What is UPLibra? Is it a scam

How fraudsters steal their coins from Bitcoin users

There are dozens of ways to lose your bitcoins and other cryptocoins to scammers. We introduce three of the most common traps and describe how to protect yourself from them. Because some losses are simply not necessary.

Bitcoins are digital gold. Most of the people who buy them do so in order to get their share of the new store of value, with the certainty or only at the risk that Bitcoin will one day be THE token for electronic representation of value. Bitcoin is something like a ticket for the train into the future, and whoever has it will be there when the financial system is decentralized.

It's easy to buy bitcoins - but it's no longer so easy to keep. Because there are so many ways to lose bitcoins that it is hard to list them. We explain three of the most popular scams that frivolous users can use to lose their coins. With almost all of them, the user is willing to fall into the trap himself - by being too greedy and hoping to multiply his bitcoins easily and free of charge.

1. The imitation of well-known people or institutions

This type of scam has been on the move massively since 2017 or 2018. The scheme is always the same: the fraudsters pretend to be someone else, for example someone who is reasonably famous in the crypto space, or a well-known institution such as Bitcoin.de or BitPay, and try to use the advantage of trust that they receive as a result, to pull their coins out of their pockets to unsuspecting crypto users.

The classic is the Twitter imitation: Under the tweets of famous Twitter personalities - that can be someone like Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, but also companies like Binance, semi-crypto celebrities like WhalePanda or real tech celebrities like Elon Musk or John McAfee - the scammer with an account with the same name and photo as the celebrity posts an offer to give away Bitcoins or Ether. To participate you have to send a small sum to a certain address. This scam is known as a "giveaway" cam.

The fraudsters mostly work through bot networks that continuously create such account imitations; often there are also teams of bot accounts. So you often find someone cheering under the offer of the fraudster, "OMG, it works, I just got 2 ETH!". Bitcoin.com reports that some of the scammers even set up fake block explorers to create the appearance that the winnings are actually being paid out.

On Twitter, these scams have been epidemic at times. According to a report in August 2018, there were already more than 15,000 bots at the time. How many bitcoins and ethers were lost is not entirely clear, but guesswork is in coins worth a few millions. It is also known that these scams also target Ripple (XRP) and have already pulled several million ripple there.

This type of scam is now happening on all social media. On Facebook, Telegram, Whatsapp, Slack and more. Users whose profile shows that they are doing something with crypto like to receive dozens of friend requests there, which are followed by promising but fraudulent offers after acceptance. Sometimes people are invited to invest in a fake ICO or linked to fake websites that intercept passwords and usernames. You can report such messages, but in the end the social networks can no longer keep up with the ban, deletion and blocking. After the Facebook page of Bitcoin.de was in constant fire of such scammers, and all reporting, blocking, hiding and blacklists hadn't helped, the marketplace went over to publishing a warning with every Facebook post.

The same thing happens with email. BitPay and Coinbase report on their blog that people pretend to be their support staff, that there are fake job postings, fake support phone numbers are circulated, that even a Coinbase Telegram group with more than 7000 members is active operated by scammers and filled by bots. They bring out new "giveaway" cams almost every day, allegedly directly from Coinbase.

Lucky for me, I was selected through Facebook to take part in a Libra airdrop. Is clear.

How can you avoid losing money from such imitations? In principle, you should assume that it is fraud when a prominent Bitcoiner or a well-known company raffles or gives away Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. Sometimes exchanges really do this. Then you should check it on the website.

If the condition of participating in such a giveaway is that you first send a small amount of Bitcoin or Ether to a certain address, it is 100 percent fraud. Don't take part. No way.

You should generally not invest in ICOs either, unless you have carefully checked the product beforehand and consider it promising. The more intrusive these ICOs are advertised, the more suspicious you should be. The ICO organizers often post prominent crypto personal data as alleged "advisers" on their website. This exudes trust, but is often untrue. For example, Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin was at times advised on dozens of ICOs with which he had nothing to do.

Finally, you should only open links in e-mails or other messages if you are absolutely sure about the sender. If a service that you use sends you an email with a link, and it does not do so as part of a typical process - such as logging in or making a withdrawal - it is a cause for caution. Check the sender, look at the link carefully, open it on another system, if you absolutely have to. I ignore a bunch of emails that come in to my accounts almost every day making promises to me. Spam is epidemic on the Internet anyway. With Bitcoin and crypto, however, it becomes even more lucrative for the broadcasters.

There are also tools that help against giveaway scams, such as the PhisFort browser plug-in. This gives an alarm if a suspicious address appears. However, this is not completely reliable because the blacklists that the plugin uses cannot always keep up with the new scams.

