## How do I recover from a cryptocurrency scam?

23

8

I lost about $45,000 to crypto investment scam just recently. The company posed as an investment company that could deliver a certain percentage in returns if you deposit your Bitcoin with them. At first, it seemed real, it worked twice. I didn't realize they set up a bot(robot) that will completely shutdown your account after you have decided to invest high. I suddenly couldn’t access my profile, I complained to the admin, he gave a excuses that they had a downtime and needed to upgrade their website, this took over 2 months. Within that period,I begin to suspect i have been scammed. I contacted my bank to see if they could do anything about this situation, they couldn’t. Local police say it’s impossible to get my money back. Can anyone help me ? This has made me really frustrated as I invested all my savings. 21Assuming this is in the United States based upon your use of $, document everything and report the details of the scam to the FBI. Your money is likely gone, but they may be able to direct you further and the scammer(s) will make mistakes as they go and be brought down eventually. – ti7 – 2019-11-26T21:59:03.127

2

Try to find others who got scammed by the same "company" and pool your resources to pay for an investigation. IANAL but a class action lawsuit may be an option.

– Peter - Reinstate Monica – 2019-11-28T14:02:14.763

This does not deserve a whole answers so I will put in a comment. RedGrittyBrick and Bill Huneke have given some good information, Sadly you cannot count on the police. But bare in mind that every bitcoin transaction is traceable. Your transaction to the scam wallet, form there bitcoins will travel through some proxy wallets to cover the tracks. But, every single transaction is recorded in block chain. So your bitcoins can be traced to endpoint, which is some bitcoin exchange market where they were exchanged for real money. With any luck the exchange has records who received the money. – user6694745 – 2019-11-28T15:36:19.200

Did you send them dollars or did you send them bitcoins? – user253751 – 2019-11-29T14:02:54.993

46

How do I recover from a cryptocurrency scam?

You don't. At least, you don't recover your money. I guess you recover by learning from the mistake and doing things more safely in future. It may be worth asking an accountant if the financial loss on your investment can be offset against other taxable income.

The whole point of cryptocurrencies is to take control away from banks.

Local police say it’s impossible to get my money back.

True. for any loss less than $100000 the police are likely to only hand out advice. It isn't worth their while to try and investigate most cases where people willingly give their own money to unknown people in faraway countries. Foreign police forces often just ignore any requests for help in such matters. Although there's nothing I can find in the writings of Satoshi Nakamoto about law enforcement and Bitcoin, the blockchain is deliberately designed to promote privacy and an effect of this is to make it harder for police to investigate Bitcoin related crime. It is obvious that privacy was important to the designers of Bitcoin. Can anyone help me ? No. However plenty of scammers will offer to help you. Ignore them. This has made me really frustrated as I invested all my savings. This is understandable. Sorry for your loss, I hope you are able to put this behind you and move on. 22"The whole point of cryptocurrencies is to take control away from banks." And law enforcement. – JollyJoker – 2019-11-27T11:06:58.363 1Couldn't "how to recover" also include proper accounting for tax purposes? Might it at least be possible for OP to get a tax break on the money lost? – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE – 2019-11-28T01:44:42.083 @R interesting point. answer updated – RedGrittyBrick – 2019-11-28T09:40:54.913 @JollyJoker: Answer updated. – RedGrittyBrick – 2019-11-28T09:47:43.347 for any loss less than$100000 the police are likely to only hand out advice out of interest, what country you are talking about? USA? isn't that a sort of scam? company fake activity that has nothing to do with what they declared – Suncatcher – 2019-11-30T23:00:47.070

@Suncatcher: UK¹, No, Yes. (¹ based on presentation by ex-police regional cybercrime officer) – RedGrittyBrick – 2019-12-02T12:01:29.267

but is this 100K limit is based on some laws or just established common practice? can you file a complaint to prosecution or somewhere about police inaction? – Suncatcher – 2019-12-04T20:07:48.633

@Suncatcher: There is no fixed limit, it is just an example based on the example cases the ex-policeman described to us at a security awareness briefing. The decision whether to investigate depends on an overall assessment of the case. You can always complain to the police commissioner, to the independent police ombudsman or to your local member of parliament. As an example, nobody will spend $50000 investigating a dispute between someone who sent$500 claiming it was an investment to someone in Russia who apparently used a false name and where Russian police won't cooperate. – RedGrittyBrick – 2019-12-05T11:43:44.933

18

I'm sorry for your loss. As a 'tech person' reasonably informed about cryptocurrency, I concur that it is highly unlikely that you will ever recover any money.

