DEA Loses $55,000 to Common Cryptocurrency Scam

By Steve Neavling

The DEA got scammed out of $55,000 by a common cryptocurrency scam, costing the agency digital money it had confiscated during an investigation involving laundered drug proceeds. 

During a three-year investigation of drug traffickers using cryptocurrency, the DEA seized $500,000 from two Binance accounts used to funnel illegal narcotics money, Forbes reports. 

When the DEA placed the funds in an agency-controlled account and stored it in a digital wallet, a scammer monitoring the blockchain noticed when the DEA sent a test amount of $45.36 to Tether to the U.S. Marshals Service. The scammer created an account with a number similar to the long address the DEA was communicating with, then “airdropped” a token, making feds believe their trial run succeeded. 

Then the DEA sent $55,000 to the account number, making it possible for the savvy thief to withdraw the deposit, convert it to a different cryptocurrency, and steal it. 

The FBI, which is investigating, hopes that a pair of Gmail addresses used to open the Binance accounts will lead them to the suspect. 

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