19-12-20 the day that was - Crypto security, Ledger, Gumtree Scam

Crypto is all the rage again!

Funny stuff. I am a believer, but I do not trust the security of crypto at all. Let me explain.

To me it still seems like the Wild West. 

Smart knowledgeable people simply understand and can manipulate the system to their own advantage while the rest of us keep feeding coins into the amusement ride (for our own pleasure or pain).

I do think that the economic shift we are currently experiencing will involve crypto. To what extent I am still not sure. Remember that the people that hold power will keep rattling their sabers and make the adoption/transition into anything new as hard as possible. Until they have figured out a way to stand above the new paradigm, adoption will be along the fringes first.

My personal experiences with crypto security have jaded me completely and I known I am biased because of it.

Let me explain. Having put nearly $30k into currencies 2017 and 2018 I then decided to put everything into cold storage under the security of my ledger nano s.

I purchased my ledger nano a directly from Ledger in France as I was aware of man in the middle Hack’s where people have altered the ledger hardware to create exploits.

I keep my ledger nano in a safe with the paper backup with safe access limited to my wife and I. I installed the safe and it is hidden. No one knows we have a safe.

Towards the end of 2019 I went back to ethexplorer to view the current value of my holdings (viewing the addresses only accessible through my ledger nano s).

What I found is that my holdings had been moved away from my addresses (secured by my ledger) in Feb 2019.

This wasn’t done by me. I had not removed my ledger from the safe until the time I checked the holding value.

I contacted ledger support to as WTF. They told me that I must have purchased my ledger through eBay and it was hacked. Sorry no. I provided them with my details and they confirmed that yes, I had indeed purchased it directly from them.

They then asked me about my paper key phrase backup, that it must have been given to someone else. Sorry , wrong again.

I explained and sent pictures to them of my safe.

What happened next was the final insult in this soul destroying experience, ledger just closed my support ticket saying that it had been resolved.

Bullshit. They did nothing.

So this is the problem with security and fraud in an online world. There is zero recourse for matters like these. Decentralisation and minimal regulation means “two forks to you” is acceptable customer support.

Really, what can I do. I’m based in Australia, ledger is in France. I lost over $30k which means nothing to no one on an international level (prosecution level).

In Australia I would have to report this as a crime, at my local police station to get a crime report number. What a joke. I would be laughed at upon the opening explanation.

Let’s consider that I Did get through that fun experience, then what?

Next step is to report it to the Australian Cyber Crime website. Having done this once before for a Gumtree (thanks for nothing ebay) scam I can tell you that this too goes no where.

Segway for a moment: on the Gumtree scam, I paid with Paypal and the payment to the recipient was flagged for fraud. I rang Paypal to ask them why as at the time i wasnt sure if it was the sender or receivers end fraud was claimed. Paypal on the phone advised they cannot say due to privacy constraints. The system (the privacy act) protect scammers and the networks keep taking the transaction fees with little recourse for their actions (or lack of).

The details of the Gumtree scam were:

I was caught in a postage scam. Goods paid for with a legal a contract for sale was in place, but never sent. The scammer even went so far (as part of the scam) to SMS message so they could then get screen shots and manipulate the text to support their scam (I am not kidding you). By the way, i still have the phone number for this scammer (it routes internationally), i do call it from time to time and yes the same person still answers. One day I will investigate this again and will litigate the scammer once i can get all their details. A price will be paid.

In speaking with our national postage carrier they told me postage scams happen everyday and they can’t do much about it. I couldn’t even get any details from them to do with my scammer because it was a breach of the privacy act and the carrier coil I’ll only disclose with a court order.

To get a court order you need to know who your taking to court/who to serve notice to.

It’s a fucking loop and the scammers are winning.

I love crypto. I believe it does have a part in the future. The thing is security and regulation are needed or faith in the system will be lost.

International (and local laws) are not in your favour.

Be safe with your crypto. Keep it in a large exchange is my recommendation. Don’t trust private companies with your hard earned money.

Remember, this is the new gold rush we are in. Thinking is optional in the quest for more gold.

Think twice before you make your decision.


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