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USA - Things to do after you got scam

Upon learning: Report, report, report - complain everywhere, ASAP, with as much documentation as possible, and without waiting for complete documentation

Report to your bank - should be the easiest step; banks will issue a trace/charge back request of your money and will be especially helpful if you wired money

Report to your cryptocurrency exchange - How different crypto exchanges deal with claims of fraud can vary a lot, but you do your part. In the wild west of cryptocurrency regulations, it'll be good to do your part so that so that if ever your exchange is ever found in the future to be negligent, you're covered.

Report the wallet addresses for blacklisting - google Bitcoin Abuse Database for Bitcoin addresses, and info[.]etherscan[.]com/report-address/ for Etherium and USDT addresses (pig-butchering scammers just loooove USDT). This will make scammers' lives harder.

Gather and document all - screenshots (of them & the website), chat logs, transaction IDs, wire transfer receipts. Pig-butchering sham websites often change every 3-4 months. Sometimes sham website even say it is getting investigated for something, so they ask you to delete your records for your safety. DON'T.

Report to your local police - the most painful part, but something you just have to go through for official purposes. What happened to you IS A CRIME, and officials who might be able to do something about it have to know about it. You might think local police is useless, but if every victim feels that way and not report then no one will ever take action. You might find out that there are other victims in your area.

Intake officers should be professionals, but I hear some cops are asses. Personally I would choose to in-person or phone reporting to local police rather than just online reports, to get in details of the scam right and make sure your report is heard. Online reporting might box you in the wrong categories (credit card fraud? check fraud? online shopping fraud?). Often there are no boxes for crypto fraud, and even that doesn't fully capture the nature of this scam.

I find you will have to explain to police that this is not just a case of irresponsible or failed investing, or bad advice from a friend. The sham website was created for the sole, express purpose of defrauding people, any profits you see on the website screen on your "account" is NOT real, you ALREADY lost the money so you do NOT wait for the sham website to change its mind about withdrawals, and your online "friend" is NOT YOUR FRIEND. Not a lawyer, but when asked by a confused cop what charge or crime to put in, I suggest throwing in the term "grand larceny / theft".

Chinese or Hong Kong police might know a lot more about pig-butchering / Shazhupan scam, but unless you sent money there or positively know the scammers are there, you are outside their jurisdiction and won't help you.

  • Report to federal / national fraud reporting centers - FBI ic3[.]gov for USA, RCMP Anti-fraud centre for Canada, I'm not sure for other countries.

  • Report to financial regulators/authorities and consumer protection agencies of your country e.g. BBB, FTC, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, FINRA, CFTC, state attorney generals, etc. However this is largely useless if you don't have a target of complaint, and that sham website certainly is a fiction that doesn't exist anywhere on paper.

  • Report to the social media sites and dating apps you found your scammer - The most useless exercise, but add to the clamor for these tech companies to invest more and take responsibility in cleaning up their sites.

  • Report to your friends and family --or not. I don't know your relationship with them, and it's really so embarrassing (no, no, it's not your fault). But you might find out from friends that others have been scammed by this too!

  • If your total deposits are less than $10,000 USD, you might be able to this off: convince your scammers you want to test withdrawal before you fully trust it. Say if successful, you'll put more and even invite your rich friends, too. Do this smoothly, play your character.

Possible options for recovery (some controversial, nothing illegal, no guarantees). If your individual* loss is below $50,000 USD, that sadly is still too small to make the following efforts cost-effective. You can do all the above at best and move on.*However if you can find others scammed by the same sham Chinese pig-butchering website, your total losses together could make the following worthwhile...:

Find out where your cryptos went using blockchain explorers. I personally like oxt[.]me and bitinfocharts[.]com for BTC, and ethplorer[.]com and wanchain explorer for USDT and ETH, because they sometimes label if the wallet addresses are associated with a crypto exchange. They're not so effective nowadays though because criminals move their loot around a lot to obfuscate their tracks. In many cases you'll have to hire a blockchain forensics firms/experts to do that. Swear off people that say they can hack back your cryptos even without upfront fees; they are scammers. Legitimate ones do work with upfront fees on an hourly retainer model with a contingency (success) fee. Their websites should be very old (>4 years, check on whoisdomain lookup), and their work still requires working with law enforcement or courts. That's as much as they can do, merely help gather and present evidence to law enforcement or courts.

Once you find out if your cryptos ended up in an exchange, immediately contact the exchanges the scammers used and ask nicely for your money back. They probably won't and ask for screenshot evidence, so do comply. They probably still won't, especially the notorious exchanges the scammers like using (they very well know what shazhupan is). But if later found that they did absolutely nothing even when presented with evidence they themselves asked, they can be held liable for facilitating / profiting from money laundering.

If your crypto tracers and private investigators have found a possible a target, you can now file a lawsuit or raise your complaints to financial regulators and consumer protection agencies they are under --if you can find those out.

All these can actually be done for you by global law firms that specialize in these cases, but they're expensive; you should shop around.

Controversial and risky: there are legit scam recovery firms but they act more like consultants. They trace where your money went and pursue the financial institutions involved in every step of the scam. Pursue meaning what? They will help draft letters and negotiate with the financial institutions and financial regulators that you deserve some relief. Technically you can do all of these yourself, but they just have more experience, know the right arguments to say and know which regulatory regime the financial institutions are under. Yes, they also ask for upfront fees and success fees, but that is all negotiable. Don't sign up until you have researched their identities deeply and know who are they regulated by. Again, their websites should be very old. Do due diligence.

One can think that the police or government can do all these for you "for free", but strictly, they will only do so on issues of public interest and crimes against the state. It will take years and millions more of scammed money. Otherwise the police will just tell your to file a private civil lawsuit. Justice is expensive. That is why you, as member of the public, should report, report, report.


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