The modus operandi behind the elusive cryptocurrency mining scams

Published on:

  • 16 per cent of crypto users have fallen prey to crypto mining scams
  • Cryptocurrency mining scams work by promising investors high returns on their investments through mining operations
  • Do your research before investing in any cryptocurrency mining operation. Look for reviews, feedback, and news articles about the company or individual offering the investment.

Cryptocurrency mining scams are the most intriguing type of cryptocurrency scam. Whether it is a fake mining website or a fake mining machinery scam. This is because the scams seem incredibly evident to the average person. However, according to the Kaspersky Global crypto survey, 16% of crypto users have fallen prey to crypto mining scams.

Cryptocurrency mining

Cryptocurrency mining is the process of verifying transactions on a blockchain network and adding them to the blockchain ledger. Miners use powerful computers to solve complex mathematical problems that validate transactions and receive rewards in the form of newly created cryptocurrency.

However, mining requires significant computing power and electricity, making it an expensive and complex process that not everyone can undertake. This has given rise to mining scams, where fraudsters use the promise of high returns from mining investments to lure unsuspecting investors into fraudulent schemes.

Cloud mining

Cloud mining is a type of cryptocurrency mining where a user rents computing power from a remote data centre to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others. Instead of purchasing and maintaining expensive mining hardware, the user simply pays a fee to a cloud mining service provider who takes care of the hardware and its maintenance.

The cloud mining service provider uses the rented computing power to mine cryptocurrencies on behalf of the user. The user then receives a portion of the mined cryptocurrency as a reward, based on their rental agreement with the service provider.

How Cryptocurrency Mining Scams Work

Crypto mining scams work by promising investors high returns on their investments through mining operations. Scammers usually target individuals who are new to cryptocurrency or have limited knowledge of how mining works.

The scammer may offer an investment opportunity that promises high returns, requiring the victim to pay an upfront fee or purchase mining equipment to participate in the mining operation. They may also require the victim to recruit more investors to the scheme, promising them a commission for each new recruit.

After the victim invests, the scammer may provide fake updates or mining reports to give the impression that the investment is yielding high returns. In reality, the scammer may not be mining any cryptocurrency at all or may be using outdated or inefficient equipment, resulting in very low returns or no returns at all.

Cryptocurrency mining scams can take different forms, but they typically involve one or more of the following:

Fake Cryptocurrency Mining Websites

Scammers can create fake mining websites that mimic legitimate mining operations and offer high returns on investment. These websites may use similar domain names, logos, and designs as legitimate mining operations to deceive victims.

Fake Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Scammers may create fake cryptocurrency exchanges that offer mining opportunities or sell mining equipment. These exchanges may offer unrealistically high returns on investment or require significant fees or deposits to participate in mining.

Pyramid Schemes

Pyramid schemes are a common type of crypto mining scam where scammers recruit new investors and promise high returns for each new recruit. The scheme typically requires the victim to make an initial investment and then recruit others to join the scheme to receive commissions.

Ponzi Schemes

Ponzi schemes involve paying early investors with funds from new investors. In a cryptocurrency mining scam, the scammer may use funds from new investors to pay off earlier investors, creating the impression of high returns. Ponzi schemes are incredibly effective because they work on proof of their high return claims. Eventually, they collapse.

Examples of crypto mining scams

One of the most famous cryptocurrency-related scams OneCoin is a good example of a cryptocurrency scam that involved a mining scam. In addition to paying for educational packages victims also invested in the mining of OneCoin. Later this was found to be a fraud. While cloud mining is a legitimate practice the high returns can quickly point out the scams.

Red Flags to Watch Out For

To avoid falling victim to cryptocurrency mining scams, it’s essential to be aware of the red flags and warning signs. Here are some things to watch out for:

Unrealistic Returns

Be wary of investment opportunities that promise unrealistically high returns. Cryptocurrency investments are inherently risky, and mining operations are no exception. While it’s possible to earn significant returns through mining, there are no guarantees. For reference mining machines earn between US$30 and US$450 per month. The machines cost anywhere between US$2000 and US$20000. A quick calculation tells us that the rate of return on these machines is between 0.15% per month (1.8% per annum) and  22.5% per month (270% per annum). If we contrast these rates of return with our screenshot we can already see the red flag.

High-Pressure Sales Tactics

Scammers may use high-pressure sales tactics, such as urgency or limited-time offers, to lure victims into investing quickly. Take your time to research any investment opportunity thoroughly before investing.

Lack of Transparency

A lack of transparency is a significant warning sign in any investment opportunity. If the scammer is unwilling or unable to provide clear information on the mining operation, it’s best to avoid the investment altogether.

Unverifiable Claims

Be cautious of investment opportunities that make unverifiable claims or use vague language. Legitimate mining operations should be able to provide clear information on their mining process and operations.

Unclear Terms and Conditions

Make sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of any investment opportunity While we’re here any grammatical, spelling or other clerical errors in a website or communication should be scrutinized. These websites are usually made in a rush.

To avoid cryptocurrency mining scams, here are some things you can do:

  • Do your research before investing in any crypto mining operation. Look for reviews, feedback, and news articles about the company or individual offering the investment. If someone approached you specifically with the offer, look for information from sources other than them.
  • Be cautious of high-pressure sales tactics or promises of quick returns. Scammers often use these tactics to lure in victims.
  • Never invest more money than you can afford to lose. Cryptocurrency investments are inherently risky, and mining operations are no exception.
  • Look for red flags such as unverifiable claims or unclear terms and conditions. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Use trusted and reputable cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets to buy, sell, and store your digital assets.


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Kudzai G Changunda
Kudzai G Changunda
Finance guy with a considerable interest in the adoption of web 3.0 technologies in the financial landscape. Both technology and regulation focused but, of course, people first.
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