With the ever-growing adoption of today’s leading cryptocurrency, bitcoin (BTC), various exchange platforms and marketplaces have been the objects of attack for different types of financial scams and frauds. These illicit activities that trick people into providing personal details or money are also evolving.
Currently, potential victims are found mostly on the Internet, where scammers mask their real identities intending to deceive people using fake accounts and profiles. Among these is the bitcoin phishing scam, which directly targets bitcoin traders and investors.
Like all platforms that are in the business of buying and selling cryptocurrencies, Paxful users sometimes encounter different forms of fraud. On Paxful, we value our users and go to great lengths to ensure that trading safety is top on our list of priorities. To help you secure your Paxful account from these malicious scams, here’s a list tackling the most common forms of bitcoin phishing that you must be aware of.
The use of fake social media accounts
According to social media statistics released in 2019, there are roughly 3.2 billion social media users in the world, and this number is continuously growing. While this widespread and worldwide use of social media facilitates easy and instant communication for people, it also gives scammers a diverse range of ways to connect with billions of consumers and lure them into illicit activities.
Paxful has various social media accounts. Among those that you should be familiar with includes Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram. Aside from these, our platform has various communities where users and traders in different parts of the world are connected. You can find the Paxful community groups on Facebook (Paxful School), and Reddit.
For Telegram, here are currently our localized community channels:
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- HK and TW (Traditional Chinese)
Please note that these linked accounts are the only official social media pages and community groups of Paxful. Any new ones will be announced via our official pages.
Just recently, some of our users have received various phishing messages on their social media channels. Here are some examples from Twitter:
If you have received messages or replies like this, please always check if the account matches our official social media profiles. For messages that request details and information to a specific email address like in the example above, you should remember that the Paxful team’s email addresses always end with @paxful.com. Otherwise, a fraudster might be trying to scam you.
For community channels, the group moderators from Paxful identifies the profiles of Paxful community administrators and list them for the users’ reference should they need assistance related to trades. Note that anyone from Paxful does not send personal or direct messages to the members of any of our communities. Our moderators only answer queries inside the channel or via email.
Emails posing as Paxful Customer Support
Aside from the scams on social media platforms, fraudsters also use email to send deceptive messages to traders. Below are some examples of fraudulent emails received by some of our users:
In this email thread, a profile posing as “Paxful Technical Teams” informs a user that their account has been frozen and asks for a deposit amounting to 0.005 BTC for the “rectification” of their wallet address. Please be aware that Paxful does not ask for any payments or deposits for the resolution of account disputes.
Other cases commonly encountered by traders from someone claiming to be a Paxful moderator or employee include asking to trade off-escrow with a promise to get reimbursed. Always note that on Paxful, your trading safety is our top priority. We use the escrow system to keep the funds in a safety deposit account for both the buyer and the seller’s protection. Escrow protects the sellers from fraudulent buyers by requiring them to deposit the bitcoin upfront. It also protects the buyers from sellers who refuse to release the bitcoin after completing the payment. Paxful will never recommend trading off-escrow as it is strictly against our policies.
As previously discussed, all emails coming from the Paxful team always end with @paxful.com. Check the sender’s email address carefully. If it does not match, someone is likely trying to scam you. If you receive an email with similar messages, please contact us at [email protected] as soon as possible.
Profiles pretending to be Paxful moderators inside the trade
This type of phishing scam is tricky, and some users fall for this trap. There were cases where a fraudulent profile enters the in-trade chat claiming to be a moderator from Paxful and suggests procedures like clicking links and entering codes provided to “resolve” particular trading issues. See below for an example:
Some traders mistook these kinds of profiles as real Paxful moderators. However, there are visible indicators to know whether the user you are talking to inside the trade is a real Paxful moderator or not. Here are the few things to be mindful of:
- Speech bubble. Our Paxful moderators always use the blue speech bubble when sending in-trade messages.
- Orange PX profile picture. Our moderators only use display pictures with the letters P and X on an orange background.
- Moderator. You will see the word “Moderator” in grey text on top of the message, next to the orange display picture.
Your in-trade chat with a Paxful moderator should look like this:
If you think someone is trying to impersonate a Paxful moderator, please immediately send us a message on the live chat or email us at [email protected].
For more valuable information on detecting bitcoin phishing scams on Paxful and how to avoid them, here are other resources for you to check out:
- Bitcoin Seller Scam Defense Guide
- Bitcoin Scam Defense: How to Spot and Avoid Common Bitcoin Scams
- How to Detect Scams When Buying Bitcoin on Paxful
- How to Detect Scams When Selling Bitcoin on Paxful