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Customer Support: The First Line of Defense Against Crypto Scams

July 11th, 2024Michelle LumpkinsMichelle Lumpkins

Scammers are getting more sophisticated and emboldened when it comes to defrauding consumers. Our recent ‘Safe in Six’ blog post explored the six critical questions consumers must ask themselves before initiating a transaction at a cryptocurrency kiosk. In this second in our series, we explore how well-trained customer support teams help prevent scams and keep customers safe.  

CoinFlip is one of the few Bitcoin kiosk operators that provides 24/7 live customer support across all its markets. Since the start of 2024, CoinFlip’s customer support team has prevented hundreds of transactions from moving forward, due to suspicions of fraud. Our customer support specialists are trained to ask the right questions to quickly identify whether a customer may be a potential scam victim. That training and knowledge is critical to creating another layer of protection and security for customers and is one of the reasons why CoinFlip’s customer support team was honored with the 2021 and 2022 Stevie Award for Customer Service excellence. 

Our blog team recently sat down with CoinFlip’s Associate Director of Customer Support, David Hill, to learn more about his team and how they help protect customers from falling victim to a scam. 

Q: Tell us a little bit the customer support role at CoinFlip.

A: Our job as the customer support team is to ensure a simple, safe, and secure experience for everyone that transacts with us. Whether it's troubleshooting technical issues, responding quickly to customer inquiries, educating users, or proactively stepping in to prevent a potential scam, you can expect a ‘white glove’ and highly personalized experience from our dedicated support team who are standing by to help you when you need it.   

Q: Why is customer support important as a consumer protection tool? 

A: Customer support isn’t just about fixing issues or teaching someone how to use our services. Our team serves as the first line of defense to help identify people who are potentially at risk of falling victim to sophisticated scams. In the case that a customer has fallen victim of fraud, we assist them by providing information to report the fraud Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, the FBI’s central hub for reporting cybercrime. We take it a step further by requesting detailed information, which is then escalated to our Compliance team for further investigation and reporting to law enforcement as necessary. 

Q: What training does the team undergo to protect customers that call in? 

A: CoinFlip’s Customer Support Team receives regular training throughout the year related to compliance requirements and financial crime typologies with an emphasis on fraud prevention. They are trained to detect common scam tactics such as sense of urgency, duress or panic, unusual sources of funds or reasons for purchasing, and more. Our Customer Support Team also receives empathy and active listening training to build rapport with customers who may not realize the circumstance they are in could be a scam. This rapport emphasizes CoinFlip’s commitment to protecting our customers while simultaneously building trust by providing them with warnings and education. As a result of these efforts, hundreds of transactions have been halted due to suspicions of fraud because a customer called our well-trained support team for help. 

Q: Can you share insights into the common types of fraud customers may encounter in the crypto space and how CoinFlip addresses these issues? 

Scams are getting more advanced every day. Some common scams include investment scams, romance scams, phishing scams, social media giveaways, and imposter scams.   

Imposter scams are one of the more common issues for our team. Scammers will pose as celebrities or public figures from various backgrounds, such as comedians, world class violinists, and even household names like Elon Musk. To make matters worse, these sophisticated scammers instruct their victims to keep the details of their interactions confidential under the guise of protecting the “celebrity’s” privacy. This makes it harder to identify the deception, stressing the importance of our team practicing active listening. Our team is well-trained to spot such scams and they’ve been given the tools to use smart techniques to warn customers directly, if not prevent the scam entirely.  

When it comes to your hard-earned money, nothing is more frustrating than dealing with an AI voice recording. At CoinFlip we pride ourselves on offering 24/7 customer support, where a real person always picks up the phone to help.  In addition to our live support, CoinFlip prioritizes consumer protection by utilizing best-in-class blockchain analytic tools. These tools screen and block sanctioned wallets and wallets linked to criminal activity. They also help our team detect and report potential suspicious activity through the filing of Suspicious Activity Reports, as required by law. 

Q: What advice or best practices would you recommend to customers to ensure they keep their crypto assets secure and avoid falling prey to fraudulent schemes in the digital currency space? 

A: Like traditional banking, you should never share your private login with someone you don’t know. Similarly, when it comes to your crypto, you should never share your private keys with anyone and it’s crucial they are recorded somewhere safe and secure, like a piece of paper locked away in your safe at home that only you can access. Some investors like to take their security measures a step further by using a self-custodial wallet which allows investors to have full control over their private keys and funds without relying on a third party like an exchange or custodian to hold the keys on their behalf.  

The best way to combat online fraud is to educate yourself, be aware, and ensure you are safeguarding your assets. To help educate our customers, CoinFlip’s Customer Protection Officer recently shared our ‘Safe in Six’ threshold test designed to keep you safe from scams.  

Before initiating a transaction, ask yourself:  

  • Are you being asked to make an unsolicited financial transaction by an unknown third-party? If so, STOP.

  • Are you being urged to act quickly and/or in secrecy, under the threat of harm in order to satisfy a request from someone unfamiliar? Are you being instructed to lie? If so, STOP.  

  • Are you being asked to pay a government fine or a utility bill using a new and unfamiliar payment method like cryptocurrency or gift cards? If so, STOP

  • Does the offer sound “too good to be true” or feel like an “easy money” investment? If so, STOP.  

  • Is someone you’ve initiated a romantic relationship with online now asking you to transfer or deposit money into a kiosk or other bank account as a condition of the relationship? If so, STOP.  

  • Is someone asking you to pay or use cryptocurrency to secure a job offer, clear a virus from your computer, clear an arrest warrant, jury duty notice, or to secure your bank account? If so, STOP

If you or someone you know is unsure if they are being scammed while using any of our services, please remember our Customer Support team is just a phone call away. Our team is available 24/7 by phone via 1-773-800-0106 or email at [email protected].  

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