Safety first! Keeping safe when trading cash
The P2P trading ecosystem has historically relied heavily on cash-in-person traders. From the early days of bitcoin, when exchange alternatives were scarce, to the present day, when P2P trading is popular for a variety of reasons, cryptocurrencies have always been subject to this phenomenon. What isn't discussed nearly enough, though, is how to be secure when engaging in such transactions and make the most of your experience overall.
Convene in a Communal Area
Whether you're exchanging in person for a new phone, an old game system, or bitcoin, it's important to take precautions. Carefully arranging a good area to meet for the exchange is one simple thing you can do to aid.
Shopping centres are only one type of public venue that might be beneficial when security personnel are present. Some places benefit from having cameras installed because individuals are less likely to engage in undesirable behaviour when they are under constant surveillance. Also, try to stay away from locations where there will be a lot of people. With so many people around, it's difficult to concentrate on the task at hand and dangerous to count money.
You can feel safe and at ease when conducting business in familiar settings, such as a cafe you frequent often or a fast food restaurant in your neighbourhood that happens to be across the street from the police station.
deciding where to meet in person to exchange cryptocurrency for cash.
Inviting a friend along is encouraged.
While it's true that nobody likes to do business with someone who has a large entourage, having a single pal tag along won't raise too many eyebrows. Pick a friend who isn't going to laugh at you or make you feel silly if you do this. You're looking for someone to support you rather than detract from your focus.
As a buyer, this might provide you peace of mind, as nobody like carrying around large sums of cash, especially for more substantial deals. Therefore, whatever you can do to put yourself more at ease without alarming the other trader is often a good idea, and this one is very easy. After the exchange is finalised and your obligations have been discharged, you are free to enjoy your friend's company; nevertheless, you should not remain in the same location as where the exchange was completed.
Keep Your Hands Off It!
If you're both nervous about the in-person cash deal happening, you could be tempted to hand up the cryptocurrency as soon as the seller arrives. It's imperative that you avoid doing this. By doing so, you abdicate responsibility for the outcome.
To make sure that the deal has been fulfilled and that you're both ready to part ways, take your time. The deal can be completed with a high degree of confidence at this point. If you are selling something, you should make sure the money is safe and not sitting out where it may be easily stolen. Avoid running into trouble at this late stage of the deal by not rushing through the essential last stages.
Don't Linger After the Deal Is Done
It might be tempting to prolong your stay in order to eat, shop, or otherwise enjoy your time here. However, if you have a lot of cash on hand as the seller in a sale, it is risky to stick around the identical spot after the transaction has been completed. Even if you don't, the fact that at least one person you know knows where you are and that you're a crypto fanatic makes you a tempting target.
When the deal is done, it's in your best interest to go. Proceed with your day as usual, but if you are carrying any cash from the transaction, find a secure location to deposit it. It's a common sense guideline, and it's preferable to err on the side of caution. No one will fault you if you take a break to satisfy your hunger or chat with a friend you brought along to the transaction. Remove yourself from the context of the deal you just made by going somewhere else before you carry on with these activities.
Stay away from "Man in the Middle" scams
The risk of chargeback is one reason why many individuals prefer to trade in person for cash. Even if this is a genuine worry, there are still several things you need to watch out for while doing in-person transactions.
One of the biggest dangers of a cash-in-person exchange is being the victim of a man-in-the-middle fraud. Warning signs include the other merchant indicating that a friend, acquaintance, or employee will represent them during the trade. On the other hand, there are situations when you might not detect any unusual behaviour until it's too late. A con artist will set up two deals with you, one as the buyer and one as the seller, and then set up a meeting between you two to steal your money. The target is the seller, who will release the cryptocurrency after receiving payment from the customer, who will then send the cryptocurrency to the scammer. Due to the buyer's misunderstanding, the situation will likely worsen until one of you figures out what's going on. The fraudster will instantly cash out and withdraw the funds once the cryptocurrency is released, leaving one of you to absorb the loss.
You may avoid this by taking some easy precautions. The first is to know who you're dealing with before releasing money or making a trade. If you want to know what they'll be wearing or driving, you shouldn't rely on trade chat messages telling you that. Instead, you may verify that you are talking to the correct person by asking the other trader to authenticate their username in the P2P marketplace. Moreover, you may check with them to be sure the trade number they're currently using is correct. If there is a third party, it means still another exchange, and the totals will no longer add up.
The success of a man-in-the-middle attack depends on the victim's carelessness and failure to ask pertinent questions. By confirming specifics with the other trader, you can eliminate the danger. However, this step is required before any money may be sent. It's possible that you'll recognise you've been scammed. Be cautious, ask pertinent questions, and walk away if you still have doubts.
Confidentiality Is Key
Disclose personal financial matters in private, not in public. To avoid this and make your counterparty more at ease, you should exercise discretion in conducting a deal in public. Wearing crypto-related gear to the meeting can seem like a good idea, but you should really save it for crypto meetups or something.
In addition to being prudent, discretion is required while dealing with money. The last thing you want is for others to notice you while you count money or pass it over. If you're sitting at a table, you might be able to count your money without anyone noticing, as it will be obscured by the edge of the table. You may keep the transfer of funds covert by using an enormous envelope. It may facilitate snooping without raising suspicions that valuables are concealed within an envelope.
Look Over Your Notes
You certainly don't want to return home from a deal only to realise you've been duped by counterfeit money. Regrettably, this raises legal issues and causes irrecoverable damage. Fortunately, if you take the time to examine attentively, you should be able to spot counterfeits of recent banknotes from many nations. However, this is not the case with all fiat currencies.
If the other person is worried, don't try to reassure them by stating "everything seems okay" and then walking away. No sane person would object to you taking the time to verify the cash, and anyone pressuring you to take the cash and deliver the crypto quickly should raise red flags. They might just be nervous, but it's better to know before the money is sent into your account than afterwards.
Don't Take No for an Answer
Setting up a deal to exchange cash in person ought to be a two-way street, not a demand. Don't settle if you're not happy with the meeting location, the people there, or anything else. Whether this is your first trade or you've been doing them for years, you should always strive to reach an agreement with the other party that leaves both parties feeling confident and comfortable with the upcoming transaction.
If your counterparty is reasonable, finding a solution that satisfies both of you may take some time and back-and-forth, but it is certainly doable with some effort. When you've established a good rapport with a trader and worked out the details of a pleasant encounter, subsequent trades with them should go more smoothly.
When in Doubt, Opt Out
If anything doesn't seem right or your gut tells you to proceed with caution in any kind of trade, crypto or otherwise, do so. If something about a potential deal makes you feel uneasy, don't force yourself to complete it. Always remember that there are other potential trades, scenarios, and traders out there. If dealing with cash in person is difficult, you may always look into alternative similar payment options, such as cash by mail.
Just chill out and enjoy yourself. If you have any reservations, just walk away.
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Bitcoin Babe is one of Australia's longest running P2P traders that deals with cash, having completed thousands of cash transactions since 2014. With this experience, clients can expect a safe and secure trade, whether it be in person or via the cash by mail options.
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This awesome article was inspired by gingerbreadfork on the LocalCoinSwap Academy