Guest Column | Scam alert: No one can recover your lost crypto investments

The failure of a major cryptocurrency exchange has wiped out many crypto investors, and it could lead to potential scammers looking to cash in. Find out how to avoid them.

Some scammers offer so-called recovery services to people who have lost money to fraud. If you’ve lost money in crypto, scammers might try to convince you they can get your money back. (Spoiler alert: they can’t.) They’ll impersonate the government, a company, or another organization saying that they can help you recover all that money. They’ll make up lots of stories to convince you they will. But first, they’ll tell you to pay them a fee. Or give them your financial information so they can put those lost funds back into your account. But if you do either of these things, your money will be gone.

To spot and avoid recovery scams, remember:

– Don’t pay anyone who contacts you, offering to recover money you lost to a scam. Nobody legit will call, email, send a letter or contact you on social media with this kind of offer. And if you pay any fee they charge, or give them any account information, your money will be gone.

Check out any offers if you’re still tempted. Remember, it’s not how government agencies work, and no legit company or organization will contact you about getting your money back. But if you’re curious, search for their name online with the words “complaint,” “scam” or “review.” See what people say.

Know that only scammers will tell you to pay by gift card, cryptocurrency or wire transfer. It’s a sure way to know that whoever you’re dealing with is a scammer.

Spot a recovery scam like this? Tell us at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

(Cristina Miranda is a consumer education specialist with the Federal Trade Commission.)

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