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How to Recover Stolen Cryptocurrency Without Falling for a Scam?
Author: Catherine
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Getting scammed out of your hard-earned crypto assets hurts but what hurts even more is doing it again. Is there any way to recover stolen, scammed, or lost crypto? In this article, we will draw this line, give some tips on how to not become a victim, and instruct what to do if the worst did happen.

Key Takeaways

Why is it so Hard to Return Lost or Stolen Cryptocurrency?

There are multiple reasons why every crypto newcomer is told time and time again to exercise caution and learn the ropes of cyber security. In fact, some of these reasons make it almost impossible to completely solve the crypto asset recovery problem. Let’s run just a few of them down:

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So, if you accidentally sent funds to the wrong address or got unluckily drained, is there no chance of recovery? Frankly, the chance is very slim but there is hope. Further in the article, we will explain how to recover stolen cryptocurrency with blockchain analysis and tracing but before that, let’s review how to prevent it from happening.

How to Safeguard Against Common Scams and Exploits

Accidents happen, and you can end up sending assets to a dead address. Luckily, it is relatively easy to avoid it: always make sure that the recipient address is valid, correct, and is on the same blockchain network. Unfortunately, you can’t always secure yourself and your crypto wallet from hacking, social engineering, and scams.

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A lot of the time, these methods of fraud aim to exploit some kind of weakness in your infrastructure, knowledge, or behavior. By eliminating these weaknesses, you can considerably improve your chances of not falling victim. It’s especially important because if you walk into a scam yourself, your chances of recovering funds are as low as it gets!

I Already Got Hacked or Scammed — What Do I Do?

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As we mentioned, vigilance and caution can reduce the chances of you getting scammed but not eliminate them. Regardless of how you ended up in this situation, experts suggest doing the following to increase the chances of the recovery process being a success.

Feeling frustrated, angry, or desperate is normal upon realizing you’ve been scammed but acting on these emotions won’t help you. Take a moment to regain your composure, and reach out to people you can trust if you can. Once you’re able to proceed with the level head, do the next step.

Document the incident and gather evidence. Screenshot or take a photo of relevant information, communications, and transactions. Keep digital evidence such as URLs, email headers, IPs, and wallet addresses. Ideally, you should be able to end up with an account of the incident with some evidence and a timeline of events.

Next, this information should be reported to the appropriate authorities, for example, law enforcement agencies or cybercrime units. UK citizens can get help from Action Fraud; Europeans can get the relevant contact from Europol; and in the US, The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) of the FBI is the go-to agency. Your options are not limited to those: contact local law enforcement and financial regulatory bodies, too.

Initiating legal action can take up time, which is of the essence, so what should you do in the meantime? Get in touch with a cryptocurrency exchange, service provider, or wallet provider that you have used. If you have enough grounds to prove your funds were stolen, they can assist you with returning or at least stopping the lost cryptocurrency in its tracks. You can also trace the stolen funds with blockchain analysis yourself or let the specialized firms do it by request. They identify the paths and destinations of the stolen funds more efficiently with advanced analytics.

Cross-Chain Investigations in Reactor by Chainalysis
An example of the blockchain intelligence tools for advanced analysis: cross-chain investigation tool by Chainalysis.

Networks of blockchain services keep a shared list of suspicious and fraudulent addresses and work with law enforcement agencies. One of these networks is the Crypto Defenders Alliance (CDA), which unites providers (blockchain intelligence firms) and beneficiaries (e.g. cryptocurrency exchanges). With the information provided by the CDA members, blockchain service providers cooperate to stop the stolen funds in their tracks and increase the chances of asset recovery.

Lost but not Gone — Get a Cryptohunter to Help

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The algorithm above works for those who fell for a scam or were hacked. However, crypto assets end up being lost due to entirely different circumstances. The most common reason is losing the seed phrase, either due to not realizing its importance or data storage-related issues and even self-sabotage.

