If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

If you have $100 and invest $50 in Bitcoin which then makes 100% profit, whilst simultaneously investing $50 in Ethereum which also makes 100% profit, you haven’t made 200% profit. Unless you’re being scammed.
I was scrolling through facebook when I saw a comment about trade signals, guaranteeing 4-6 signals every day that would make 100’s of percent in profit. As a medium to high-risk kind of guy I was interested. I sent a private message to the guy who’d made the post and he almost immediately called me back with the same message: “join our group, excellent signals, 100’s of percent in profit”. I figured why not.

It was 0.02BTC to join the group which at the time was only a few hundred dollars, and the Telegram group would indeed send regular trade signals: “Long BTC @ $10,000, target $10,500, leverage 10x”.

The platform we were instructed to use was Bitmex. I had no idea about leverage trading, I was just following this guy to the letter to try and make some easy money.

DISCLAIMER – DON’T leverage trade unless you know what you’re doing. Please.

To be honest, quite often the signals were pretty accurate, even if they didn’t EXACTLY follow the numbers quoted. For example, the price of BTC would be falling from $10,100 and whilst it didn’t quite touch down on $10k it would come pretty close before rising to meet the $10.5k target. The page owner would, however, proudly declare a hefty profit such as 47.61%.

The first red flag I didn’t take note of was when he started requesting everyone pay the “maintenance fee”, of 0.01 BTC unless their account would be deleted. When you’ve bought the “lifetime membership”, you shouldn’t be paying extra. I paid the maintenance fee.

Following were many more attempts to get money from the members in the group: “Premium membership – more signals, more markets”… “Referral bonuses”…

The first most obvious way to know you’re being scammed is that you’re being asked to part with more and more money in order to make more and more money.

The second most obvious way to know is when it sounds too good to be true.

Anyone PROMISING you more than a 10% ROI is either scamming you or full of shit. Why 10%? Because that’s what a generic index fund performs at over time, and what stock brokers (those guys who are regulated and actually understand how finance, trading, investing and all the other financial technicalities work) measure themselves against. Side note – I am a firm believer in cryptocurrency and DeFi, so I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that in the future we will have multiple ways of staking or investing our money which will generate a significant return on investment, however these instruments/products will be offered by projects that are visible and transparent and open to public and legislative scrutiny… Not some dude posting on Facebook next to a lambo.

The next “investment” which still hurts to this day was giving 0.1 BTC to join the “investment group”… “For serious investors only, long term investment to make 10% every month. Minimum investment term 1 year. Only 10 spots available”. The page owner would do the investing for us, which I was quite pleased about considering I’d gone completely rogue with the leverage trading, following no particular strategy and just guessing which direction the market would go in and watching position after position get liquidated or stopped out.

When you’re trading you need to follow a strict strategy. You need to make a plan and stick to it. No emotion, just plain numbers. You win some, you lose some but with the correct risk management strategy you live to trade another day. When you start to get greedy, impatient or worst of all trying to chase a loss, that’s when you’re in serious trouble and need to stop before throwing all your money away. Luckily for me I didn’t throw ALL my money away, just a very large portion of it. Around 90% or so.
As I said, I was happy to change strategy – instead of the manual work of placing trades myself, I would give my money to someone who seemed like he knew what he was doing, he’d do all the work and then give me back loads of money. What could go wrong?

I used to send private messages to the guy on a regular basis and whilst not always getting back to me straight away he would eventually and would say things to put my mind at ease: “Market going sideways, no updates, investment group in profit”. Seemed legit.

A couple of months after investing in the investment group BTC had been on a tear, it had increased something like 40%, and so I contacted the group to see how the investments were looking. “Overall we’re in a loss because of XRP”. Plausible, but I was now getting to the point where I was losing hope of making any money. I started scrolling through the previous Telegram messages and started cross-referencing the trade signals against the actual tracking of the coin or token within the trade timeframe. What I saw were targets not being met, entry prices not being met, trades that would have been stopped out based on the leverage being used before hitting the target but more often than not a comment within a few days of the signals saying “All targets hit, 200% profit”.

The guy then posted showing his weekly achievements: “Trade 1, 100% profit…Trade 2, 70% profit, Trade 3, 30% profit. Total 200% profit”. It was at this point I realised this guy was just making shit up and posting fantastical numbers. Your percentage profit is completely dependent on your percentage staked, without having that information you can’t calculate profit.

Not long after this post covid started taking a grip on the world. Posts became fewer and further between and replies to my messages were even scarcer. Nowadays I send a private message once a week or month: “hello”. I don’t get any replies.

Why am I telling this story? Because there are multiple alarm bells when you are being (or are about to be) scammed, which you should hear loud and clear and should make you run for the hills:

  • YOU’VE been approached, not the other way around.
  • The return on investment is insane. Literally. Again, over 10%, or 5% paid daily into your account are unrealistic at this moment in time.
  • You have already paid and are being asked to pay again.
  • You’ve paid once (or twice) and are being asked to pay more and/or higher amounts.
  • Things drag on. Answers to questions, reasons why you can’t access your funds or why they aren’t performing as expected.

It’s not a nice feeling to be scammed but it is incredibly common. These people are professionals and have tried and tested means. They understand psychology and peoples innate drives, so if you you’ve been scammed before or if you ever do get scammed try not to beat yourself up too much, but always try to remember the above points when you seem to find yourself presented with an opportunity that seems too good to be true. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.