Word Of Advice

No matter how hard governments try to regulate it, the Scam industry is still alive and kicking.

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Contact your bank or credit union immediately if you suspect an unauthorized transaction from your bank account
If the transaction was made using a debit card or other electronic fund transfers, you may have additional protections under federal law. Electronic fund transfers include ATM transactions, purchases using your debit card, some online bill payments, and payments you’ve set up to be deducted from your account automatically.

Let’s say you lost your debit card or PIN or either was stolen. If you notify your bank or credit union within two business days of discovering the loss or theft of the card, the bank or credit union can’t hold you responsible for more than the amount of any unauthorized transactions or $50, whichever is less. If you notify your bank or credit union after two business days, you could be responsible for up to $500 in unauthorized transactions.

Also, if your bank or credit union sends your statement that shows an unauthorized debit, you should notify them within 60 days. If you wait longer, you could also have to pay the full amount of any transactions that occurred after the 60-day period and before you notify your bank or credit union. In order to hold you responsible for those transactions, your bank or credit union would have to show that if you notified them before the end of the 60-day period, the transactions would not have occurred.

If an unauthorized transaction appears on your statement, but you did not lose your card, security code, or PIN or had any of them stolen, you should still notify your bank or credit union right away. At the latest, you must notify your bank within 60 days after your bank or credit union sends your statement showing the unauthorized transaction. If you wait longer, you could have to pay the full amount of any transactions that occurred after the 60-day period and before you notify your bank. In order to hold you responsible for those transactions, your bank would have to show that if you notified them before the end of the 60-day period, the transactions would not have occurred.

In extenuating circumstances, like lengthy travel or hospitalization that keeps you from notifying the bank within the time allowed, the notification periods above must be extended.

Once you notify your bank or credit union, it generally has ten business days to investigate the issue (20 business days if the account has been open less than 30 days). The bank or credit union must correct an error within one business day after determining that an error has occurred. Your bank or credit union then has three business days to report its findings to you.

If the bank or credit union can’t complete its investigation within ten (or 20) business days as applicable, it must generally issue a temporary credit to your account for the amount of the disputed transaction, minus a maximum of $50, while it continues to investigate.

In certain circumstances, however, it does not have to issue a temporary credit. For example, the bank or credit union may require you to provide written confirmation of the error if you initially provided the information by telephone. If you are asked to follow up in writing and you do not do so within ten business days, the bank or credit union is not required to temporarily credit your account during the course of its investigation.

The bank or credit union must then resolve the issue in 45 days, unless the disputed transactions were conducted in a foreign country, were conducted within 30 days of account opening, or were debit card point-of-sale purchases. In those cases, you may have to wait as long as 90 days for the issue to be fully resolved.

If the bank or credit union determines that the transactions were in fact authorized, it must provide you with written notice before taking the money that was credited to you during the investigation out of your account.

Tell us if you believe you were victimized by a fraud that involved commodity futures, options on futures, swaps, commodity pools, binary options, foreign exchange, digital assets, or other derivatives.

If you have experienced other types of fraud and don’t know where to send your complaint, the Department of Justice has a directory that can help. Also, federal agencies work closely together and will forward your complaint to the appropriate agency.

If the fraud occurred in your local community, you could also report the matter to the police and your district attorney. You may need to file a police report if you plan to file an insurance claim for fraud losses.

Also contact your state financial regulator or attorney general. State authorities may choose to bring actions in state court.

The sooner you take action, the better you can protect yourself and help others. Getting all of your stolen money back may prove difficult, but recovery is about more than just regaining your losses. These six steps can help you guard against further theft, report the fraud, and start the recovery process. They are for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal or investment advice or a comprehensive list of solutions. You can also conduct these steps on your own at little or no cost. However, if you feel you need legal help, consult an attorney.

Your first steps should focus on stopping further losses and gathering the information you have about the scheme and the perpetrators while it is still fresh. Then, report the crime as soon as possible. The sooner you report, even if you think the matter is insignificant, the easier it’ll be for authorities to track down the fraudsters or stop others from being victimized. Next, look into how you can repair the damage and avoid fraud in the future.

Don’t pay any more money

This may sound obvious, but some schemes use the promise of large returns to persuade victims to send one fee after another, even when the victims suspect something is wrong. These fee frauds have increased significantly online in recent months. Typically, legitimate brokers will deduct fees and commissions from your account, and not demand more money to release your earnings or principal. U.S. brokers will never withhold or collect taxes.

Also, be on the lookout for recovery frauds. These frauds target recent victims and claim to be able to get the stolen money back if the victims first pay an upfront fee, “donation,” retainer, or back taxes. The perpetrators of these advance-fee frauds often pose as government officials, attorneys, or recovery companies. Learn more about the warning signs of recovery frauds.

