FBI Alerts Public to Cryptocurrency Recovery Scams Involving Fake Law Firms

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning about a new wave of cryptocurrency scams targeting victims of previous digital asset frauds. Cybercriminals are now posing as lawyers and law firms, offering services to recover lost cryptocurrencies while actually aiming to steal more funds and personal information.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), these fraudsters are employing sophisticated tactics to appear legitimate. They claim collaborations with government agencies like the FBI and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to build credibility. Additionally, they reference real financial institutions and money exchanges in their communications to create a false sense of authorization and capability to trace and recover lost funds.

The scammers typically approach victims through social media platforms, making various claims to lure them in. Common tactics include:

  1. Requesting personal or banking information under the guise of fund recovery
  2. Asking victims to state the judgment amount they seek from the initial fraudster
  3. Demanding upfront fees with promises of balance payment upon fund recovery
  4. Directing victims to pay supposed back taxes and other fees to recover their funds

The scale of this problem is significant, with IC3 statistics revealing that victims of these secondary cryptocurrency recovery scams paid over $9 million to fraudsters between February 2023 and February 2024.

It’s crucial to note that while legitimate state and federal agencies can sometimes track, freeze, and recover stolen cryptocurrencies, these services are provided free of charge. Victims are never proactively contacted with requests for personal information or fee payments.

The FBI advises the public to be cautious of any private sector entity claiming the authority to issue seizure orders, as this is likely a scam. Before sharing any personal information or sending payments, individuals should thoroughly research the company making recovery claims.

For those who suspect they’ve been contacted by fraudsters or have fallen victim to such scams, the FBI recommends filing a detailed report through the IC3 portal, including all available information about the scammer and any financial transactions.

This latest warning underscores the evolving nature of cryptocurrency-related crimes and the importance of vigilance in the digital asset space.

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