Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all the other Altcoins are gaining so much popularity and adoption in recent months and as we all know, as something becomes very popular and very valuable, it also attracts A LOT of scammers. Personally, I do have a very small investment in crypto, and despite the very small size of my investment, I’m not taking any chances in losing them.
I’m a newbie in the crypto trading and investing world and if there’s one thing that I always keep in mind to keep my small investment safe, it is to take all necessary precautions. I’m here to share with you guys some tips on how to keep your crypto safe.
Let’s start, shall we?
Photo by Nick Chong on Unsplash
Use Hardware Wallets/Cold Storage
One of the safest ways to store your cryptocurrencies, especially if you have a very big holding is to use a cold storage or hardware wallet such as Ledger or Trezor. Personally, since I don’t really have that much, I’m not using any hardware wallets yet but I’m planning to do so once my investment reaches a certain amount.
The downside that I can see in using a hardware wallet is that if you’ll be actively trading, then it might just be a hassle and it might incur multiple fees when you frequently transfer from and to your hardware wallet and crypto exchanges such as Binance, Crypto.com or Kucoin. The upside of course is that it provides another layer of security for your crypto.
This is definitely one of the best options to secure your crypto if you’re going to hold (hodl? LOL!) your crypto for the mid or long-term.
Use Wallet Apps (Hot Wallets)
Hot Wallets are not as secure as Hardware Wallets because basically you still connect to the internet to use your wallets. But, they can be relatively safe especially if you do your own due diligence.
Personally, I use MetaMask (Firefox Browser Extension) for my Pancake Swap transactions and Yoroi for keeping and staking ADA. I also use TERRA Station to keep and stake Luna.
Please be aware though that there are scammers who are mirroring legit websites to fool unsuspecting users so be sure to only download from the original website of the crypto that you’re holding.
Again, since I don’t have that much, I’m not that worried about using Wallet Apps. However, if you have something that you can’t afford to lose, I highly suggest that you consider a more secure option in keeping your crypto.
Use a Device that Stays Offline
I downloaded all the hot wallets that I use to my secondary phone (Nokia 2.4) which I bought brand new to ensure that it doesn’t have any malware etc. So basically, this will be the only use of this phone for me.
I opted to go for Nokia because after reading tons of reviews about various phones, it seems that only Nokia provides at least three years of updates and security patches even to their non-flagship phones. I honestly don’t know if they will live up to their promise but I’m really hoping that they do so.
I browse a lot on my main phone especially when I’m out thrifting (I usually self-authenticate before buying any designer label clothes in thrift stores). Sometimes, I end up on dodgy websites and I don’t want to risk having malware on my phone that I use for my crypto transactions. This is a temporary solution for me until I get my hands on hardware wallets (once I have a sizeable crypto investment of course).
Stay Cautious in Downloading Desktop/Mobile Apps
It has been reported that scammers are mirroring legit websites/apps so they could get your wallet’s seed phrases. Once they have your seed phrases, then they’ll have access to your wallets and your funds.
Before you download the desktop wallet or the wallet app from Android or IOS, be sure that you’re downloading the legit version and not the mirrored copy.
You can assure yourself that you are downloading the correct app if you go to the correct source/website first.
Do not also download from any Online Advertisement as there’s a possibility that they’re not legit websites/apps.
Top tip for crypto newbies ⚠️
Never click on Google ads when searching wallets/exchanges. There is a high likelihood that a phishing website is running ads. Here is a prime example for a #Monero wallet.
P.S. Save important websites as bookmarks ✅ pic.twitter.com/w0cFF1iXc3
— Coin Bureau (guy.eth)🕵🏻 (@coinbureau) March 26, 2021
Use Google Authenticator/Authentication App
The best way to keep your crypto exchange account secure is to use multiple layers of authentication. With Binance, all you need to use to log in is a password however, if you’re going to make any deposit or withdrawal, it will ask for your Email Code, OTP, and Google Authentication Code (optional).
By activating this option, you provide your account with an extra layer of security.
Do Not Share Your Seed Phrase with Anyone
Seed phrases are basically a number of words that should only be available to you. This is usually generated when you create a hot wallet account. Do not share this with anyone! And keep this secured. Write this on a piece of paper and keep this somewhere safe in your room/house.