While the events are still fresh in your memory, develop a timeline and collect documents and information that could help when it comes time to report or investigate the fraud. Write down conversations you had with the fraudsters with the approximate dates and times they took place. Documents and information to collect and keep include:

Names, titles, or positions used by the fraudsters.
Social media profiles, group posts, chats, or other online interactions.
Website addresses and screen shots.
Emails and email addresses. Save these electronically, or print them out with the full header information. (Your email provider or a web search can describe how to capture header information.)
Phone numbers you used to contact them.
Account information, statements, trade confirmations, disclosures, and sales materials.
If credit cards were used, include the receipts or statements.
Exchanges of digital currencies, such as bitcoin.
Records of other forms of payment including cancelled checks or receipts for wire transfers, money orders, or prepaid cards.
Any correspondence received, including envelopes.

If you provided payment information to the fraudsters, take the steps necessary to block access to your accounts and protect against identity theft.

Credit cards. If you used credit card information in the fraudulent transaction, contact your card issuers immediately to make a fraud report. As part of the process, you may be required to get a new account number.
You may also want to contact one of the three national credit reporting companies (below) and ask that it place a fraud alert on your credit file. The credit reporting company you contact will automatically report the fraud alert to the other credit reporting companies. A fraud alert will notify potential creditors to verify your identity before extending additional credit in your name. Placing a fraud alert is free and typically lasts up to one year or until you ask for it to be removed.

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit

Scammers can target you online, by phone or by email. Know what to look for so you can spot a scam and protect yourself

Scammers don’t need your credit card to use it. They only need your card details

You notice unusual purchases on your credit card statement.
Check your credit card statements regularly, especially if your card is lost or stolen. If you see something you don’t recognise, report it to your bank

If someone contacts you out of the blue to offer you a loan, it’s probably a scam

The loan seems too good to be true (for example, a really low interest rate).
There’s no credit check or you’re guaranteed approval.
They ask for an up-front deposit or your bank details.
The offer is ending soon and they pressure you to act now.
The company claims to be in Australia but has an international phone number.
If you don’t recognise the lender, check the company details online and read reviews. Make sure it’s not on our list of companies you should not deal with.

Phishing is when a scammer tries to steal your personal information. The scammer pretends to be a company you know, like a bank or an internet provider. The scammer may contact you by email, phone or text, or on social media.

The email address doesn’t match the company name (also look for hotmail, gmail or outlook in the address).
There are spelling mistakes or the information doesn’t make sense.
You’re asked to update or confirm your personal details.
You’re asked for immediate payment.
Don’t click on any links. Delete the email or message straight away.

Only shop on websites you trust and make sure the website is secure. The web address should show a closed padlock or key and start with ‘https’.

If you’re using a public Wi-Fi network, don’t send or receive sensitive information. For example, don’t log in to your online banking or social media accounts.

Shred letters from your employer, bank or super fund before you throw them out. These letters often contain personal details that scammers can use.

By law, all lenders must hold a credit licence from ASIC. You can check if a lender is licensed on ASIC’s website. Choose ‘Credit Licensee’ in the drop-down menu when you search.
If they don’t have a licence, don’t deal with them and report them to ASIC.

online scams and fraud
identity theft
email spam and phishing
attacks on computer systems
distribution and possession of offensive and illegal content
cyber-bullying
online trading issues

Once your virtual currency has been stolen it is incredibly unlikely that you will be able to recover it. In theory, it’s possible to track your stolen bitcoin by monitoring the blockchain – in practice, however, this is made difficult by both the anonymous nature of the currency and the fact that the thief will most likely use a bitcoin exchange to trade the currency for normal cash straight away. However, money does leave a trail and you may be able to follow it to the identity of the criminal. Even if you successfully use public ledgers to trace the currency, since most cryptocurrency is decentralized there aren’t many routes you can follow to get it back.

Check your devices for malware – It is worth considering that a malicious software infection may have led to the hacker accessing your currency. Scan the devices you use to handle your currency and make sure they are clean. You can follow our guide on checking for and removing malware here.

Call your bank – If the transaction had related costs that hit your bank account – such as transaction fees or deposits – then contact your bank immediately and let them know it is a unauthorised/fraudulent transaction.

Follow the money – You can follow the transactions of the wallet address that your funds were scammed into. If you notice the scammer attempt to transfer funds from the wallet to cryptocurrency exchanges to sell for flat currency, report to the relevant exchanges immediately. An opportunity to catch the scammer is to follow the money trail through blockchain explorers and trace your lost funds. You can use browser-based blockchain exploring software to ‘follow’ the payment through to an end bitcoin address. Once you have this address you can check whether the owners of the end address. In order to trade crypto to regular money on most popular exchanges, the thief would need to submit KYC (Know Your Customer) information, such as names, addresses, and ID information. Contacting the exchanges can potentially help you to track down the scammer’s identity, which can help to lead to his/her arrest. This is another reason why it is important for you to file a police report as soon as the incident has taken place.

Hire a bounty hunter – If you are willing to pay a decent amount for the return of your funds there are websites where you can post a bounty. Experienced blockchain searchers will investigate the theft and see if they can recover the funds for a price. Sites like Bitcoin Bounty Hunter are a good place to start. However, these services can often be expensive and often don’t provide any more information than what is already publicly available.

