At Coinbase, we are incredibly proud of our mission — to create an open financial system for the world and to put the power back into our customers’ hands — enabling you to engage with the crypto ecosystem on your terms.
However, while we want to ensure financial freedom, we also want our customers to be aware of the risks associated with fraudsters. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a sharp rise in the number of scams across the world and on a variety of different platforms. At Coinbase, we work closely with law enforcement to combat criminal activity, but we also want to ensure that you, our customers, are protecting yourselves.
Here are three important tips to avoid some of the most common scams:
Check government websites for warnings
The Federal Trade Commission in the US, the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, and other European regulators publish guidance on known scams (see this example of a known scam). Check these websites for warnings if you are engaging with any third party. Also exercise caution to help protect yourself from scams — Citizens Advice in the UK has published some simple rules that can help you to do this.
Beware of impersonators, and verify customer support
Some fraudsters impersonate Coinbase employees (including our support team and even our CEO) or other prominent crypto individuals in a bid to encourage you to move fiat funds (like GBP, EUR or USD) or crypto. Before you act, make sure you know and trust who you are talking to. Any communication from Coinbase Support will come from a coinbase.com domain over email or via the social platforms that the support teams use — see here. And Coinbase will never ask you to send or transfer crypto to external addresses or invite you to participate in “free crypto giveaways” on social media platforms such as Twitter. You can read more about how to spot those scams here.
Double-check the destination and any third parties
Crypto transactions are irreversible. Once you send crypto to a third party, you cannot reverse it or stop the transfer and neither can Coinbase. So before you send crypto to a blockchain address, always double-check that you have entered the correct details and are certain of the legitimacy of any third parties involved. Only send crypto to people that you trust.
We want to empower customers using Coinbase, but we also urge you to take the time and steps you need to protect yourself in the crypto ecosystem. For more information on how to avoid crypto scams, please see our Help Center article on the subject.
And remember, if something sounds too good to be true… it probably is.