Cryptocurrency fraud: How one company helps track and recover digital assets

Investment scams, including cryptocurrency-related scams, were the number one riskiest scam in 2023, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Earlier this month, the FTC issued a consumer alert regarding online love interests wanting to help the person they're talking to invest in cryptocurrency.

"We're looking at around $53 billion that is dripping out of the U.S. economy every year, through only crypto scams," said Bezalel Eithan Raviv, co-founder and CEO of Lionsgate Network, a company that helps people recover funds lost through cryptocurrency scams. "The U.S. is the most targeted nation, and Texas is the most targeted state in the U.S., so we can say that Texas is the most targeted space in the world as far as crypto scams."

According to the FBI's Elder Fraud Report, over $1.1 billion in crypto was stolen from Americans aged 60 and over through scams in 2023.

But Raviv said they're also seeing more and more young professionals being affected.

"A very well coordinated looting campaign, a very intelligent, smart, illusive, crypto scheme, is something you can't understand until you're in it," he said. "These people are extremely clever, and they work on emotions."

While it’s more commonly known that these scams can often spring from a WhatsApp or Facebook message, Raviv said a growing trend is the use of a fake LinkedIn profile.


"They will develop a protagonist, someone who is in the realm of crypto," said Raviv. "It has many followers and likes and comments, and they will draw you in through the suit and the tie."

At Lionsgate, they're tracking the trends and tracking the stolen money.

"The best way for them to stash it is crypto…and now, to recover it is basically to know where it is to understand the intricacies of exchanges and tokens and blockchains and blenders and mixers," said Raviv. "The one thing we provide in crypto scams is the tool, not the solution. The tool is basically the missing analysis, which is the evidence to law enforcement. So when we have a great streamlined recovery process with law enforcement, the money can be frozen within less than a week and retrieved by court order, sometimes in another week. I'm not saying it's the case for everyone…There are a lot of parameters that have to come about in order for us to be able to do it."

However, to keep it from getting to that point, don’t forget that if it's too good to be true, it probably is. These scams can also be sophisticated.

"As a scammer, you can create a campaign specifically, let's say, for people that have been divorced in the past three months. You can target specific people on their disadvantages," said Raviv. "And there you go. You can create a story that will align with that specific group."

For more resources or to report cryptocurrency fraud, click here.