The dangers of ‘lazy’ money

4 Mins read

When those who want to make a large amount of money attempt to fulfil their dreams with crypto-currency, they often leave themselves open to being influenced with ease, and it seems that the younger the crypto-buyers are, the easier they can be manipulated. This is why trying to make ‘easy’ money has become such a risk.

Over the past few years stocks and trading have evolved into a new way of making money by taking it digital, along with this has come the birth of digital money, or crypto-currency. During this time some people have made it their life’s goal to make money in a quick and easy way through crypto, however only a tiny proportion of those people have made any profit while many have lost life-changing amounts of money.

The reasons for loss are simple: Crypto-currency is not like stocks which you can monitor and predict the patterns of the highs and lows it may go through. Crypto is essentially gambling: it does not have any form of reliability via patterns or history of the ‘currency’ that give you enough security so that you won’t lose your money.

Various cryptocurrency coins stacked on top of each other in different colours via Pixabay from Geralt
Cryptocurrency is often portrayed as physical coins, even though it is entirely electronic [Pixabay: Geralt]

Cryptocurrency is a form of electronic money that operates as a means of exchange through a computer network and is not supported or maintained by any one entity, such as a government or bank. No maintenance leads to no security services who can dispute what is correct etiquette in the world of online currency.

However, the issue with crypto is not the platform or the idea itself, as they are progressing and developing every minute. The problem people are facing come from the promoters, their propaganda and the expensive ‘online courses’ which are created to benefit the users and buyers but which often seem to result in the consumer losing money.

A lot of these self-proclaimed “professionals” use social media such as Instagram and Facebook to reach out to people who are uneducated on what cryptocurrency is or how to take the next steps in understanding how to make money from crypto. The main demographic of these platforms is 18-24, therefore the majority of the time it is younger social media users will be sucked into these traps.

Once they have someone in their grasp, the influencer will attempt to suck all of the money from their pocket by encouraging them to pay for online trading courses; after they are completed, they encourage their ‘students’ to put money into an ‘unknown cryptocurrency’ that they say is ‘bound to rise’. 

Little to the spenders’ knowledge these unknown currencies are owned by the same people promoting the courses. Once they have got their teeth into your wallet, they will try and get every last penny you have and eventually collapse the currency leaving the consumer empty-handed and the influencer in profit.

“After around another three months I had committed a lot of money into this currency, probably just over £9,500.”

Marcus Smith

Marcus Smith*, who is 19 years-old, shared his story of how he was scammed into losing almost £10,000 in just six months through a crypto-currency project.

In January 2022, Marcus told us how he was approached via Instagram by a trading account with a large following, the message said the account had followed him and whether he knew about the project in question, and added: “He shares tips every day. You can get his personal picks if you follow. Let’s connect!”

A screenshot of a message sent to Marcus Smith reading In January of 2022 the unnamed male was approached via Instagram by a trading account with a sufficient amount of following, the message read ”Hey, just followed you. Do you know ‘crypto projects Instagram name’? He shares tips every day. You can get his personal picks if you follow.  Let’s connect!”

Photo via Marcus Smith
Screenshot of invitation message [Marcus Smith]

Marcus explained: “I had just turned 19 and I was working 40 hours-a-week, when I saw the message it really appealed to me, so I got in contact with the account that was linked to see what they were talking about.

“When I reached out to them, I was told of a way to make six figures a year without my current job, who would that not appeal to? He told me to sign up for an online course that he would be running himself to discuss how to get into crypto-currency trading.”

Being 19 and promised over £100,000 a year at the time, it appeared as if the benefits outweighed the negatives. Although Marcus admits he was being naïve, it is quite evident that the intent to get as many people as possible to buy into this project was the idea from the start.

“After paying £500 for three months of online courses I was told that I know everything I need to and that we should all invest into a specific currency that would apparently rise in price over the next few months.”

When asked what was taught in these classes, Marcus said: “We were taught how to identify if a thing was worth investing into and if it would go up, there were many graphs and a lot of figures. At times it was very overwhelming and drastically over-complicated. Truth to be told, it was almost impossible to teach what they were claiming to be true because it’s based on a bit of luck, like a casino.”

Image of cryptocurrency graphs on a laptop, phone and on paper.
Online trading has become easier with mobile apps [Pexels: Tima Miroshnichenko]

As these months went on more and more money was being put into this project and then the scheme became evident. “After around another three months I had committed a lot of money into this currency, probably just over £9,500 over the course of such a small time frame,” Marcus said.

“Around late June time we had all received an email claiming that the currency was going to be taken down and we could only withdraw the money if we had over £50,000 in our accounts which I obviously did not.

“After losing my money I got in touch with a few others who were attending these online courses with me and I was informed that those who were running the courses set up the whole project for themselves. They were the owners of the currency, they took everyone’s money and there was nothing any of us could do.”

Evidently these scandals can be very dangerous, targeting a 19 year-old with the ambition of making big money and taking almost £10,000 from him. With the others who invested alongside Marcus it appears that the only ones to make money in this situation were the organisers.

If more restrictions and monetisation are bestowed among the world of cryptocurrency, there are hopes that the scammers will eventually fade out of the industry, however, while they can still prey on the vulnerable it is inevitable that people with the same dreams as Marcus will end up in a similar situation. 

* The interviewee’s real name has been changed.

Feature image Micheal Wuensch via Pixabay.
Edited by Rella Jeffries and Sophie Patrick.

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