Some information about Bitcoin and online scams

Technically, it is not hopeless though. You recovering (some) money would hinge on this chain of events:

• It is not completely impossible that the perpetrators will be identified. Especially if it can be established that there are a large number of victims, thus warranting proper investigation resources.
• If they are ultimately identified, it is possible they will be charged (quite likely in some jurisdictions, highly unlikely in others, I imagine).
• If they are charged and convicted it is possible (but not likely) that some of your money will be returned to you. Again, that probably depends on the jurisdiction but it also largely depends on how much money can be squeezed out of them compared to the number of victims.

How to identify the perps?

• It is false that bitcoin transactions are "untraceable". There was a recent global bust related to child exploitation, for example, that was built on bitcoin addresses
• Even if not traceable today, I imagine that in the next decade or two, public resources may make it easy to track down a large number of the more significant-sized bitcoin addresses. What doesnt work today, may still warrant follow up in a few years. Particularly in the case of large accounts
• Information other than bitcoin addresses can also help. They must have had a website, email addresses, maybe they phoned you. Any of those details may, in some cases, help find the perpetrators. It is certainly possible to 'cover your tracks', but not everybody does this and does it correctly.

What you can do

Collect all the raw information (all emails, dates and times, phone numbers or call logs, the bitcoin ATM into which you put your cash or other currency exchange details). Take that all that raw data to law enforcement. Maybe, try various branches of law enforcement. Maybe try to find a way to connect with other victims so that the importance of your case is increased (you would have to contract a knowledgeable programmer to attempt this).

Professional money recovery?

Apparently, there are services you can hire that specialize in this. Some of them seem to imply they don't charge unless they are successful. You might want to spend some time browsing Google search results such as these. I know nothing about these.

Obviously, be very careful since some of these may be tricky (but legitimate) or even fully fraudulent. Some of these may be cynically built on the theory that someone who has fallen for a scam should be easy to scam a second time. But if you can find a service that looks good and you figure out some way to validate it as a trustworthy (maybe get someone to help you with that), it might be worth trying out.

In my opinion these services are, theoretically, not necessarily fraudulent. (How's that for a recommendation?)

Conclusion

All this is probably a lot of work and might even entail more money invested and probably low chance of success. But, given how ignorant most people are about Bitcoin and online scams in general, I wanted to weigh in. If you've got the time and the will, I think you deserve to be able to consider all your options.

"They must have had a website, email addresses". This is definitely where OP should start. It may not lead very far, but for people not very knowledgeable in the workings of cryptocurrencies, this can still be a treasure trove of information, especially if any of those are hosted in the US or other friendly country. – jcaron – 2019-11-29T16:55:38.813

9

Short of having law enforcement and the legal system whose jurisdiction the scammer(s) reside in compelling them to return the funds, you are out of luck.

Bitcoin transactions are irreversible. Once they have the coins in addresses for which you do not own the keys, there is nothing you can do to recover them.

Your only option may be to treat this as an expensive lesson. If it is too good to be true, it probably is.

2I am not even sure BC was even involved. It could as well be that the scammers took the money, put it anywhere safe and pretended they invested it in something like BC. In the end, everything around that what happens behind such a systen is scam and fake, so… – glglgl – 2019-11-27T12:45:41.077

2

Your best bet is to report to the proper authorities. Contrary to popular belief, Bitcoin transactions are in fact traceable. There is a slight chance that the scammer(s) proceed to make a mistake and withdraw the BTC you transferred in a way that sheds a light on their identity.

0

If you know at least one BTC address of the scammer than analytical tracing can start. Another post is flagged as related to this one: Looking for someone to help me recover stolen BTC There are addresses listed with the message that they belong to the scammer. The first one belongs to the exchange Luno.com so the scammer moved the coins directly as deposit to a service. I'm too lazy to type the other addresses from the picture but I assume you'll find similar situations. If you're sure that the scammer used these addresses and you want more information then pls paste it here in a copy/paste version.

In most cases it's not so easy but in case the scammer cashed out there then the exchange might know the id or bank account data of the scammer. Or at least a withdrawal address of the scammer.

You need law enforcement support to get client data from an exchange.