the cryptocurrency on the exchanges but to transfer it to yourself.

How do you find a fake exchange? Mostly via

  • Search engine or its hits
  • Social media advertising
  • Personal messages from other people’s or your own (hacked) contacts
  • E-mails
  • Chain letters
  • Typo URLs (see Typosquatting below)
  • Lured by give-aways

Giveaways or gifts are often used to lure interested crypto investors to a fake exchange. Usually, gift coins are promised if you register for a small contribution.

A typical example involved Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin himself. He made his followers aware of a scam bot. This bot promised to send 3-7 Ether to anyone who sent him 0.3-0.7 Ether first. The scam bot had the same profile photo as Vitalik Buterin, only the name was slightly changed, and the account was not verified (blue checkmark).

Elaborately designed fake-websites with 2-factor authentication