Many people associate the world of Bitcoin and digital currency with a part of the world wide web where outlaws are running rampant. Nothing could be further from the truth, though, as Bitcoin is far from a safe haven for internet criminals. However, there have been certain scams in the past that cost people a lot of money. But if people use common sense, and take the time to do some research, they will have nothing to worry about.
How Bitcoin Users Can Protect Themselves
Whenever money is involved, people seem to stop using common sense for some unknown reason, especially if there is a monetary gain to be made. Bitcoin is no exception in this regard, although users would do well take the necessary steps to protect their funds when dealing with others on the Internet. A mistake can turn out to be quite costly, as there is no refund option for a Bitcoin payment.
One of the first precautions to take is making sure one’s computer is properly secured at all times. This means every Bitcoin user would do well to install an antivirus on their computer, as well as a firewall and optionally a tool that can detect spyware, adware, and malware. In this day and age, hackers are looking to breach computers any way they possibly can, and devices with a Bitcoin wallet installed can be a high-value target.
Whenever somebody sends you a link you don’t trust, simply do not click it. Dodgy Internet links are the most common method of getting a computer infected with malware, and it is the sole responsibility of the end user if this were to be the case. Dealing with personal finances means taking the full responsibility for any and all actions, even if that means losing money.
Never trust something people tell you unless it is coming from official sources. Novice users might be tricked into thinking their Bitcoin wallet has been locked, and they might be sent a link to verify their identity to restore access. Bitcoin wallets can never be locked or closed, although online wallet services are a different matter. However, no one will ever ask a registered user to click a link directly from an email to complete a particular procedure.
When looking to buy or sell something in exchange for Bitcoin, there are several things to take into consideration. First of all, always make use of a reputable escrow service provider when dealing with physical and digital goods. Finding such an escrow provider is not an easy task, but once glance on the BitcoinTalk forums might give people an indication as to who they want to look for.
Secondly, if the user is dealing with another person looking to buy their bitcoins, Paypal should never be an accepted payment method. There are very high fraud rates associated with PayPal transfers, and the Bitcoin seller is not protected by the company’s terms of service. Any sale of digital goods and products through PayPal is not subject to any form of protection, and Bitcoin is no different in that regard.
Don’t Just Deal With Anybody
The most obvious advice anyone can give Bitcoin users is to trust their gut feeling. Keeping in mind how Bitcoin is a different form of paying people for goods and services, a gut feeling can go a long way. Some people will give off a “negative vibe”, and when this is the case, simply do not go through with the deal, no matter how lucrative it might be.
Reputation goes a long way on the Internet and it’s even more important when it comes to buying and selling with Bitcoin. It is not always possible to judge somebody’s reputation on sight, which is why [novice] Bitcoin users need to do some thorough research before conducting a deal with another party.
Last but not least, there is the good old saying of ‘if it looks too good to be true, it usually is”. This statement holds a lot of value in the world of digital currency, as people do not always grasp the full consequences of their actions. Any deal, offer, or agreement that looks even remotely too good, should be avoided at all costs. Granted, this may delay the purchase or sale of an item or service, but it also reduces the chances of one getting scammed.
What are your tips for not getting scammed in the Bitcoin world? Let us know in the comments below!
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