There are a lot of MyEtherWallet scams out there but is MyEtherWallet a scam itself? The answer is no. I know this might sound a bit confusing at first but you will see what I mean.
I’m guessing that you saw something about someone getting scammed by “MyEtherWallet” and losing a bunch of Ethereum. There are plenty of stories like this out there and its something that has been going on for a while. A lot of money has been lost by victims of these scams and in this short post I’ll be going over how you can stay safe.
First however, I think its important to go over what exactly MyEtherWallet is and what it does.
MyEtherWallet in a Nutshell
My Ether Wallet, or MEW for short, is an free open-source interface that allows users to easily interact with the Ethereum blockchain by sending transactions. Basically what it does is provides people with a virtual type wallet so that they can manage their Ethereum on the blockchain.
The wallet itself does not store your Ethereum nor does it save your private keys. MEW just provides and easy way for users to interact with it.
Why MEW Can’t Be a Scam
As I mentioned above, MEW runs on an open-source code. Open-source means that anyone can take a look at the code and see if it is malicious in any way.
MEW has been around for quite some time and is the most popular Ethereum wallet interface used today. Many qualified coders have looked at the code and determined it is safe.
Transparency is key when it comes to gaining users trust and there is no way to be more transparent than to make the code open-source.
If the MEW developers ever decide to implement malicious code then it will be known pretty much right away. But I don’t ever see this happening.
The My Ether Wallet Scams That Exist
The MEW scams that are out there aren’t actually MEW. From what I have seen the most common type of scams that exist are “phishing” scams. Basically these are scam site that people set up that look exactly like the real MyEtherWallet site but they are completely fake.
The reason for these sites is so that the scammers can steal people’s private keys. They pose as the real site and then when users go to access their wallet and enter their private key, the scammers are able to see this and because they now know the user’s private key they are able to steal the funds that are in that particular account.
The real MyEtherWallet website has a warning sign at the top of the page to warn users about these fake phishing sites, but the problem is that this warning might not be seen in time.
So how can you avoid these tricky scams? I’ll go over what to look out for…
Scam Tactics to Watch Out For
One of the ways that these scam phishing sites will get people to go to them so that they can steal their Ethereum is by running ads on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. These search engines have gotten much better at banning fake ads like this but you still need to watch out.
Below you can see a phishing ad for a fake MyEtherWallet site. As you can see the domain name is spelled “my.ether-wallet.co”. This is not the real domain name. The official domain name is myetherwallet.com, which you can see appeared right below the scam ad..
If I would have clicked on this ad (which I didn’t) I probably would have ended up on a site that looks identical to the real site. Some of these scams are very well put together so you really need to be on the lookout.
Phishing site domain names (the URL) are usually mispelled to appear to be the real. You will find all sorts of strange domain spellings. For example I saw someone post online about a site that spelled “myetherwalet.com”, which is missing the second t in the name. There are also sites out there that use non-English letters in the domain, some of which might look like an English letter but once you look closely you can tell they are not.
Domain names used to be English only but now they allow many different characters.
Tips to Avoid Scams
#1 – Don’t click on ads
There is no need to click on any ads. If you Google “MyEtherWallet” you will find the real site in the search. However, there may be ads at the top before the real results. These will say “Ad” in small print to the left. Don’t click on these ever when it comes to things like this.
I’m not saying that all ads are scams by any means but when there are tons of phishing scams going around like this you want to play it safe.
#2 – Double check URL
Always double check the URL. There can only be one real URL for MyEtherWallet so if the domain is right then you know you are on the right site.
What to Do If You Have Been Phished?
If you have went onto a phishing site but did not enter anything then you are probably in good shape. However, you still might want to do a malware scan on your computer to make sure nothing harmful made its way on. You could use a program like Malwarebytes for this.
If you were on a phishing site and entered your private key to access your wallet then you are probably out of luck. There is a good chance that the scammers got into your account and drained it right after you entered your key. However, you still might have a chance. What you are going to want to do immediately is go the the real MyEtherWallet site and send your Ethereum or tokens to another wallet. Get them out of that current wallet address asap.
“Unphish-able” Wallets You Can Use
If you want to play things on an entire other level of safety you can get a hardware wallet like TREZOR. TREZOR is integrated with MyEtherWallet and allows you to access the your wallet without ever giving up your private keys.
I don’t want to get too into how hardware wallets like this work here. But basically they will give you access to the blockchain (in this case through MyEtherWallet) without your private keys ever leaving the device. So even if you were to go to a fishing site there would be no way for them to steal the private keys. Hardware wallets can be plugged into computers with viruses and your crypto will not be in danger.
*There are also fake Trezors being sold out there that are scams. You can read a post I wrote about these too Here.
Key Takeaway Points
You shouldn’t be worried to use MyEtherWallet. It is a great, easy to use interface that is completely transparent and trusted. This should not scare you away from using them. However, you need to be cautious to make sure that you really are using the real MEW when you think you are.
If you want to play it extra safe then get yourself a trusted hardware wallet. This is what I use.
Questions, comments or concerns? Leave them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you soon 🙂