Even if you lose access to your hot wallet like for example, if you lose your phone, you can still gain access to your crypto by just downloading the wallet to another device and inputting your seed phrase.
Also, be aware that scammers are getting more and more creative as days go by in extracting the seed phrases from their owners as I have mentioned above.
An example of this is the recent issue with Pancake Swap users wherein they were targeted by scammer/hackers who hijacked their DNS servers which led the unsuspecting users to a page that asked for their wallets’ seed phrases. Fortunately, Pancake Swap caught this right away and sent warnings immediately to their users.
Just always remember that Crypto Exchanges, DEXES, Wallets, etc will never ask for your seed phrases.
Beware of Email Phishers and Other Phishing Tactics
Do not give your email access to anyone even if they’re posing as ‘authorities’ or ‘customer services people’ or whoever. legit companies will never ask for your email password/OTPs and wallet’s seed phrases.
Keep Your Devices Clean and Free from Malware
Ensure that your mobile phones and laptops that you use for your crypto trading and investing activities are free from viruses and malware. You can start by not browsing dodgy websites and also by installing anti-virus and anti-malware apps such as AVG, Norton, etc.
Be Very Careful in Using Social Media
Sometimes, when we can’t resolve something, we turn to social media in contacting the relevant party that we need to resolve our issues with. Unfortunately, scammers have taken advantage of this too by creating ‘fake’ social media accounts posing as the customer service team of particular crypto-related services/products such as Wallets.
Sadly, some people especially newbies fell for this and often get scammed by these unscrupulous individuals.
To be honest, they’re very easy to spot once you take notice of them and once you become aware that this kind of scam exists.
Aside from impersonating customer service teams, be also aware that they are also impersonating known crypto personalities such as Youtubers, Traders, Crypto Personalities on Twitter, etc.
Personally, I have received two messages from scammers last March 2021. One was from someone impersonating the CEO of a Crypto and one is impersonating a popular Crypto Youtuber. Both of them asked me if I’m interested to grow my crypto investment and they also asked me what kind of crypto I am holding.
I really thought that I was talking to the real person (the ones that they were impersonating). Luckily, I didn’t have any money to invest during that time and I politely declined their offers.
These accounts usually retweet the original tweets of the people they were impersonating. After I saw the original account, then I realized how closed I was to getting scammed.
Here’s another example:
Guys. Please help reporting @coinbuereau . They just scammed a follower 👇🏼 https://t.co/CfYZaqQGvU
— Coin Bureau (guy.eth)🕵🏻 (@coinbureau) April 10, 2021
Rug Pulls, Pump and Dump, Etc
When choosing crypto, always Do Your Own Research (DYOR) and be very careful in investing in crypto projects that might be dodgy. Some of the things that I do to minimize the risk of buying crypto that might be a possible rug pull/scam include but are not limited to:
- Check the team behind the crypto project
- See if they have been audited
- Research their partnerships with other crypto projects or other companies
- Check the Twitter accounts of those who are hyping up the token
- Visit their own website and their social media accounts
- Read online review
- Check if there’s any forum or Reddit groups that talk about them
I know that this can be quite hard if the coin is fairly new, but you can still gauge the legitimacy of the project by researching some information about its founders/team members.
There might be more scams in the future that might be more elaborate and more stealthy than the ones that I have described above and the best way to dodge the bullet is by keeping ourselves informed of their existence.
I suggest that you follow the Twitter handle of crypto vloggers such as @CoinBureau and the Twitter Accounts of the cryptos that you’re holding and as well as the Twitter accounts of the exchanges, wallets, DEXES, etc that you’re using.
By following their Twitter accounts, you’ll get the latest updates about their services and also you’ll get notified in case there are any security issues that you need to be aware of. Just be sure to follow the LEGIT accounts!
And again, please always DYOR!How to Keep Your Crypto Safe Click To Tweet
David @ Filled With Money says
It’s so important to keep cryptocurrency secure. You also don’t want to end up like that one guy who has a 9 figure bitcoin portfolio but he can’t access it because he lost the password.
I’m so glad I only transferred a dollar of crypto to a wallet. I have no idea what the password for it is now, haha.
Thrifty Hustler says
Hahaha. I read about similar stories on Twitter. I usually write my passwords in a notebook.