Losing your hard-earned Bitcoin can be one of the most devastating experiences. Find out how to recover stolen Bitcoin.
Crypto analysts estimate about $10 billion worth of stolen crypto out there. US authorities in February seized $3.6 billion in stolen cryptocurrency, directly linked to a 2016 exchange hack. While those statistics show the increasing cyber threats related to crypto investments, virtual currencies are no longer a haven for criminals.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are attractive to criminals mainly because of their high value and difficulty tracking their transactions. Cryptocurrencies are bearer assets, meaning whoever has the private keys owns them. Cybercriminals use various fraudulent schemes to steal Bitcoin users’ private keys, including scams and phishing.
Although they have mainly targeted crypto exchanges in the past, some criminals have changed their focus to personal wallets. Regardless of criminals’ particular scheme to steal your Bitcoin, recovering the coins is almost impossible. That is because it is challenging to prove ownership once you lose the private keys to your wallet. Besides, there is no proper legislation to deal with issues of stolen crypto directly.
Steps for Recovering Stolen Bitcoin
Any user can lose their Bitcoin to hackers or other cyber criminals. The following are practical steps to proceed whenever you lose your Bitcoin.
Contact the police
The police may not be able to do much to recover your Bitcoin due to the lack of regulations in the crypto ecosystem. However, stolen Bitcoin suggests a criminal act that you must report to the police. That would help the police to respond better in case you have valuable information that could enable them to apprehend the criminals.
Notify your wallet provider
Also, immediately inform your crypto exchange or wallet provider about the hack. Sometimes, the service provider may act fast and prevent the hackers from transferring the funds from your wallet to untraceable accounts. Exchanges and wallet providers usually have information that could help speedy investigations before the funds get lost forever.
Insured wallet providers and crypto exchanges can also reimburse you for the losses if they cannot recover the stolen funds.
Contact your bank
Hackers will not only stop at your Bitcoin whenever they seal your private keys. Instead, they will try to access other accounts and data, including your bank account and emails. Thus, it is also essential to inform your bank about the hack if you had linked the wallet to your bank account. The bank will put proper measures in place to prevent hackers from accessing your account, avoiding more financial damage. While speaking about the financial aspect, you can check the crypto investment for beginner
Track the Money
All blockchain transactions, including Bitcoin payments, have a money trail that users can track to find the hacker’s public address. Blockchain explorers like Blockcypher can quickly help you follow the path of your stolen Bitcoin. You can keep tabs on the address to monitor its transactions. That will let you know whenever the hacker tries to move the funds to an exchange platform.
Then, you can report the exchange for immediate investigations. Most crypto exchanges require traders to adhere to KYC rules. Thus, they can help to trace the entities behind the hacker’s wallet address. The information could be helpful to the police in tracking the money and apprehending the criminals.
Bitcoin theft is an insidious practice with sudden twists and turns. While the Bitcoin network and cryptocurrency exchanges have enhanced security provisions, users should also observe additional measures such as using multiple wallet addresses, multi-factor authentication, and cold storage to secure their assets.