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Scam Prevention Tips

Let’s be honest, scammers are constantly looking for ways to steal your money and cryptocurrency. With the recent rise in cryptocurrency investing, opportunities for online fraud and theft have increased as well. Surveys show that crypto scammers stole a total of $14 billion in 2021, almost doubling the amount stolen from the year before. Experts predict these statistics will only worsen moving forward unless users take active steps to protect their information and accounts online. Coin IRA is fully committed to safeguarding the security and privacy not only of our account holders but of cryptocurrency investors everywhere. We believe raising awareness of the common scams is the best defense against fraudsters and hackers. The following information outlines some of the top scams to watch out for and tips to avoid falling victim to these scams.

Fabricated Websites and Apps of Legitimate Companies

Fraudsters have been known to duplicate legitimate websites or applications to trick innocent investors into using their platforms. Fortunately, there are some simple signs that can help point out a fake website or app. For instance, fake cryptocurrency trading websites and downloadable apps might use a URL that closely resembles the legitimate one. This makes it easier for innocent users to mistake the fake website or app for the real one. Keep an eye out for inconsistencies such as misspellings in the website’s domain name and for spelling or grammatical errors on the site. Taking a minute to verify the URL for accuracy could prevent you from becoming the victim of a scam. And finally, when in doubt, use the domain lookup tool, https://whois.domaintools.com/. Always pay attention to the address bar, and be extra cautious about entering your personal information into a site beginning with http instead of https.  The “s” indicates that the website uses a security protocol that protects your data while it is in transit between your computer and the website you are visiting.  And make sure the contact information on any site asking you to send money or cryptocurrency is reliable. Be especially suspicious of apps that are not downloaded from the Apple or Google Play stores but instead are downloadable links sent to you via social media apps such as LinkedIn and Facebook.  Scammers may target you using something you have in common as an icebreaker, and eventually befriend you, building your trust and then drawing you in with promises of huge returns.  If it sounds too good to be true, be wary of engaging with that person and do not download the app. There are entire websites devoted to identifying fraud, such as  https://fraudwatch.com/blog/, which contain invaluable free information on protecting yourself.  It is well worth your time to put their recommendations into practice.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are often used to trick you into giving up vital personal and financial details, such as your Social Security number, account number, or login details. Scammers who are phishing will send you fabricated emails or text messages containing deceitful messages or updates. For instance, they may send you an email informing you about an issue with your account and ask you to click on a link to enter and reconfirm your login details. Clicking on the link will send you to a fake website where the scammer can then proceed to steal your information without you even knowing. There’s another variation of phishing called smishing that you need to watch out for. Smishing scams or SMS phishing are conducted through text messages and contain the same dishonest intent as phishing scams. To spot a phishing or smishing scam, you should watch out for the following warning signs:
  • Text or email contains misspellings.
  • Text or email has grammatical errors.
  • Text or email makes unrealistic promises of substantial returns on your investment.
  • Text or email creates a false sense of urgency in the user.
  • Text or email requires you to disclose sensitive information, such as birth dates, passwords, and user IDs.
  • Text or email threatens you with negative consequences.
  • Text or email is demanding or nagging.
If you receive a suspicious text message or email, here are some precautions to consider:
  • Confirm that the message is trustworthy by running it through a URL scanner such as Norton Safe Web or Google Transparency Report
  • Avoid immediately responding to the suspicious text message or email.
  • Don’t click on any attachment links or documents.
  • Avoid disclosing sensitive information in emails, like your Social Security Number, login credentials, and banking information.
  • Avoid calling any numbers contained in a suspected phish.
  • Examine the sender’s email address for subtle differences in the spelling (i.e., @cionira.com vs. @coinira.com).

Upgrade Scams

Most people have grown accustomed to applications and software that need constant updates to fix vulnerabilities and flaws. As cryptocurrency platforms are also a type of software, people easily get tricked into thinking that they also need updates. Scammers can plant deceitful upgrade notifications in your email and social media inboxes. During this “upgrade,” they trick you into giving up your private keys and other account information.  Before falling victim to this type of scam, call the company who you believe sent it to verify it was real.

Social Media and Romance Scams

Scammers attack vulnerable victims anytime and anywhere they find opportunity, even on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. Scams conducted on these platforms are often referred to as “romance scams.”  Often these scams are strictly online and long-distance. The scammer tries to win over the trust and affection of the victim. They’ll have a very convincing story or too-good-to-be-true opportunity enticing the victim to send money or cryptocurrency and disappearing when it’s time for you to withdraw your funds. Some even just pose as a person with whom you might bond over a common interest, background, or ethnicity. Some may have a money laundering scheme using cryptocurrency they’ll pull you into. Listen to your intuition. If it sounds too good to be true, you’ve never met the person, can’t verify they don’t live in the U.S., and you can’t verify what they’re telling you through a reliable source, proceed with extreme caution or not at all. Fortunately, users aren’t completely defenseless against cryptocurrency scams. Here are some suggestions on how to avoid becoming the victim of fraud:

Use Multi-Factor Authentication in Your Accounts

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a verification method that asks a user to provide two or more verification factors to access a particular resource like an application, trading platform, online account, or VPN. Using MFA decreases the likelihood of scammers accessing your account.  (All Coin IRA accountholders are required to use multi-factor authentication.)

