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With so many scams washing through cyberspace, more people than ever are becoming targets of scams. Being scammed is a terrible experience. It leaves victims not only with less money in the bank, but feelings of anger, disbelief, embarrassment, and betrayal. You feel a loss of trust in others and perhaps in your own judgment. Could you have seen it coming? Were there warning signs you ignored? An internal voice you didn’t listen to? There is of course always something we can learn from any situation but, fundamentally, it is not the victims’ fault. The truth is that most scammers run terribly sophisticated operations and make use of the most effective tools of deception. Unfortunately, they are pros at what they do and they manage to fool many of us with their persuasive promises. The more important question becomes: what can I do to recover funds from scams like these?

 

What are my options if I want to recover money from scams?

Once they’ve picked themselves off the floor, most victims ask themselves what they can do to get their money back. Should I report it to the police? Talk to a lawyer? Contact my bank? Hire a specialist to help me recover money from scams? Let’s look carefully at each of these options.

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Option #1: Report it to the police

You can report someone who has defrauded you directly to your local police station or the Australian Government’s ReportCyber website. However, authorities can only take action if you know the offender’s real name or IP address. Without it, the police don’t have the time and technical expertise to ‘dust for digital fingerprints’ in individual cyber fraud cases, especially if the scammer lives in another country. As explained in a recent blog, the sheer scale of cyber fraud is overwhelming police, and they can’t keep up. Reporting scammers to the police is therefore more about warning others and likely won’t help you recover money from scams yourself.

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Option #2: Talk to a lawyer

If the police can’t help you recover money from scams, how about a lawyer? Legal eagles know how to pursue civil cases and can potentially be an important partner later in the process. However, they too need to know who to take action against. Without the offender’s real name or IP address, there isn’t much that a lawyer can do.

Option #3: Contact your bank

Talking to your bank is helpful if you paid the scammers via credit card within the last six months. Your bank can then perform a simple chargeback. This is great news, as it may result in you getting your money back! However, if you paid the scammers with by wire transfer or, worse, cryptocurrencies, the news is not so great. In that case, there is not much the bank can do to recover funds from scams for you. They don’t have the technical investigative capacity to find out where your money ended up, particularly when scammers are overseas.

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Option #4: Hire a specialist cyber fraud investigator

When it comes to identifying scammers, your best option by far is to hire a specialist cyber fraud investigator. They have the required analytical know-how and technical investigative capacity to examine who might be behind a scam. Using website forensics, cryptocurrency tracing and crypto-asset investigation, experienced investigators can undertake the necessary globe-spanning technical cyber detective work. Armed with their detailed investigative report, you can then go to the police, your lawyer, or an asset recovery company. Once they have the crucial information of the scammer’s name or IP address, they can then help you recover funds from scams. This will likely involve additional costs and it’s not a cheap process, so consider if your loss is worth the investment.

Investigations sound complicated. I thought it was easy to recover funds from scams?

Unfortunately, the short answer is no. Illegal scam syndicates use sophisticated methods to hide their tracks and disguise their operations. Additionally, they are often located in foreign countries. As a result, a cyber fraud investigation therefore means undertaking highly complex work in a dynamic environment. Unforeseen challenges might arise, hurdles have to be overcome and individual results simply cannot be guaranteed. For that reason, it is important to receive a fair, balanced, and honest upfront appraisal of the costs and benefits. Insist on this! If anyone tells you an investigation is quick and easy, and that results are guaranteed, they are lying to you! More likely, instead of helping you recover money from scams, they’re part of a secondary scam to defraud you again.

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Wait. Some funds recovery operators are actually scammers themselves?

Sadly, the answer is yes. The vast majority of so-called funds recovery firms are actually secondary scammers. Rather than helping you recover money from scammers, they are looking to steal even more of your money. They do this by charging you money upfront and asking for “fees” and “taxes”, while never delivering anything. If you google “recover funds from scams”, any ads will most likely be from secondary scammers. You can compare the ad names that pop up to operators we have unmasked in our recovery scam blog. Recently, the Australia Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) put out a dedicated warning of what it calls “follow-up scams”. Be careful and don’t fall for their false promises!

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How can I protect myself against funds recovery scammers?

When fraudsters have already swindled you out of a lot of money, you are suspicious but also desperate to recover funds from scams. You might not want to hear a specialist cyber fraud investigator’s careful and honest explanation that the required work is complex, comes at a cost and that results cannot be guaranteed in advance. Instead, the siren call of dodgy operators – it’s going to be quick and easy, success 100% guaranteed – is tempting. But it’s also devastatingly effective: taking you in with their false promises, they’ll simply fleece you of even more money. Here is how you can protect yourself against funds recovery scammers:

  • Ignore any funds recovery operators that contact you (rather than you contacting them).
  • Be sceptical of anonymous comments and reviews of funds recovery operators on third-party sites and fora, particularly from alleged victims of scams. These are often fake and designed to lure in more victims to the secondary scammers.
  • Look at the money recovery operator’s website. Do they have private investigator license or police accreditation you can independently verify? Do they publish the names of their director or key staff, whom you can independently verify on LinkedIn?
  • Beware of aggressive sales tactics by funds recovery operators. No-one should pressure you into engaging anyone’s services.
  • Spot the number one warning sign: unrealistic promises. Anybody who is telling you that a cyber fraud investigation is quick and easy is lying. So is anyone that promises a guaranteed successful outcome. Seasoned investigators know that the work is complex, painstaking and that no outcome can be guaranteed. Stay clear of liars!
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So how do I know I can trust Cybertrace?

Established in 2015 by Dan Halpin, Cybertrace is one of the most respected Australian cyber fraud investigators. As the first Australian provider of cryptocurrency tracing services to the public, we have unrivalled expertise and technological capacity. Furthermore, Cybertrace partners with universities and has Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with various police forces. Finally, our licenses and accreditation can all be independently verified, as explained in a recent blog post. In the seven years of our existence, we have completed over 2,300 investigations. Out of these, we established a direct link to scammers in at least 75% of cases. Furthermore, we identified valuable intelligence that can be referred to authorities to progress the investigation in a whopping 98% of cases. These numbers speak for themselves. We are a vital first step to gather the intelligence you need to recover funds from scams with your lawyer, the police or specialist asset recovery firms.

Does Cybertrace offer Asset Recovery Services.

Yes. Cybertrace have a great deal of experience with Assets Recovery and we take an Intelligent approach to Asset recovery services. We only quote for asset recovery services when we have conducted the investigation and have identified the offenders. We won’t offer asset recovery services unless we know who was responsible. 

Ok, I’m sold. What do I do now?

If you, your family, friends, or colleagues are in need of a premium intelligence-based investigation product, look no further. Or do – and then use the key points in this blog to compare what you find with our services! Cybertrace is the real deal. Contact our experienced investigators today to see how we can help you recover your money from scammers!

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