The world of cryptocurrency is filled with opportunity, but it can also be like wading into a pool of rip-offs and scams if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The easiest of these scams are the simple phishing emails that entice you to turn over your personal data, your money and access to your computer. But new scams have cropped up, including one that is so hard to discern because it mimics a real—albeit risky—activity around cryptocurrency.

You might have heard the term “air drop” in the past because it’s a handy feature on many smartphones. It lets you send a large file, such as an entire folder of pictures or a long video, to someone in the vicinity if you’ve both approved the connection. That’s not the case with cryptocurrency airdrops.

A cryptocurrency airdrop is a legitimate venture, but a risky one. Basically, an existing form of “internet money” launches an airdrop, which allows people to snag some of the coin or currency. This isn’t a “get rich quick” maneuver but rather is intended to be a long-term investment.

The scam comes in when someone develops and announces an airdrop of a specific currency, but it’s really just a copycat of another coin. There’s no actual air drop opportunity, but the victims just opened access to their digital stash of cryptocurrency (in order for the coins to be airdropped into their crypto wallets) to the scammers.

As with any other type of scam or fraud, criminals are coming up with new ways to steal from victims every day. With so much nuance surrounding the function and investment in cryptocurrency, scammers who are looking to steal from newcomers don’t have to work too hard. If you’re interested or already investing in cryptocurrency, it’s absolutely vital that you do thorough research on every communication, opportunity, and mechanism to come along.


Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.