Don’t talk publicly about owning virtual currency – If it is easy to work out that you own a cryptocurrency from your social media activity then you are much more likely to be a target.

Ensure that you have multi-factor authentication enabled. Use an authenticator app rather than the SMS option. If the option to disable SMS authentication exists then do it.

A new, clean email address that you will only use for the virtual currency account is best. This reduces the chance of you being targeted via your email account.

Keep your cryptocurrency off the internet, in a “cold wallet.” “Cold wallet” is not a brand, it’s a concept of storing bitcoins offline (not connected to internet) so that it reduces the opportunities for hackers to steal via online techniques.

A number of exchanges have been breached. Spread your investments across exchanges to minimise the impact.

Take time to improve your general online security. Use sites like Get Safe Online and Cyber Aware to understand what good securit.

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Do:

Do verify the registration and disciplinary history of any broker, adviser, or trading platform with the CFTC, NFA, SEC, FINRA or the appropriate state regulator before doing business with them. While registration alone cannot protect you from fraud, most frauds involve unregistered individuals, entities, or products.

Stay current on the latest frauds and schemes by monitoring credible sources such as state and federal government or law enforcement agencies, including the CFTC, SEC, Department of Justice, FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, FINRA, National Futures Association (NFA), your state securities regulator, or attorney general’s office.

Get a second opinion from a trusted adviser, family member, or friend before making an investment. Seeking advice from someone you know and trust is good way to slow down a sales pitch and avoid fraud.

Let unknown callers go to voicemail or have a refusal script ready to end cold calls quickly. “I don’t participate in phone solicitations,” then hanging up, works just fine.

Delete—don’t open—unsolicited email. Often, opening an email will signal a spammer that the email account is active and more spam will follow.

Verify business addresses by doing an online map search and looking at the location using the street-level view. Many fraudulent websites will use fake addresses, which can be easily spotted with a virtual visit.

Review privacy settings on social media platforms and conceal or delete information that pinpoints where you live, where you went to college, what you do for a living, where you trade or bank, how often you invest, etc. Personal information can easily be pieced together by fraudsters and used to target you for future schemes.

Check email addresses carefully to avoid phishing attacks.

Learn about the common persuasion tactics fraudsters use.

Don’t:

Don’t respond to unsolicited sales calls or email.

Don’t give credit card, payment information, or personal information over the phone, in an email, or to a website that is sent as a link in an email. Fraudsters often pose as financial service professionals or government officials. Instead, end the call or close the correspondence, and look up the customer service contact information on your own.

Don’t fund trades or investments by wiring money, sending prepaid credit or gift cards, using digital assets such as Bitcoin, or making other unusual forms of payment.

Don’t communicate using encrypted messaging apps with “brokers” or others promising to make you money. These apps provide global access and hide the true location of the person on the other end. You could easily be dealing with an offshore fraudster posing as a person in the United States.

Don’t trade or invest in vehicles you don’t fully understand. If you can’t explain it, you probably shouldn’t invest your money in it.

Don’t engage with people promoting investments or trading schemes on social media. Especially don’t engage with people who promise they are “legit” even though all the others are scams.

Don’t trade or invest with unregistered entities or individuals that operate outside the United States.

Don’t engage with people you are introduced to through third parties or organizations. Affinity fraud targets people through social groups and use those connections to build credibility. Places of worship, professional organizations, service organizations, and others are common targets for affinity fraudsters.

Bitcoin is generally considered to be one of the safest cryptocurrencies, yet things happen, and then there are scammers who target cryptocurrencies. No one is safe, including the top traders too. Even top and skilled traders got conned, scammed, and lost their precious earnings. Although there has been very little information about scammers and the processes, the recovery options are not completely alien. Let’s learn and discover the best options available to recover lost or scammed bitcoins. Let us also see how to avoid going through painful situations again.

It is not an exaggeration to say that until recently, the probability of retrieving scammed bitcoins is slim. Gratefully, these guaranteed methods of recovering scammed bitcoins are lifesavers. In this article, let us go through these best ways to get back your hard-earned bitcoins after losing them to scamsters.

CONCLUSION

Besides being repeatedly warned by experts and top traders, beginners and other people are still committing the same mistakes. If you are someone who has lost their funds and if the question is how to recover lost funds and avoid such situations, this article answers all your questions. Besides the above-mentioned steps, you can also utilize bitcoin recovery tools to retrieve your scammed wealth. Don’t waste your precious time brainstorming about the process and scams involved. Take actions right away and make use of the information in a wise manner to become one of the examples of the victim stories.

As scams involving cryptocurrency and bitcoins have become more common, the information regarding the recovery methods and ways to avoid falling victims to such scams is an essential thing first to educate and empower yourself and avoid falling victim to such scams. If you got scammed with your bitcoins, there is still hope through the ways mentioned above.