You would think someone like Steve Wozniak would be pretty savvy when it comes to protecting his online investments. But even the Apple cofounder is susceptible to scammers.
While attending the Global Business Summit in New Delhi, the tech giant talked about his interest in cryptocurrency (via EconomicTimes): “Bitcoins to me was a currency that was not manipulated by the governments. It is mathematical, it is pure, it can’t be altered.”
Yet, he admitted that he had fallen prey to a bitcoin scam. “The blockchain identifies who has bitcoins… that doesn’t mean there can’t be fraud though. I had seven bitcoins stolen from me through fraud. Somebody bought them from me online through a credit card and they cancelled the credit card payment. It was that easy! And it was from a stolen credit card number so you never get it back,” Wozniak said.
Bitcoin is currently valued at $10,000, so Wozniak lost about $70,000.
Joe Blackburn, a cryptocurrency entrepreneur and head adviser at Cryptohunt, told MarketWatch: “There is so much that can go wrong. If this guy scammed Steve Wozniak out of 70 grand who knows how much he has made off of other people?”
Wozniak said that he bought the cryptocurrency as an experiment, not for investment. “I had them so that I could someday travel and not use credit cards, wallets or cash. I could do it all on Bitcoin. I studied which hotels and facilities accepted Bitcoin… it’s still very difficult to do so. I also tried to buy things online and trade Bitcoin online,” he noted.
He bought the coins when they were selling for about $700 a piece and sold most of them, explaining: “I didn’t want to watch the price everyday… I sold all except one. It was enough to experiment.”
MarketWatch has several recommendations for those who want to protect their cryptocurrencies. The site recommends getting bitcoin off exchanges and off the internet and storing the private key, or PIN, in a safe deposit box or other secure spot. Blackburn advises people only sell and buy bitcoin through trusted transfers and exchanges. He also suggests people use two-factor authentication. Since cryptocurrencies are not insured by the FDIC, there’s little a person can do if someone steals his or her money.