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Be aware of investigative scams: scams of scams
Unfortunately, crypto scams may not end where you think. Every week, we see non-established so-called investigators and investigative firms take advantage of the vulnerability of victims of scams to take money from them, bring no real value, and run away. This is what we call scams of scams: the scam of crypto scams victims.
In this article, we explain how those specific scams occur, how to recognize them and how to protect yourself from them.
How do asset recovery scams usually occur?
1- The victim of a scam publishes on a platform that they have been the victim of a scammer and lost a substantial amount of money.
2- A so-called investigator or investigative firm contacts them, sometimes using a fake legitimate-looking email, and promises that they can help the victim recover their funds if the victim pays them an amount upfront and/or provides specific (often personal) information.
3 - If the victim of the initial scam does not answer fast enough, the so-called investigator or investigative firm may tell them that they are about to emit a freezing order to get back their stolen funds given they are working with other victims of the same scam and need access to certain information as fast as possible.
4 - The victim of the scam, who has already lost a significant amount, is hesitant as they want to get their funds back. They may pay the so-called investigator or investigative firm or provide personal information.
5 - The so-called investigator or investigative firm may ask for more money or information and provide fake or non-impactful reports before they run away and stop responding.
6 - The victim of the initial scam has unfortunately not received their initial funds returned and has lost an even more significant amount.
How can you recognize them?
A few signals should alarm you right away:
1- An investigator or investigative firm reaches out by email or through a platform when you have not initially contacted them.
2- They make you believe they can recover your funds, and they are almost guaranteed to be successful. In reality, there is never a guarantee that funds can be recovered.
3 - They tell you they can help you recover your funds at a low cost. They state that the cost of civil litigation cannot be estimated without a complete initial assessment of the case, which requires specific information.
4 - They try to create a sense of urgency, telling you that this offer or opportunity is only available within 24 hours (less or more).
5- They pretend they know where the stolen funds are and can emit freezing orders. Only law enforcement can emit a freezing order. The ability of law enforcement to do so depends on several factors, such as: the jurisdiction where the stolen funds are currently located, the differences in how various foreign law enforcement agencies classify digital assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers, amount loss, and the nature of the platform where the stolen funds are currently located. For example, if the funds have moved to a regulated exchange, it may be more straightforward for law enforcement to reveal the holder of the receiving address.
6 - They ask for personal information right away.
If you have been a victim of a scam and want to receive personalized investigative options regarding your case, we encourage you to report your case on Chainabuse and opt-in to get support.