In 2021–2022, the number of XRP giveaway scams where people lost large amounts of money dramatically increased. They all looked similar: scammers promised to double any amount of XRP that users send them, and then vanished after receiving the funds. Sometimes victims are asked to enter their wallet data including private keys, which apparently results in money loss.
It’s impossible to reverse a transaction that a user sends to fraudsters, but ChangeNOW does everything to help those who lost money in a scam: if our risk management system detects that attackers are trying to launder stolen XRP, we withhold the money and return it to legitimate owners. Over $100,000 worth of Ripple were saved this way during the last year.
How Do XRP Scam Giveaways Work?
To steal your money, fraudsters do their best to make the scam websites look legit. They display interviews of Brad Garlinghouse, the Ripple CEO, and offer you to ask a question in a support chat. An “icing on the cake” is the promise to double any sum of XRP that you send to the service. Screenshots from block explorers “prove” that scammers send their victims the 2X amount of Ripple coins, but an easy check is enough to understand that these pictures are fake.
One of the XRP scams.
To reveal malicious intent, one can simply copy the displayed wallet address and paste it into a block explorer. You will see how dozens, if not hundreds, of people were deceived — the explorer shows no outbound transactions, so people lose thousands of XRP. The idea to do such due diligence is good not only for XRP scams — this way you can check any platform that promises rewards.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to reverse a transaction that a victim sends to a scammer even if Ripple Labs learns about the case and wishes to help: all payments in a blockchain are irreversible. However, there is still a chance to return your funds.
ChangeNOW Returns XRP Worth $100,000
The main tool that helps us combat money laundering is our risk management system. Its goal is to monitor transactions sent to ChangeNOW, and if the system detects a suspicious one, it analyzes it by several criteria. If we see signs of illicit activity, we withhold the transactions and ask the sender to go through a KYC check and disclose the source of funds.
In most cases, the system detects suspicious transactions based on the fact that the involved wallet addresses were linked to illicit activity. We would be happy to tell you more about how the risk management system works, but in this case criminals could adapt to its algorithms and get past its checks.
In all cases when we withheld the laundered money and returned it to fraud victims, our risk management system helped us find the malicious transactions. Here’s the list of such cases:
- In March 2021, we returned 24999 XRP ($11800) to rightful owners.
- In April 2021, 10000 XRP ($11700) were withheld and sent back to fraud victims.
- In November 2021, we helped users return 57231 XRP ($68100).
- In December 2021, 10000 XRP ($8700) were returned upon a police request.
To learn more about how ChangeNOW returned money after scams and hacks, visit our Corporate Responsibility page.
Ways to Return Money after a Fake XRP Giveaway
In case you have become a victim of a scam, the best thing to do is to report your case to as many platforms as you can. This way more risk management systems will learn about the new illicit platform and flag the wallet address associated with it.
XRP Forensics is the first service where we recommend you report — it’s the official platform of Ripple that helps confront scammers. It won’t reverse your transactions since blockchain does not allow doing so, but the team will share the information with crypto services to help find your money.
Another thing that XRP Forensics will suggest you do is reporting your case to law enforcement. The platform works with the police to combine similar cases and search the stolen money more efficiently.
As soon as you report to XRP Forensics, the service will spread the word in the crypto community so that crypto exchanges can flag the malicious address and freeze funds whenever they see the stolen money.
How ChangeNOW Helps Return Stolen Funds
The ChangeNOW risk management system works 24/7 to detect illicit transactions and withhold money that comes from reported wallet addresses. Services like XRP Forensics help us by informing on new addresses linked to fraud.
If you did research on your own and have reasons to believe that scammers are laundering your money through our platform, contact ChangeNOW’s customer support. Describe the case: what was the website where you found the scam, when that happened, what address you sent your coins to, and how the fraudsters received your funds. Attach wallet addresses and transaction hashes with active links.
If we detect a scam thanks to your report and see the stolen funds, we momentarily withhold them. To return them to you, we will need a request from the police filed within 2 weeks since you contact our support team. Please reach out to law enforcement as soon as possible, make sure they make a request with the transaction info and the call to return the money. The request should be sent to our email.
ChangeNOW makes constant efforts to save users’ money and make crypto a safer space: we monitor transactions, blacklist scammers’ wallet addresses, and freeze money that they launder through our service. Sometimes malefactors even send these addresses to us themselves to defraud us. Read about a case when we understood it was a scam: it may help you stay more alert in similar situations.
Remember to never send cryptocurrency to individuals you don’t know. Another old truth that the fake XRP giveaway case highlights is — the offer is most likely a scam if it looks too good to be true. Therefore it’s always worth doing thorough research about any platform where you send funds, even if it’s associated with big names like Ripple. If you’ve become a victim of a fraud or think you’ve spotted one, contact our customer support, and we will help figure things out and take action.