Data Security

Insult to injury: scammers found preying on fraud victims


Scammers are increasingly looking to target users who recently fell victim to fraud.

This according to researchers with security service provider Netcraft, who found an uptic in scam operations that lure in victims with the promise of recovering lost accounts and funds.

The researchers say that these so-called “recovery scams” usually involve the scammers building a list of potential marks either by advertising their services on social media or by purchasing lists.

“Many recovery scammers contact known victims of fraud, either through social media (for example, if the victim has posted publicly about being scammed) or by obtaining their details from a so-called sucker list – a list of people who have previously fallen for a scam that contains details such as their name, email address, or phone number, which is sold to fraudsters on the dark web,” the Netcraft researchers explained.

“In some cases, the recovery scammer may even be the same person from the first scam.”

The team noted that in addition to the major social networking platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (now known as X) the scammers look for victims on Reddit groups and YouTube videos discussing apps and services that are popular targets for fraud and account theft.

Once the fraudsters have set out their lures on the various platforms, usually via stolen accounts or fake profiles loaded with purchased followers, they set about winning over the trust of the victims.

The team found that in some cases the fraudsters will direct users to freelance platforms such as Fiverr. Other scammers will advertise via Google Ads and others will go so far as to set up fake sites advertising themselves as account recovery services for hacked accounts and cryptocurrency funds. Some will even reference high-profile crypto-fraud cases and claim to be able to recover those stolen funds.

Once the victims have confidence in the recovery services, the scam and payout is rather straightforward. The scammers ask for a “recovery fee” payment up front and then simply skip away never to be heard from again.

The researchers note that the scams are particularly devious and effective because they prey on people who are desperate and often in financial straits after falling victim to the previous fraud.

“Being a victim of fraud can be devastating enough, but that’s not always the end of the story,” they note.

“Often, fraud victims can be targeted again – only this time by people claiming that they can recover the victim’s initial losses.”

Get daily email updates

SC Media's daily must-read of the most current and pressing daily news

By clicking the Subscribe button below, you agree to SC Media Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.