Cryptocurrency scams in Spain: how to avoid them

It is well known that the world of cryptocurrencies is a space where fraudsters and criminals roam freely, without in many cases the police and government authorities being able to do anything to remedy the countless frauds that are carried out daily throughout the planet. . One of the most recent and harmful scams is related to liquidity mining.

Liquidity mining is a strategy through which DeFi (“Decentralized Finance”) protocols seek to capture the attention of users so that they inject funds into said protocols. Thus, as consideration for depositing and blocking capital, the user receives rewards in the form of “tokens” that can be exchanged inside or outside the platform itself. The key to this mining method is liquidity, since the more liquidity a user injects into the protocol, the more rewards they will obtain.

The truth is that these schemes are, in themselves, dubious and difficult to understand for a user poorly versed in cryptocurrencies. However, there are much more dangerous risks than the volatility and deregulation of these systems: scams.

Since the beginning of the development of this type of investment schemes, there has been no shortage of criminal networks that have taken advantage of the opportunity to defraud thousands of consumers and users of the “blockchain” ecosystem. Thus, in recent times numerous fraudulent “mining pools” have proliferated that scammers promote through social networks, a recruitment strategy that has effects and causes real havoc.

The most common method used by scammers is to contact them through social networks and online dating applications. The criminal invents an excuse why he has contacted the potential victim and starts a conversation that may seem casual, but is really focused on presenting the opportunity to invest in a “mining pool.” Although the interaction appears to be casual, it is not, and can lead to the scammer guiding the victim to access a fraudulent “mining pool” and link their electronic wallet, which will allow the scammers to have full access to the stored assets. in said wallet.

The victim will observe how they obtain returns in the “mining pool” for a certain time, creating a false illusion that will allow the scammers to gain the victim’s trust. This will mean that the victim will not have any qualms about depositing more amounts of money, while at the same time believing that they are obtaining benefits that do not correspond to reality. At some point, the funds deposited in the wallet will be stolen, with the scammers inventing false reasons why the assets are not available to the victim, and urging them to deposit even more money. By the time the victim realizes they are being deceived, it will be too late, and their assets will be out of their control.

This form of fraud is just one of many fraudulent schemes currently operating. In global terms, the number of cryptocurrency transactions of fraudulent origin amounted to more than $20 billion in 2022, a record figure (data from the study carried out by Chainanalysis). Of this amount, transactions related to scams are one of the most common, although activities linked to the theft of assets through hacking, the financing of terrorism, or human trafficking are also common. According to this same study, in 2022, the percentage of cryptocurrency activity linked to organized crime rose to 0.24% of the total, a figure that reached 1.9% in 2019.

The international cybercriminal networks that operate in the crypto universe are varied, ranging from organizations based in Eastern Europe to North Korea, China and India. These criminal groups are truly sophisticated, employing thousands of people in clandestine centers that function as real offices 24 hours a day. In early 2023, Europol dismantled a network of cybercriminals who operated through this type of “call centers” in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Serbia, and whose activity was mainly focused on defrauding German consumers through fraudulent cryptocurrency investment schemes.

Regulation on cryptocurrency activity is scarce, but public authorities are making efforts to apply limits and controls that help prevent and supervise these operations, replacing the law of the jungle with authentic rules. An example of these efforts can be found in the European institutions, where the European Parliament has recently approved, by 517 votes in favor and 38 against, the new Cryptoasset Markets Regulation (also known as MiCA).

This new Regulation, which will come into force throughout 2024, aims to harmonize the rules applicable to the cryptocurrency market in the European Union, regulating any “digital representation of value or rights that can be transferred and stored electronically, through decentralized registry technology. or similar technology.” The rules it establishes cover key aspects such as transparency, an authorization regime and rules on transaction supervision, and will be applicable to various types of agents involved in this type of investment schemes.

It remains to be seen if all these new rules contained in the MiCA Regulation will significantly reduce the volume of fraud and scams surrounding the crypto ecosystem, although it is undoubtedly that it will allow it to operate with greater guarantees and controls than until now. However, there are no doubts about the adaptability of criminals who profit through cybercrime, so we will continue to observe, with complete certainty, how successful hunts are carried out in this jungle by these predators without scruples. In this sense, awareness and prevention are the best defenses.

Some tips to avoid falling into the clutches of scammers:

  • Do not trust people you have met online and who invite you to participate in investments.
  • Don’t link your e-wallet to platforms before making sure they are legitimate.
  • Research thoroughly and inform yourself before making any investment. That is the best recipe to protect your assets.


This publication does not constitute legal advice. 


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