In today’s Exponential Investor…
- Beware of… me
- Always remain vigilant
- Don’t be afraid
Last Friday I was driving my wife and son to a specialist appointment at the hospital. It was nothing serious, just to see a dermatologist in case you were worrying.
On the way, my wife was scrolling through her Instagram feed.
Then she remarked,
“I can’t believe you’re only just following my page!”
I asked whatever did she mean, I’ve been following her page for years, since she first set it up.
She then told me that according to her Instagram, I’d only started following her eight hours ago.
I knew this wasn’t possible because I hadn’t been on my Instagram page for days.
Another Sam Volkering
Immediately I suspected that a scam/imposter account had been set up in my name. I asked her what the handle was, she said “Sam Volkering”. I asked, “No, specifically what’s the handle?”
I was driving so couldn’t just look for myself.
She said it was @sam_volkering.
And I knew then this was a fake scam account. My Instagram handle is the same as my Twitter one, @samvolkering.
The key differentiator the scam account used was the underscore in the name to make it different to my actual one.
At first my wife didn’t quite believe it was a scam account. The bio and the pictures were all exactly the same as you would see on my real page. Except when she looked closer, she noted that all the pictures had only been added within the last few hours.
That means that someone has copied my entire page, as well as every photo I’d uploaded, and then reuploaded them on to the scam account.
It is all very slick and very convincing. In fact, it was so convincing that I noticed a family member was even following this scam account!
I immediately had my wife report it. And when I stopped the car and jumped online myself, I found the page and reported it.
At the time of writing this account still hasn’t been shut down or removed. It’s good to see big tech really doing their job about scammers and fraudsters.
Ironically, they are the first ones to shut down and restrict accounts that post information about crypto, but when there’s a real scammer out there, they move about as fast as a snail caught in concrete on a hot summer’s day.
This whole thing is also a timely reminder that in all facets of life you need to be vigilant and careful about your online existence. And that’s why today I’m (again) going to point out some warnings around scams currently doing the rounds.
One simple rule to avoid getting scammed
When it comes to crypto, on the balance of things it’s actually very secure and you can happily go about your business carefree…
… unless you get suckered in to the blatant but very slick scam operations out there.
And due to the nature of people still being new to this space, it’s not always easy to know what’s legit and what’s trying to rip you off.
As a public service, if you’re ever unsure about something in crypto, just wait, write to us here and ask me – nothing is that important that it can’t wait for an experienced and sensible view on things.
I can help because I have seen pretty much all of it. And I know that if you stick by a fundamental set of rules in crypto, you can easily and happily go about things without a worry in the world.
Also, as a refresher, I suggest you read some of our previous pieces on scams in crypto to jog your memory about what to look out for. You can find one of those here.
As for some of the new ones getting around, well the good old imposter account is certainly an oldie but a goodie.
The key thing when it comes to imposter accounts or any scammer, is that you never ever send any crypto when asked and never ever give away any passwords, seed phrases, private keys, nothing that would give someone access to any of your accounts or wallets.
Legitimate accounts (like my actual one @samvolkering) will also never, ever, ever, ever ask you for anything. We’ll never ask you to send crypto to us. We’ll never ask you for a password, seed phrase or pin code.
The second that you’re asked for something like that, you can be assured someone is trying to scam you.
Furthermore, when it comes to anything like this if you’re also unsure, you can find legitimate alternative forms of contact to verify the person you’re in contact with.
Like me for example, you can write to or call Southbank Investment Research to ask if the account you’re in contact with is actually me or not. If there’s no viable alternative to verify who you’re in contact with, then avoid them at all costs.
And even if you’re sent through a very complex maze that provides an alternative verification process, you still don’t send anything or give away any information – just refer back to the first point: we’ll never, ever, ever, ever ask for that information in social media.
The Discord imposter
Imposter accounts are also very rife in Discord at the moment.
So, what is Discord you might ask?
Discord is a popular communications platform that many crypto projects now use to communicate with their communities. These are typically only open to verified users. However, that doesn’t mean they’re completely safe.
We’re seeing more and more imposter accounts infiltrate Discord pretending to be moderators or team members from projects. This then leads people into a false sense of security and opens them up for scamming.
Again, the easy way to circumvent any imposter accounts on social media or in a platform like Discord is just to abide by the same principles as set out above.
Never, ever, ever, ever give out your passwords, seed phrases, pin codes or private keys to anyone. There is absolutely no way that anyone of any credibility would ever ask for any of that.
If you stick by that one simple principle, you’ll go a long way to avoid being scammed.
Finally, I do recommend you read the previous scam essay I wrote, linked to above and here again. I still get emails from people that have signed up to some too-good-to-be true crypto investing platform that requires you to fund the account and then more and then more, delivering gains that are impossible in the crypto market. The scammers then shut off communication and run away with your funds.
I cover this in the article linked to, but it’s also a reminder that the only and best way to invest in crypto is by doing it yourself. Get the right information, understand how the scammers work and what scams look like. That way, your crypto journey will be much better more fun and, almost certainly, safer.
Until next time…
Editor, Exponential Investor