Regularly Change Passwords

Most people use a single password or slight variation thereof for every account they have. This makes it easy for scammers and cybercriminals to guess your passwords. Cybersecurity experts from McAfee recommend changing your passwords once every three months. If you find that your account has been hacked or is part of a data breach, change your password immediately.

Don’t Respond to Requests Asking You to Send Cryptocurrency

If you receive an email, a phone call, or a text with a link to download an app to your phone or computer that requires you to send Bitcoin or any other crypto to fund your account, don’t respond, and definitely do not send any cryptocurrency or money. Before sending money or crypto to anyone online, confirm that you know the person you’re sending it to. If you send cryptocurrency to the wrong wallet or to a scammer’s wallet, there’s no way for you to retrieve your crypto unless the other person sends it back to you. Double-check the recipient’s information before you hit send. For your information, all Coin IRA accounts must be funded with US dollars, not cryptocurrency, and we have two secure websites you can trust. Our main site is https://www.coinira.com and https://secure.coinira.com.  If you receive a link to a site similar to one of these but not exactly the same, report it immediately to our customer support team at customersupport@coinira.com.

Don’t Share Your Trading Platform Details

If you call Coin IRA regarding information about your account, we will text a six-digit verification code to your cell phone to verify your identity. You never have to provide us with any other information – not your email address, password, phone number or account number. If someone purporting to be an employee of Coin IRA calls you asking for any of your login details, don’t respond.  Report the call to our Customer Support Team via customersupport@coinira.com. The easiest way to record suspicious calls or fraudulent text messages, emails, or websites that appear to be from Coin IRA is to take a screenshot and email it to Coin IRA Customer Support.

Report Cryptocurrency Scams

If you’ve been a victim of a cryptocurrency scam, you can report the incident to the following authorities: Coin IRA strives to protect all our users from malicious online scams and theft. If you believe you may have responded to a fraudulent text or email and disclosed personal or account-related information, change your trading account details immediately. After you’ve changed your account details, contact us immediately at 888-998-COIN or 866-924-5421.

Why is Crypto Dropping? The Ongoing Saga of FTX

There seems to be unrelenting downward pressure on cryptos across the board, and that has many investors searching for answers.

What Happened?

One indisputable cause is the collapse of FTX, one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges. The match that lit the fire was a November 2nd scoop by CoinDesk revealing that Alameda Research, a quantitative cryptocurrency trading firm run by Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and now former CEO of FTX, was experiencing a solvency crisis, which led to a collapse in FTX’s native cryptocurrency, FTT.  FTX's largest asset was billions of dollars’ worth of FTT, the native token of FTX.  Alameda’s investment foundation was also in FTT, the token that its sister company had invented, not in fiat currency or another cryptocurrency. That prompted concern across the cryptocurrency industry regarding Bankman-Fried’s companies’ undisclosed leverage and solvency. Next, Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of popular crypto exchange Binance, tweeted that his company was selling off all of its holdings in FTT.  The reason?  Zhao claimed it was because of "recent revelations that have come to light", referring to the Coin Desk article, and making matters worse for FTX, he compared FTX's situation to the crash of TerraUSD and LUNA that tanked the crypto market earlier this year. Following this public declaration, FTX suffered a staggering influx of customers and investors withdrawing their funds from the company. Bankman-Fried attempted to dissuade his customers by assuring them that their money was safe and that FTX was not in any financial trouble, but his words fell on deaf ears. Following the aftermath of the FTT sell-off, FTT’s value plunged over 80%, an unprecedented drop that sent shockwaves through the crypto world. FTX saw $5 billion in withdrawals on November 6th, and from there FTT rapidly declined, having a ripple effect that is likely the sole factor behind the recent decline in cryptocurrencies.

And then . . .

The Binance CEO Zhao next briefly considered bailing out the non-US branch of FTX, but after Binance completed its corporate due diligence, he said Binance would not be acquiring FTX.  Then Zhao went back to Twitter with news reports of “mishandled customer funds”, which drove another nail into the FTX coffin.  With a nod to Zhao’s role in FTX’s fall, Bankman-Fried tweeted “Well played; you won.” The withdrawals continued, and the value of FTT crashed as a result, taking Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a host of other cryptos down with it.

