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This is a general question and answer on ethereum.stackexchange.com to all "I got scammed, please help" posts.

This applies to you if you think:

  • You have been scammed
  • You think something might be a scam

Popular scams include

Other malicious issues

Outside scams, there exist other cybercrime that may cause you to lose your assets

  • Malware esp. on Microsoft Windows desktop computers directly extracts the private key from the wallet
    • Your computer gets infected with a malware when you install pirated software or random EXE files from Internet
  • Transaction address stuffing, also known as dust attack scams, to fool one to copy a wrong Ethereum address
  • Leaking your private key by storing your private keys or seed phrases on Google Drive, LastPass or other non-reputable password manager, Github, or other similar unsafe manner

This is a generic question to address the flood of pleads of asking help for scams. Moderators are free to edit both the question and answer to add more information it.

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  • The phishing attacks are a real problem because tools like evilginx2 make it simple to do. Trezor was affected by this after bad actors got a hold of their subscriber email database and sent emails to everyone asking them to change their password. Everything worked, including the 2FA. But when you logged in your account was drained. Always check the address bar. Triple check it. Feb 1 at 9:57
  • The problem is not that your email gets leaked, out the fact that Ethereum token standards are broken in a way allowing easy phishing with confusing confirmations. This is the enabled for the so-called "wallet drainer" industry. Other blockchains do not have similar problem and it is specific to Ethereum ecosystem. Feb 1 at 16:05

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What to do in the case of you got scammed

On public Internet forums, like this and Reddit, no one is able to help you. Watch out for parties who offer help to get your money back for more money, as they are scammers themselves.

  • Generally, it is very difficult to get any money back from scams, like it is from any international crime. It's better to accept the fact that the money is gone at this point.
  • File a report with a local police, because any counterparties like cryptocurrency exchanges are required by the law to not to disclose anyone's identity. Only a police has the authority to get this information.
  • Contact a local lawyer specialised in cybercrime. Scams need to be reported to the police as police is the only with effective tools to research scams.
  • For a remarkable sums of more than tens of thousands of dollars, professional asset recovery companies many help you. Getting any assets back always involves litigation, is often international, slow and very expensive.
  • Any smart contract cannot be "hacked" or "modified" to get your money back. Asking about this and flooding the forums with questions like "how do I undo the MEV bot I saw in Youtube video" is unproductive, as no one can help you here.
  • Do not use any wallets that have been compromised. Create a new wallet from the scratch - wallets are free anycase. If your computer was infected with malware it needs to be formatted.

There have successful asset recoveries through litigation from romance scams, so it is not unheard of.

How to prevent getting scammed

  • If you suspect it is a scam, it likely is
  • If the returns are too good to be true, it's a scam - there is no magical way to make money or profits from the thin air
  • Don't try to trade, snipe or buy random tokens on sites like DEXScreener or Poocoin
  • Don't use trading bots unless you understand the underlying trading mechanics
  • Never give any payment for anyone you met in an online chat, or someone who you have not met in a real life
  • Do not approve transactions you do not understand what they are
  • Use a mobile app based wallet instead of a desktop wallet, as Android and iOS have much better cyber security than Microsoft Window

For Ethereum developers and security researches

Further information

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