Scammers Exploit Victims Twice by Offering Fake Recovery Assistance


July 09, 2024

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Scammers Exploit Victims Twice by Offering Fake Recovery Assistance

Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a warning against an emerging scam targeting individuals who have already been defrauded.

Reportedly, scammers attempt to prey on past victims by promising to help them recover their lost funds in exchange for money. They normally demand an upfront fee, a tax payment or a portion of the recovered money.

Scammers Use Past Victims’ Details to Strike Again

According to the ACCC advisory, threat actors often keep information about individuals they have exploited in the past, with some even selling the data to other scammers. Thus, criminals can quickly pinpoint a potential victim by sifting through the malicious data.

Once they zero in on a target, cybercrooks masquerade as trusted entities, including cybersecurity firms, government agencies, charities, or legal advisors to feign legitimacy.

After gaining their trust, the crooks demand personal information under the guise of verifying the victim’s identity. For instance, if the target has fallen victim to a crypto scam, perpetrators demand their personal details, claiming that they need them to set up a digital wallet where the funds will be directed once recovered.

People Over 65 Among the Most Common Targets

In some cases, threat actors may even demand remote access to the victims’ devices under the pretense of collecting necessary identification details. People over 65 are reportedly among the most common targets and suffer the highest average losses.

“We are very concerned about revictimisation which can compound both the financial and emotional harm caused by scams,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said. “For example, we know of a person who was the target of multiple scams in succession. What began as a romance baiting investment scam was followed by a money recovery scam, which led to a remote access scam, and finally identity theft.”

Two Websites Promoting Fake Recovery Services Already Shut Down

Lowe noted that the commission has identified and shut down two websites involved in promoting these recovery scams. However, these actions aren’t likely to facilitate the recovery of any lost funds, considering that most scammers quickly transfer stolen funds offshore, complicating recovery efforts.

The ACCC’s advisory includes recommendations on identifying these scams, including avoiding hasty decisions, checking the legitimacy of the scammer’s claims, taking proactive measures to protect yourself, and reporting the malicious attempt.

Shielding Yourself and Your Loved Ones Against Scams

To combat the rising threat of sophisticated scams, particularly those targeting victims of previous frauds with false recovery promises, a tool like Bitdefender's Scamio could be instrumental. Scamio is an AI-powered scam detection chatbot that gives users a second opinion on potential fraud attempts by analyzing various inputs such as emails, text messages, images, and even QR codes.

Scamio is free and available on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and your web browser. You can also help others stay safe by sharing Scamio with them in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Romania, Australia and the UK.




Vlad's love for technology and writing created rich soil for his interest in cybersecurity to sprout into a full-on passion. Before becoming a Security Analyst, he covered tech and security topics.

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