2. Phishing

A phishing attack consists of the hacker luring you to the wrong page. This can be done by several methods. On the one hand, as mentioned, he tries to send you the links to these pages through social media and maybe also e-mails. It can also happen that such links are posted in forums. Often the links are then not in plain text, but in bold font. If you click on it, you can go anywhere. For example here: Please read once on Bitcoinblog.de. Therefore, one should also check forums to see what kind of links are involved. Usually the plain text is at the bottom of the browser, you may have to switch it on in the options.

The point of the exercise is usually to direct you to a website that is up to something bad. It can try to inject you with malware (which usually requires more clicks from you), or it can fool you into an exchange where you then enter your username, password and email. The hacker can use it to log into your accounts, or he can sell the data on the black market. Such links are often sent by email, with a sender who pretends to be an exchange. Some very creative scammers have posed as UK financial regulators and sent an email promoting Bitcoin and crypto and promising a guaranteed profit. This email probably also contained a link to a phishing page that was collecting data. Another time, such emails were sent on behalf of the US regulatory agency, the CFTC.

A particularly nasty form is to throw you manipulated software. There are about so many fake websites from myetherwallet that if you make a typo in the domain you are almost guaranteed to land on you, but also fake apps for Trezor and other wallets that sometimes make it into the app stores. If you download these wallets and enter your keys or passwords there or receive coins with them, the hackers can steal them. The API of CryptoScamDB lists more than 7,000 such domains and places them on a blacklist. According to an overview of the most popular ETH scams a year ago, false sites caused damage of 7.5 million dollars, while fake ICOs came to 4.5 million dollars. "And that only includes what we can trace back."

The hackers at Electrum are particularly perfidious. Electrum is a popular wallet for PC and smartphone that is available for Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies. A weakness in an old Electrum version allowed servers to send update messages to users. Many users have received the message that a transaction has failed because there was a security error. The user should update. Anyone who then followed the link in the message received a manipulated version of Electrum, which then steals the coins. This scam was so successful that users lost more than $ 7 million worth of bitcoins.

How do you avoid that? You have to be extremely careful with URLs. As soon as there is no green tag next to the URL, under no circumstances should you download anything, and even if you do, you should double-check the URL before downloading any wallet software or logging in. The whitelist of domains from CryptoScamDB can also help. You can call up wallet apps in the AppStore, but you should check carefully who the publisher is, whether there are several of them - then one would probably be fraud - and whether the customer reviews, for example, provide a realistic picture. It is always better to call up the app with the link on the publisher's page - of course only after you have made sure that you are on the right page.

3. Shitcoins

I don't particularly like the term "shitcoin", especially when it is used to disqualify all coins besides Bitcoin. Many altcoins, such as Ethereum, Monero, Dash, Bitcoin Cash or Bitcoin SV, do something interesting that rightly gives them value. The value of ALL altcoins compared to Bitcoin has declined over the last six months - but anyone who invested in a good altcoin in mid-2016 or early 2017, for example, still has values ​​many times their original Bitcoin investment. Altcoins should not be condemned across the board.

But: According to Coinmarketcap, there are currently 2658 cryptocurrencies, including 1450 tokens. Really interesting are just a dozen or two of them. If any. The absolute majority have neither users nor an interesting technology, but are only brought onto the market in order to advertise them on exchanges and to make a mess. A fateful dynamic unfolds that is often enough reminiscent of pyramid schemes: An army of shills and cheers is promoting the coin on social media as the new Bitcoin, the technical breakthrough or whatever. Some investors buy in, the price rises, even more investors buy in in the hope that the price will continue to rise. These investors now have financial incentives to promote "their altcoin" to others. Because the more you buy it, the greater the value of the coins you hoard yourself.

There is a tendency to prevent losses by wiping off all coins outside of Bitcoin as Shitcoin. With that you are of course on the safe side; if you do not invest in altcoins, you will not sink any money in shitcoins. But I don't find that entirely satisfactory. There are some legitimate altcoins out there, and many of them bring valuable innovation. Those who reject altcoins across the board are missing out on something - both something that is technically interesting and good investment opportunities.

How do you protect yourself from losses? That is not possible one hundred percent. You should always be aware that Bitcoin is a risky investment and Altcoins is an even riskier one. Altcoins in particular that have not been around for a long time and / or are in the depths of the Coinmarketcap ranking are usually a pure game of chance. The only thing that helps here is to find out exactly who is behind the coin, what projects are around it, does it have an open source community, what innovation is it waiting for, does this innovation make sense, does it have a market potential? Questions like that HAVE to be asked, always. If you have done this AND are aware that you are taking a great risk, there is nothing to be said for investing in altcoins.