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Methods for Identifying Fake Cryptocurrency Exchange Websites Used in Romance Scam


Abstract:These hybrid romance-investment scams, and variants on the theme, are becoming far more frequent these days, often with very large losses. BitChecker hopes this article saves at least one person from being scammed.

Table of Contents

1. WHOIS Search

2. Using Scam Adviser / Scam Detector

3. The Google Search Method

4. The Company Search Method

5. Typical Website Characteristics

6. Tips

1. WHOIS Search

A whois search (https://who.is) often reveals a website that was only recently created (within the last few months) – this characteristic is crucial. This is always contradictory to what the website says (usually started copyright several years ago).

The identity of the registrant is usually hidden (i.e. “REDACTED FOR PRIVACY”).

The host server is usually based in the USA (using services such as Amazon, AlibabaCloud, with the registrant country based in Asia (commonly Hong Kong).

Whether a website has HTTPS or not is not a reliable method of identifying the genuineness of a website.

The website expires in 1 year.

2. Using Scam Adviser/Scam Detector

This is not always a foolproof method but can help. Look for low trust scores (e.g. hidden registrant details, very young website, hosted in high risk country, poorly optimized for search engines, not trusted by Trend Micro).

3. The Google Search Method

This is by far the most effective and confirmatory method. Scammers are lazy in their website design. Many of these fake exchanges use the same phrases as one another in their text, with only logos and layouts being changed. For example, almost every scam exchange website uses the phrase “The world's leading digital asset trading platform”. In fact, if you Google search this using quotation marks, you’ll find countless scam websites.

Often the only difference in language used is the name of the website.

For example, on the scam website www.hillsu.com, the phrase “Powered by trading views with accurate Liquidity, Low Fees and Fast Execution.” shows up another similar website with the same text called https://www.grafiexchange.com. You can see that these two websites are very similar. Even the picture of the app looks exactly the same.

Another example: https://www.koinimcoin.com/, https://www.hjuae.com/, http://amexbt.com/index and https://www.walletput.com/ are essentially the same websites and can be found through common phrases such as “Deliver secure, trusted digital asset trading and asset management services to millions of users in more than 130 countries worldwide”.

The examples above will not last as scammers delete their old websites and package it slightly differently, but the concept remains the same.

4. The Company Search Method

Whatever country the exchange is purported to be from, if it is legitimate, it can be found in that country's company register.

USA: https://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html

HK: https://www.icris.cr.gov.hk/csci/

5. Typical Website Characteristics

Contact details are through dodgy email addresses (e.g. Gmail).

You cannot find the website’s cryptocurrency app on Google Play or the Apple Store.

Copyright on the website is not the same year as the date the website was registered on WHOIS.

Spelling mistakes such as “Andriod”.

The website is a clone (uses the same wording) of a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange (e.g. Binance, Huobi, Coinspot, Coinbase).

Customer service requires you to contact them through WhatsApp.

You cannot actually deposit fiat currency to the app but must do so via another exchange, and in almost all cases you are asked to deposit USDT.

The scammer may send you photoshopped/Microsoft Paint-edited screenshots of them depositing USDT into the exchange's wallet. Go on Etherscan and verify if this has actually occurred (and 100% it will have not).

6. Tips

  • Do not trust anything about crypto from Newsfile Corp. Scammers use this site to write fake articles to perpetrate their scam.
  • Conduct a reverse image search via https://image.baidu.com/ (scammers are often Chinese-based and will steal images from Chinese social media which often cannot be found through Western search engines like Google!).

Article Source: reddit.com

Images used in this article are all from the Internet for non-commercial use. If there’s any image involved in infringement, please let us know and we will remove it.

Investing in cryptocurrencies is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by BitChecker or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or whatever. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. BitChecker makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein.

Disclaimer: As a blockchain info platform, the info provided hereby does not represent any investment suggestions and hints, and this platform does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the articles.