What To Do If You Fell Victim to Scam or Hack Print
Modified on: Wed, 8 Mar, 2023 at 7:22 PM
Scams are an unfortunate reality of the crypto industry. The Polkadot community takes the matter of scam fighting and prevention very seriously. It is the first ecosystem that has a dedicated and decentralized Anti-Scam Team, that has taken great strides in protecting our community. Still, vigilance is required on behalf of the user and for this reason we have compiled a guide on our wiki on how to protect yourself from scams, which we strongly recommend everyone to read.
Unfortunately, though, and despite the Anti-Scam Team's best efforts, some people will inadvertently fall prey to bad actors. If this is the case for you, the sad truth is that it's extremely unlikely you'll be able to get your stolen funds back.
However, there is still help and support that you can receive. The Polkadot Support team stands ready to help you in this difficult situation, so please click the "Contact Us" button on the bottom right of the screen and reach out to us.
Besides that there are a few things you can do right away to prevent further loss, so please read on for some advice, depending on how you lost your funds.
If you voluntarily sent funds (like with a giveaway or investment scam)
In this case, the loss is limited to whatever amount you sent to the scammers, so there isn’t much more that you need to do. However, don’t try to seek help online, on forums and on social media. This only increases your chances of falling victim to another scam from bad actors that "offer to help you". Anyone who claims they can get your money back is a scammer, as is anyone who contacts you as “official support”.
If your account was compromised
In this case your account is compromised and your funds on all Substrate chains are in danger. If that mnemonic phrase was for a multi-asset wallet (like Ledger), then all your assets are in danger!
The first thing you need to do in this situation, even before contacting us, is to send any remaining funds out of your account(s). Sending them to an exchange is a quick and easy way to do this, while you regroup.
If your tokens are bonded, in a nomination pool, in crowdloans, or locked in democracy, then they are safe for the time being, but still at risk. Contact us to help you safeguard these funds.
It is super important to keep your mnemonic phrase secret and safe and never share it with anyone or enter it on unverified sites. No support agent will ever ask you for it, or any other private information!
If you suspect you’ve been hacked
In this case, the same advice as above applies: move any remaining funds to safety as soon as possible.
However, since it’s possible that your computer has been compromised by malware, the extent of the damage might go beyond your crypto accounts. If you suspect that might be the case, it’s best that you stop using the computer and transfer your funds to safety from another device, if possible.
Doing a malware scan with trusted antivirus software is always a good thing, but keep in mind that even if the antivirus doesn’t find anything, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no malware on your device. The only way to be sure your computer is clean is to delete everything and do a clean installation of your OS. Changing your passwords on important sites, from another device, and setting up two-factor authentication (2FA), is also strongly recommended.
All of these are first reaction steps you can take to minimize your losses and secure your system and accounts. But do reach out us. We can help!
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Disclaimer: We always strive to provide you with the best support we can and we take all care to ensure that our instructions are accurate and concise. However, following these instructions properly, as well as the general management of your accounts and funds, is ultimately your responsibility. Web3 Foundation cannot be held liable for any accidental loss of funds or any other damage you might incur.