Digital coins are the rave of the moment, and many African investors now bank on the opportunity to turn huge profits from relatively little investments coupled with perseverance and knowing the right time to trade them. But in the same vein, there is a growing number of online fraudsters looking to scam unsuspecting investors of their hard-earned coins.
First of all, cryptocurrencies unlike other forms of exchange cannot actually be stolen, but an online fraudster can trick a hapless user into exchanging digital coins for local fiat currency, but the payment never gets delivered. It is very important for crypto traders in Africa to be aware of the risks involved in digital coin trading and ways to adequately guard against fraud.
In Africa, many people trade on popular exchanges like NairaEX and ICE3X. However, trading on recognized platforms does not essentially eliminate the threat of someone claiming to be who they are not.
Lately, there have been reports from users about the proliferation of these online scams – Usually, a scammer introduces himself as a wealthy person in possession of a large portfolio of coins and will usually offer to sell some units to the victim at a ridiculously low price, or the other way around – Offering the user a lot of money after receipt of an agreed amount of coins. The victim might jump at the offer, sending an amount of money to the buyer, after which the person simply closes the trading account and absconds.
Tips to guard against online crypto fraudsters
By following the following simple tips, a user can easily identify loopholes in a scammer’s proposal and take necessary steps to avoid being a victim.
If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t
Ever heard this phrase? Obviously, it applies when dealing with online crypto buyers. The reality is, almost everyone investing in cryptocurrency is doing so to yield a profit. If you encounter a buyer that seems too desperate to part with his money, proceed with caution.
Perform a detailed background check on the seller
Although a hard-core online fraudster will go the extra mile to create a complete and genuine-looking profile on sites like NairaEx or ICE3X, there will often be limited timeline of activity on the person’s profile, because they would need to abscond quickly and close the account to avoid being reported. If you see a shabby trading profile, or one with very recent opening history, that could be a red flag – Avoid it.
Embrace Private Trading Networks
These networks could be a telegram, or WhatsApp social group with a limited number of traders and an administrator.It also gives access to WhatsApp phone numbers for private discussions. There are many of such networks in Africa – you needn’t look too far to find one.
The benefit of these private trading networks is that you are able to put a face to the name and further investigate identity. The first thing you should do is ask the buyer to join the private trading network. The advantage of doing this is that you could run a TrueCaller on the WhatsApp phone number to be sure you are dealing with who they say they are.
Payment before service
A no-brainer for all transactions. Actually, a buyer might insist on getting receipt of coins before making a payment, but you can easily tackle this by doing all your trading via legitimate exchange platforms that allows the money to be held in Escrow and released when the buyer has confirmed receipt of coins. In this way buyer-seller protection is guaranteed.