Personally identifiable information, or PII, is the end goal for every cybercriminal because it can grant them access to personal or company information. Cybercriminals will try to lure their victims into an error-prone mindset to make accessing PII easier. An error-prone mindset is one where our rational and skeptical thinking take a back seat to strong emotions that get triggered in us. And when we’re considering strong emotions, greed is near the top of the list, which makes cryptocurrency schemes particularly appealing to bad actors.
For context, a cryptocurrency is a digital currency that only exists electronically. Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, but there are several others, like Ethereum and Dogecoin, with new currencies emerging. Typically, crypto investors use their phone or computer or a cryptocurrency ATM to purchase cryptocurrency. The attraction to crypto is that it’s fast and anonymous, and users can get around bank fees – not to mention many get into crypto hoping their investment will increase. Your cryptocurrency is stored in your digital wallet online, on your computer, or on an external hard drive. The US government does not back crypto.
The cryptocurrency boom of recent years is the perfect means for those seeking high-risk, high-return trading. And the intense rollercoaster that makes crypto so much fun to trade also creates fertile ground for bad actors to launch their schemes on emotionally vulnerable investors. Scammers are skilled at knowing just how to play on investor emotions to capture their PII and exploit it. In turn, this leaves investors with breached systems and empty wallets.
Here’s a common crypto scam. A scammer will impersonate a representative from a well-known crypto exchange or crypto wallet. They’ll send you a text or a spoofed email with misleading contact details. What makes this scam so nasty is that it plays on the high-stakes environment of a bull run. The seemingly-legitimate email or text message takes advantage of the investor’s emotions to make a quick decision of making money or losing it. Cybercriminals try to provoke these strong emotional reactions, creating the error-prone mindset. The error-prone mindset tricks victims into clicking a phishy link or entering login credentials in a fake webpage when they wouldn’t if they weren’t being emotionally triggered.
Here are some tips to keep you from falling prey to a cryptocurrency scam:
If you have fallen victim to a crypto scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
Likewise, if you or anyone you know participates in cryptocurrency investment opportunities, always strive to stay out of the error-prone mindset. Think before you act. Having your investment emptied by a thief is a harsh lesson to learn. But you don’t need to learn the hard way. For more help keeping your PII and other data safe, consider getting assistance from Athreon, a professional cyber security training company. To protect yourself, Athreon is one of the best cyber security training companies you can hire. Contact Athreon for a complimentary cyber security consultation.