Bitcoin complaint: How to report a fraud or scam

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Today, cryptocurrency has become a global phenomenon and is revolutionizing banking and finance. Leading the bandwagon of cryptocurrencies is Bitcoin, created in 2009 by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. By December 2020, the digital currency that exists electronically surpassed the $20,000 mark. As of March 2021, it had a market cap of over $1 trillion. Like all cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin works independent of governments or monetary agencies. With just a computer, any one can set up Bitcoin address to receive or send bitcoins. It can be bought and used as a currency and uses peer-to-peer technology, using a decentralized ledger known as blockchain. One can send and receive bitcoins without disclosing any personal identification. They are stored as a file in a digital wallet. Every transaction is recorded in the public list called the blockchain.

What is crypto exchange?
Just like in stock, there are cryptocurrency exchanges where one can buy and sell bitcoins. Some of the top names in the industry include Coinbase, Binance, Kraken, OKEx and Bisq. Sign up on one of these exchanges and fund your account with a cryptocurrency or cash. You can then place a buy order at the market price or a price below. When your conditions match, the exchange will execute your trade and add the cryptocurrency into your wallet. The exchange rate depends on a number of factors, mainly volume, supply and demand. If you want to sell, similarly you can place a sell order. Do note the transaction and platform fees if any applicable.

Contact the crypto exchange
If you traded in one of the crypto exchanges, use the contact form on the website to reach the support to share your query or complaint. You can also sign into your account to open a ticket on a specific transaction. Some of the exchanges like Bisq have live chat for dispute resolution. If you are active on social media, you can even reach the support through Facebook or Twitter handle. Few of them like Kraken have published their contact information. Kraken support can be reached at [email protected]

Most common complaints
With the rise of Bitcoin, there have also been a growing number of cases on fraud or scam. Some of the commonly reported include pre-mine scams, fake manufacturers, blackmail, free giveaways, phishing emails, fake exchanges, Ponzi/pyramid schemes, malware and ransomware. What makes cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin popular is the fact that unlike other fiat (legal) currency, cryptocurrencies are not controlled by any government or financial institutions like a central bank. No external agency have control as all information gets stored in the decentralized ledger. Bitcoin does not even have an official website or phone number. The popular Bitcoin.org is just an independent open source project maintained by a group of contributors.

Report to law enforcement
Due to it often being described as anonymous, some governments have banned Bitcoin usage. Few countries like the US, UK and Germany allow the use of cryptocurrencies. Lately, companies have started accepting Bitcoin as a mode of payment for goods and services. With the growing acceptance, many have also been victims to scamsters tricking people into sending money. If you are located in the US and have a cryptocurrency scam to report, connect with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can make a complaint on the link here.  Additionally, you can contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations – Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3 here. For those located in the UK, you have the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre. And if you are a citizen of the EU and have fallen victim to cybercrime, report the incident to European Police Office, commonly called as Europol. If the case needs immediate attention, you can reach out to the local police authority for assistance.

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