I’m officially stupid.

I got scammed by a bitcoin scammer called “Payward” (of which I doubt if it’s even a real company) on one of their sites called “bitcmoney.com” (not linking because they don’t deserve your traffic, although I hope search engines will pick up on this post). In retrospect, there were several things that made me vulnerable that shut my bullshit-detection off:

  • Failure to do due diligence (check reputation, etc).
  • Emotional distress because I had to euthanize my cat the day before.
  • Fear Of Missing Out (a.k.a. FOMO).

Don’t underestimate these things. These can severely impair your decisionmaking. I am admitting I made a mistake so you won’t do the same. I’ll gladly wear the egg on my face.

If you want to know how it all went down, check out the review I left on trustpilot here: Link, the site in question is bitcmoney.com

In case they manage to get that review pulled, here’s another copy:

Title: This site is a total scam. Beware!  

This site is a total racket. Do not do buisness with these people.

This is a long story, so please bear with me.

I got 0.21 BTC from a discord giveaway for "hard times", so I created an
account and used the coupon code. I couldn't withdraw, so I deposited the
required 0.02 BTC to validate. First time I failed because I failed to take the
1% fee into account, so I transferred another 0.1 BTC to make up the
difference. Then I learned from the support staff that it wasn't cumulative, so
I scrounged more together to make another 0.02 deposit.

Happy that was all done, I tried to withdraw everything to my external wallet,
which failed. So I contacted support again. The support person happily put the
withdrawal order in, only to hit me back with the message that I needed to pay
a tax of 0.0475 BTC. He already cleared out my balance and said it was held for
the transfer, that I should make a deposit of that amount, and that I would
have a week to cough it all up, otherwise they would skim of 1.5% every day for
late fees.

The support also person said that my balance would be withdrawn to my external
wallet the next day when the tax was deposited.

I took out a loan to pay that amount and I transferred it.

I thought that was it, but no, it gets worse.

When I notified support that the tax had been deposited, the support person
transferred the held amount *back* to my balance (I had a withdrawal order out,
remember?), *on top* of the balance I had setting it past 0.3 BTC, which puts
it in the premium bracket, which unveiled another set of surprises.

It appears that when your balance exceeds .3 BTC, you need to do $5000 in
deposits in total. In this state, I couldn't do anything with my account.
Transers and withdrawals are blocked .  Also, they don't seem to have a working
mail server, I sent a mail to their listed support address, and it got bounced.

So take heed. Do not do deal with these people. They will scam you. You have
been warned.

Yeah, after you are done facepalming and/or laughing, hear me out.

I know, I should sit in a corner with a dunce cap. Also, I doubt I will ever see this money again. I consider it lost, a lesson that cost me dearly.

How could I have been this stupid, you ask. Well the three factors I mentioned before were the biggest. The lively and real seeming community inside also seemed convincing. I did learn a few things that are largely common sense though.

Steps to avoid getting scammed.

  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Google the company first, read some reviews. (due diligence)
  • If the domain relatively new, that’s a red flag
  • If you can report these sites (e.g. they are new), do so.

I’ve reported them to several places, if anyone knows of more places to report these scumbags, let me know (there is a contact form on this site). The less of these places the internet has, the better.

And now I’m off feeling ashamed in a corner. I’ll post a new blog when I learn something new.