FTX Files Bankruptcy

It’s not an understatement to say investors are furious that FTX filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the US on November 11, 2022, and it’s now a race to try and recover at least some of what was lost. Add to that, it’s looking like FTX was hacked by a high-level insider to the tune of $600 million, who had access to the customers cold storage wallets.  The thief made a fatal error in transferring the crypto revealing his identity, which is now known by an analyst at the Kraken exchange.  With that knowledge, hopefully some of the stolen crypto can be recovered to help compensate the victims. The road to recovery will be long and difficult for FTX. After the resignation of Bankman-Fried, new FTX CEO, John J. Ray III, who also stepped in to clean up after the Enron financial scandal, issued a scathing assessment of “unprecedented” poor management practices by his predecessor, Sam Bankman-Fried, in a series of filings in a Delaware court. “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here,” Ray said in a court document filed on Thursday.  “From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented.”  Ray went on to say that FTX had scant regard for corporate norms, and “did not keep appropriate books and records or security controls” for its digital assets, used unsecured shared email accounts to access private keys, and to this day cannot provide a list of those working for the company as of November 11th. So, what does all this mean? Sources say that FTX is officially insolvent. If that’s the case, it would mean that the company is unable to pay its debts, and cryptos could continue to experience volatility and downward pressure. It’s important to note that Bankman-Fried hasn’t been officially charged and remains innocent. If proven guilty, however, he could face a lengthy prison term and fines.

There is Good News

Maybe there will be some good that results from all of this.  Some experts believe that although the depths of the quake caused by FTX will shake even the strongest believers in crypto, it is the wake-up call needed to force exchanges into a more transparent proof-of-reserves balance sheet model, which may be exactly what is needed to ensure the operational integrity of exchanges going forward.  And, we can probably also expect some regulatory moves by the SEC, which will most likely not affect Bitcoin, since just this past summer, the SEC said that Bitcoin is not a security. Since the FTX crash, Bitcoin has been rangebound between $15,800 and $17,500, and while the fearful are exiting the market, the hodlers are snatching up the bargains.  Since there is absolutely no indication that Bitcoin had any role in the collapse, it was less affected than other cryptos and had been trending at about $21,000 just days before the FTX collapse.  Could it be that the fear-driven panic selling that occurred over the past week is not a true indication of Bitcoin’s true value?  If that is the case, maybe Bitcoin under $20,000 is a sale too good to pass up. As the days go by, it will be interesting to see what other news surfaces.  In the meantime, what can you do to protect yourself? The best way to protect yourself is to diversify your portfolio. Invest in a variety of assets so that you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. And it’s always important to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information, which Coin IRA will help you do.  Armed with the latest information, you’ll be better prepared to weather any sudden market shifts. Coin IRA will provide important updates to this unfolding story.

What Are Stablecoins?

At Coin IRA, we want to provide our customers with as much information as possible about cryptocurrency in your IRA or Individual Trading Account, and how it works. Today, we’re going to talk about stablecoins. As crypto investors, we’re always looking for ways to mitigate risk. And one way to do that is by investing in stablecoins. So, what are stablecoins exactly, and how do they work? Let’s find out.

What Are Stablecoins?

A stablecoin is a digital asset that’s pegged to a fiat currency or other asset. This means that a stablecoin’s value will remain relatively stable compared to other cryptocurrencies. There are several different types of stablecoin, but the most common ones are pegged to a fiat currency like the US dollar. This means that each stablecoin is worth one US dollar. Other types are pegged to assets like gold or oil. The main advantage of stablecoins is that they can be used to store value in a way that is less volatile than traditional cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. For example, if you’re holding Bitcoin and the price of Bitcoin falls by 10%, then your investment is also worth 10% less. However, if you’re holding a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, then the value of your investment will remain the same even if the price of Bitcoin falls. There are several different projects working on stablecoins, but the most popular one is Tether. Tether is a cryptocurrency that’s pegged to the US dollar. Each Tether is worth one US dollar, and the value of Tether doesn’t fluctuate very much. Tether is currently the most popular stablecoin, but there are several others that offer similar benefits. Some of the other popular and most trusted stablecoins include USD Coin, Binance USD, and Paxos Standard. If you’re looking for a way to store value in a cryptocurrency that is less volatile than Bitcoin, then stablecoins are a good option.

How Do Stablecoins Work?

The key to stablecoins is stability. To achieve this stability, stablecoins use a variety of mechanisms. Some use collateralized debt obligations, while others use a basket of currencies or even real assets. It’s important to note that how a stablecoin is backed can affect its level of risk. For example, a stablecoin backed by a single asset, such as the US dollar, is less risky than a stablecoin backed by a basket of assets. When it comes to stability, there are primary main kinds of stablecoins. One is centralized, and the other is decentralized. A centralized stablecoin is that which is backed by a single entity, such as a government or a company. A decentralized stablecoin, on the other hand, is backed by a network of computers, which makes it more resistant to price fluctuations.

