When you have to send Bitcoin (BTC) to anyone with a wallet address, you want to ensure that it is legit and valid before making the transfer.
Sometimes there may be a mistake somewhere in the lengthy wallet address; sometimes, you do not know the receiver personally, and you want to check, verify and ensure the Bitcoin address is not a scam address. No matter the reason, it is always a good practice to check, verify and validate the Bitcoin address you are dealing with.
This article will show you all the five (5) steps you need to do before you send your Bitcoin transaction over to the other party.
How to Know if Bitcoin Wallet Address is Safe Before Sending
Here are the five (5) steps you should check before sending your cryptocurrency.
Step 1: Check using Bitcoin Address Validator
First, you want to ensure that the wallet address is indeed a valid Bitcoin address.
Bitcoin addresses are between 26 to 35 alphanumeric characters long, starting with either 1, 3 or bc1. These addresses are prone to mistakes, especially when one or more characters can be carelessly removed or included unintentionally.
An example of a Bitcoin wallet address is 1AGc95HivEs4YK7cLJF9MtrCKmkeE3xo6H
A Bitcoin Address Validator will ensure that the wallet address is valid and there are no mistakes in the format.
You can use the two (2) tools below to check;
AWebAnalysis Validator is an online bitcoin address validator that supports the P2PKH, P2SH and Segwit address types. It is free to use, and you can check up to a maximum of 50 Bitcoin addresses.
Bitcoin Address Validator
Bitcoin Address Validator is another free online bitcoin address validation tool where you can easily paste the lengthy wallet address into the tool. It will notify you if it is a correct Bitcoin address before you send any funds to anyone.
Step 2: Check for Reported Scams
Before you send BTC to anyone you do not know personally, it is very important to check the Bitcoin address to determine if it has ever been reported as a scam, malicious or extortion address.
You will copy and paste the wallet address on each of the services shown below to make sure it has not been previously reported or flagged before.
Scam Alert is both a scam reporting platform and a scam check search engine. You can file a report easily on its webpage by filling up the scam type, the wallet address and the description, where you can fill in any other details you deem necessary to alert others.
The scam check feature allows the input of the wallet address and will return a summary result when there is a positive hit. See the example below.
Bitcoin Abuse is a well-known database of reported ransomware, blackmailers, fraudsters and extortion wallet addresses. There are thousands of reported suspicious and fraudulent wallet addresses made by the public each month.
You can use Bitcoin Abuse to report abuse, query your wallet address on the database, and monitor stolen bitcoins on the platform.
Step 3. Check using free Blockchain Explorer
This is a quick and easy way to use the blockchain explorer to check on your bitcoin wallet address for its previous transactions and final current wallet balance.
The Bitcoin blockchain is a permanent and public record database, which means every single transaction ever made to date is publicly available to anyone who queries the database, and its record is immutable.
Go to any free blockchain explorer like Blockchain.com and input your wallet address there. You can also come back here to confirm your transaction when you have sent funds to the receiver. Under the transaction will show the word, for example, “3 Confirmations”. Bitcoin transactions typically require between 3 to 6 confirmations to be regarded as confirmed transactions.
If you want a quick way to find out the current balance of the wallet address, use BitRef. It is a simple online tool. Just input the wallet address, and it will instantly compute the current BTC balance of the wallet.
Step 4: Check using Google
Copy and paste the wallet address on Google Search and see the results.
If there are results of this wallet address being mentioned on websites and forums, this may call for a deeper investigation of why. Some wallet addresses are donation addresses, so it is common to appear on multiple sites. However, if this is claimed to be a personal bitcoin wallet address belonging to the person, you may want to check on this further.
If you see Google search results as hits from blockchain-related sites, it is all right as wallet addresses get indexed by Google from the blockchain explorers.
Step 5: Check using Blockchain Forensics Tools (Optional)
This step is optional. Suppose you have commercial blockchain forensics and analytics tools like Chainalysis and Elliptic. In that case, you can check the waller address and determine if it comes from a reputable exchange or a known wallet provider. You can have some form of high-level checks on where this wallet is coming from.