You Need to Know About “recovery” Scams

So you’ve just discovered that you’ve been scammed out of $1,000. You feel emotional and frustrated, and understandably so. You post it on Twitter, notifying your friends and family so they don’t get targeted by the same scammer. Then, all of a sudden, you are contacted by a “recovery agent”, claiming they can get your money back. Sounds great… but this is another scam. Don’t let bad actors add insult to injury – here’s what you need to know about “recovery scams” and how to avoid them.

How does recovery fraud work?

Once you’ve been the victim of your first scam, you’ll be contacted by phone, email, or social media by someone claiming to be a government official, lawyer, or “collection agent.” They may claim to have already received your money, or they may be working with official agents or the court to distribute the returned funds. To get your money back, they tell you, you will only need to pay a down payment. Once you’ve been involved, they’ll probably come back to you looking for extra handouts to cover extra “fees” or pay taxes. The scammers will keep asking you for money until you are destroyed or finally realize what is going on.

Recovery scammers prey on your frustration at being scammed into promising to fix things for you. They can claim more than just getting your money back; If your online accounts have been hacked, the scammers may pose as “account recovery agents” who are experienced in getting a hacked account out of the hands of attackers.

These scammers are quite successful in the cryptocurrency space, a relatively new market with a large number of inexperienced users who have become easy targets. The scammers will look for people who tweet or post publicly about being robbed to find their next mark.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers can also find seemingly gullible victims through a “list of suckers.” These lists, distributed in the scam community, will include most of your personal information, including your social media addresses, your phone number, email address, and more. (This explains why you may be contacted shortly after you become a victim of a scam, even if you haven’t made it public.)

As we have advised in the past , unless you personally know the person you are transferring money to, never send money via Zelle, PayPal Friends and Family, or Peer-to-Peer Venmo, as there is no way to get money back from these services, if that – something goes wrong. This is especially risky if that person claims they can get your account back or your money back.

Can anyone help me if I have been scammed?

The sad reality is that there is no fraud police, and law enforcement is generally not required to return money on your behalf, especially when the scammer is likely in another state or even another country. Never trust an “official” agent who claims to be able to help you get your funds back or even your social media account. Never pay up front or share your bank account information with anyone.

What can I do if I have been scammed?

The best thing you can do is contact your bank and let them know what happened so they can block your accounts to protect them from further abuse. Then report the fraud to the FTC and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center . You can also report this to your state’s attorney general , which may help others avoid similar situations. If the scammer claims to be doing legitimate business, report it to the same agencies and the Better Business Bureau . Before giving any of your personal information (or money) to a business, research it on reputation sites like Scam Advisor , Website Validator , and URL Void , which will tell you how reputable (or not) these recovery companies are.

Reporting the situation quickly and contacting your financial institution can improve your chances of getting your money back, notes the National Consumer Advocacy Center , though depending on how the scam was carried out , your chances of recovery may be slim.

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