What Are Stablecoins Used For?

Stablecoins are often used as a way to store value or as a hedge against volatility. For example, if you’re worried about the price of Bitcoin crashing, you could convert your Bitcoin into a stablecoin. This would allow you to hold onto your money without having to worry about the price fluctuating. Stablecoins can also be used to make purchases. For instance, if you wanted to buy a cup of coffee with Bitcoin, but the price of Bitcoin was fluctuating too much, you could convert your Bitcoin into a stablecoin, make the purchase, and then convert the stablecoin back into Bitcoin. This stability makes stablecoins an attractive option for businesses and individuals who want to avoid the volatility of the cryptocurrency markets.

What Are Their Purpose and Function?

The purpose of a stablecoin is to provide a digital currency that is stable in price. As noted, this stability is achieved by pegging the stablecoin’s value to another asset, such as the US dollar or gold. The function of a stablecoin is to act as a digital currency that can be used to purchase goods and services or to store value. Because they are pegged to an asset, stablecoins typically do not fluctuate in price as much as other cryptocurrencies.

Examples of Stablecoins

The stablecoin market has exploded in recent years, with dozens of different projects launching their own version of a digital currency pegged to the US dollar or other assets. Some of the most popular offerings include: Tether: Tether is perhaps the best-known stablecoin. It’s pegged to the US dollar. USD Coin: USDC is a US dollar-backed stablecoin issued by Circle and Coinbase. Gemini Dollar: The Gemini dollar is another US dollar-backed stablecoin and is issued by the Winklevoss twins. Paxos Standard: Paxos Standard is also pegged to the US dollar and is one of the newer offerings on the market. TrueUSD: TrueUSD is another popular stablecoin backed by the US dollar. It’s also one of the most liquid stablecoins, with a large number of exchanges listing it. Binance USD: Binance USD is a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar that is issued by the well-known cryptocurrency exchange Binance. Origin Dollar: Origin Dollar is a newer stablecoin that has a basket of assets as its backing, including the US dollar, gold, and Ethereum. As you can see, there are many different stablecoins on the market that are pegged to different assets. Some are even backed by multiple assets, which can help to further stabilize the price.

Why Add a Stablecoin to Your Crypto Investment Portfolio?

If you’re like most people, when you think of investing in cryptocurrency, you probably think of Bitcoin. But there are actually many different types of cryptocurrencies, and each offers its own set of benefits and risks. With stablecoin, many of the risks that come with investing in cryptocurrency are greatly reduced. As a result, stablecoins are becoming an increasingly popular investment option for those looking to get involved in the cryptocurrency market.  We’re pleased to announce that we’ve added USD Coin to our current offering of 20 different coins for your IRA, which may add greater stability for your investment. If you’re interested in adding cryptocurrency to your investment portfolio, we invite you to contact Coin IRA today at 88-998-COIN to learn more about how we can help you invest in this exciting new asset class in your Crypto IRA or individual trading account.

Amazing! Perfect! Fantastic! Successful Ethereum Merge Activated

Read What Happened as 41,000 Watched

Well, it happened!  The Ethereum Merge has happened, and it was a seamless, complete success, much to the relief of the entire Ethereum development team. On a live feed watched by 41,000 people on YouTube, over 100 members of the Ethereum team and Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, held their collective breath as they watched the network transition from the final Proof of Work block and the words “POS Activated” flashed across the screen, flanked by two symbolic Pandas, signaling the transition to Proof of Stake was complete. Cheers erupted as the live audience watched the merge occur without a hiccup, the culmination of 4 years of work, and 3 years of discussion prior to that. As block after block on the visualizer on screen was completed without interruption, the new Proof of Stake model marched to the completion of its second step, which one Ethereum team member called “Amazing, perfect, fantastic!” It was an incredible accomplishment, considering that the live transition has been described by Justin Drake, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, as “… switching out an engine from a running car.” In the subsequent 15 minutes, all appeared to be going according to plan as the team continued to intently watch, and a collective sigh of relief could be felt after several members of the team described the result as “optimal” and agreed it was all they could have hoped for. One developer excitedly stated that a 99.98% power reduction would result from the new Proof of Stake model, promising massive environmental benefits. Buterin came on screen and commented on the live feed, “This is the first step in Ethereum’s big journey toward being a very mature system … we all just need to work hard and do our part to make all of those other things happen.  To me the merge just symbolizes probably the difference between early-stage Ethereum and the Ethereum we always wanted early-stage Ethereum to become.” Ethereum now enters a new age of development, making it the world’s second biggest blockchain, and even more secure and sustainable. If you're "crypto-curious", we'd love to help.  Visit our website or call at 888-998-COIN to learn more!




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