So-called cryptohunters are essentially white-hat hackers who help others recover their lost funds. They use data recovery to find the passwords or try to gain access to password-protected wallet addresses directly. One of the ways they do it is by getting hints from the customer and then brute-forcing the password. For their clientele, sharing this sensitive information is well worth the price of the trapped assets.

The usual fare for the recovery efforts is a percentage of the crypto they successfully recover. More rarely, depending on the method, cryptohunters can charge an upfront fixed fee. According to the CFTC, it is one of the signs that should at least make you cautious about the legitimacy of this service provider. Another red flag is being asked for bank account details: white hats would normally accept cryptocurrency as a reward.

Remember that hiring someone for crypto recovery is feasible only if you are absolutely sure the access to the private keys is lost, not compromised.

Scamming the Scammed: Crypto Recovery Fraud

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People in vulnerable positions are the prime targets of scammers, and trying to recover lost or stolen funds can victimize you further. There is a reason why even mentioning it on social media will summon a drove of bots to try and extort even more crypto assets from you. Make it a habit not to divulge a lot of information about your digital assets, in trouble and when all is well alike.

In addition to asking for money before rendering any services, crypto recovery impersonators typically make big promises, i.e. do it fast or with a huge guarantee. Keep in mind that unless the criminal cooperates one way or another, reversing a transaction sent to the scammer’s wallet is nearly impossible. The lack of a registered address or a phone number can also serve as a wake-up call when assessing the legitimacy of the entity promising to return your lost or stolen cryptocurrency.


Recovering lost or stolen cryptocurrency is a tall order but not a hopeless one. If your wallet was hacked or your account was compromised, build a case and report it to the relevant authorities. If you forgot a password or seed phrase, try finding a trustworthy cryptohunter.

ChangeHero cooperates with the CDA to help curb criminal activity in the crypto space. If you were led here while tracking your stolen Bitcoin or crypto assets, get in touch with our support — we will try to help to the best of our ability.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can stolen cryptocurrency be recovered?

Due to the decentralized nature of crypto assets, reversing a transaction is impossible unless the perpetrator of the fraud or hack cooperates. It is possible if law enforcement apprehends the criminal and reimburses the victims with the connection to the case. This is why it is recommended to make yourself known to the authorities if you suffer from a cryptocurrency scam or a hack.

Can stolen crypto be traced?

Blockchain technology allows for transactions to be publicly viewable and for the stolen assets to be traced. Analysts and intelligence companies possess advanced techniques that track digital assets even when blockchain explorers do not quite cut it.

How do I get my scammed cryptocurrency back? How can I recover my scammed cryptocurrency?

The probability depends on the case. If you become a victim of an exchange or protocol hack, it is generally easier to build a case against them with a lawyer specializing in crypto-related cases. On the other hand, if you lost crypto in a Ponzi scheme or due to social engineering, your best hope would be that law enforcement gets on the case and gets the criminals to reimburse victims’ crypto losses.

Does crypto refund for stolen money?

No, cryptocurrencies do not work like regular finance. Because of the decentralization, it is challenging to recover the lost or stolen cryptocurrencies. Cases of reimbursement are known but without cooperation from hackers or scammers or fundraising, this is near impossible.

Is it possible to recover stolen crypto?

If crypto assets were stolen and the address is in the hands of someone else, unless they send another transaction from this address, a transaction cannot be reversed. Sometimes, crypto service providers cooperate with blockchain intelligence firms and authorities to stop the flow of laundered and stolen funds. If a criminal tries to send crypto assets through a member of this network, they can freeze these assets and help law enforcement agencies return funds to the victims.

Can scammed crypto be recovered? Can I recover my scammed crypto?

It is generally more challenging to recover funds from scammers than hackers or thieves but if you get law enforcement on the case, it is possible. Likewise, networks of cryptocurrency exchanges and blockchain analysis companies stop the flow of funds sourced from crypto scams, making it a bit easier to reimburse victims.

Can the police do anything about stolen crypto?

The police and law enforcement agencies can collaborate with blockchain intelligence companies to track the stolen funds and identify the perpetrators. If the case includes victims, they can get their stolen cryptocurrency back in case the criminal’s assets are confiscated.