Scammers targeting previous victims in “recovery scams” 

With so many online scams to look out for, it can be hard to keep up. But, the experts have now warned about a new problem: “recovery scams”, sometimes known as “reloading”. These scams target previous victims, promising to help them get their money back. 

If you’ve ever been a victim of a scam, you likely experienced intense frustration and would do anything to recover your funds. Exploiting this anger, “recovery scammers” capitalise on victims’ emotions.

Scammers can acquire thousands of compromised accounts from the Dark Web and often trade information about their victims on “sucker lists” – compilations containing details such as your contact information, the nature of the scam you fell prey to, and the amount of money you lost.

Niamh Davenport, Head of Financial Crime at BPFI, explains, “The recovery scam often originates from the same perpetrators behind the initial investment scam, or the victim’s personal details have been shared or sold to other criminals.” 

The scammers will often pose as recovery agents, law enforcement, or government agencies. Armed with information from prior scams, fraudsters deceitfully inform victims about the previous fraud which makes them seem more credible. 

They promise to assist you in reclaiming your lost money – for a fee, naturally. They cite reasons such as “taxes,” “processing costs,” or “legal fees” and insist on upfront payment to proceed with the claim. However, once you send the money, they disappear, leaving you scammed for a second time.

There are several warning signs to watch for, including:

  • Urgency: Similar to conventional scams, recovery scammers pressure you with urgency to prompt hasty decisions.
  • Unsolicited Contact: Legitimate agencies like the IRS or FBI typically wouldn’t initiate contact out of the blue to offer fund recovery services.
  • Guaranteed Recovery: Recovering money lost in a scam is exceedingly difficult. Don’t rely on promises of guaranteed recovery.
  • Upfront Payment Requests: Legitimate agencies don’t charge upfront to assist fraud victims in recovering funds.
  • Unconventional Payment Methods: Be wary of requests for payment via cash, check, credit card, or especially cryptocurrency, gift cards, and wire transfers, which are challenging to trace and recover.

Protecting yourself is straightforward: verify all information provided by the person contacting you. If you suspect authenticity, independently search for the organisation’s official contact details online and call them to confirm. Avoid using any phone numbers or links provided by the person who contacted you.

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