The growth of crypto market has been phenomenal in the post pandemic era. Even the people who exhibit patience and discipline of the highest order, felt the FOMO for real. In one of his interviews, Nikhil Kamath (Founder, Zerodha), went on record to mention that if he could change one thing by going back in time, it would be NOT purchasing Bitcoin. But with exuberance, we also see some low lives entering into the market. The scammers and fraudsters are a part of any booming ecosystem. And crypto markets are specifically notorious for that. So today, I wanted to share my experience with one such pathetic individual. Here’s how I identified a Bitpay crypto scam and got out of it safely. I would share a few tipping points that screamed of a scam all along the conversation. Let’s get started.
I was minding my own business and grappling with my office work when a notification caught my attention. It was one of those pretty notifications where Instagram asks you if you want to receive a message from an unknown person. I have had some brand deals in the past via this route so I usually get super excited when this happens. I left my work and instantly opened this notification. It was a message from a lady with Instagram ID as debby_m07. It was a very decent “Hey Dear” to open the conversation.
So, I immediately decided to reply. Acting “hard to get”? Not my thing! So she starts off with a very normal conversation. Asks me where I am from. Slowly she slides into the topic of cryptos. Then she goes on to ask me if I am crypto oriented. I ask myself who even uses that term, anymore. It’s not like a sexual preference. But with no further judgement, I reply with a ‘yes‘.
After my “Yes”, there is complete silence for next 90 minutes. Acting “Hard to get”? Well, she knows it! After that drops in a question asking if I am into mining or trading. She also mentions that she is into both, but prefers more of mining. In continuation, she mentions the following:
“It’s a new generation of mining, which doesn’t require you surging huge amount of electricity“
I ask her if the consensus mechanism is based on ‘Proof of Work‘ or ‘Proof of Stake’ or something else!
The term “new generation” was kind of odd for me. Cryptocurrency is about 10 years old. What’s this next GENERATION thing? Also, she choses not to respond to my question and go on.
“This is popularly known as Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency mining and it allows you to make Profit with every investment you make to your Mining wallet which will mine to a stipulated period of time (A complete mining cycle) so as to generate your ROI.“
“We work with advanced security protocol requiring just an email address to get registered, afterwards you would be delivered a private mining wallet from Bitpay. You would have to verify and secure this wallet first, Before proceeding.”
This is popularly known as Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency mining? Seriously? I wonder what the non-popular term for Bitcoin mining would be!
Delivering a private mining wallet? It’s not a physical thing. And for the uninitiated, anyone can open account on Bitpay, you don’t have to get it ‘delivered’
The Build Up:
What did I do next? Obviously, I played along. She now asks me if I want to do a minimum investment and withdraw my profits from it, directly into my wallet.
“Our platform will efficiently manage a profitable mining profile for you which allows you to Mine directly with your Wallet without sending money to anyone nor to me.
This option allows your investment to stay with you. We mine all type of Cryptocurrency using my hardware that was issued and licensed to me by the authorities.”
What platform? You don’t own Bitpay woman!
I got bored real soon. Therefore, I quickly wanted to jump into the modus operandi. So I go on and ask her about the initial investment. To my surprise, I am presented with a couple of options. “Short term or long term”, she asks? When I chose the long term option she quoted a price of $500.
And my wallet was ready to be imported. Quick service right?
That woman now asks me to share the screenshots at each step of transaction because she doesn’t want me to make any mistake. How considerate!
I am asked to install Bitpay and click on import button. I am asked to put the following 12 word phrase there:
“banner angle danger vibrant chronic energy west undo foam season gym good”
For the uninitiated, most of the crypto wallets like Bitpay, Metamask, Trust wallet are secured using a 12 word unique phrase called seed phrase. You see, in a decentralized world, there’s no central authority that will help you recover your lost password. Therefore, this 12 word phrase is used to recover/import your wallet to another device.
What she was trying to do is import her empty wallet in my phone and then asking me to load it with $500 worth of BTC.
I import the wallet. Just to have fun, I tell her that can we also do this in Metamask wallet? Because I already have it setup and $500 are already loaded in it. Why won’t she agree. I propose to tell her the 12 word seed phrase.
“screw lowlife debby ruin her scam rot in hell dumb potato“
And that was it. Her cover was blown. The adrenaline rush she might be having while she dreamt of $500, was crushed.
What happened next? Find it for yourself (Screenshot).
If you are dealing in cryptocurrencies, these scams are nothing new. You would always find people who are trying to siphon off money from the ones who are looking to make a quick buck. The only way to save oneself is to question your every move. If you are getting insanely high returns with very little risk, start by doubting yourself. As they say, when it comes to investing, boring is often the best strategy.
The next day I came across this gentlemen with a similar scheme. However, this time I wasn’t free. Therefore, I tried to settle it rather calmly.
Have you ever been duped online?
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Until next time..
Psst.. Struggling to save money?
I just managed to save Rs. 10,000 by investing my ‘Chillar (Change)’ in mutual funds. Investing amounts like Rs. 5, 8, 25, 45.. and 4 months later, Boom! I have 10 grand to spare. Interested in knowing how I did it? Read more here.
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