The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was recently scammed out of $55,000 by an unidentified grifter.
For three years, DEA agents had been tracking the activities of illegal drug traffickers using cryptocurrency. In May, they managed to seize $500,000 from two Binance accounts involved in the scheme.
Following the forfeiture protocol, the agents decided to send a $45.36 test deposit using Tether to the United States Marshals Service. Unfortunately, their plan was thwarted by a scammer who was tracking the blockchain. The thief created an account with a number similar to the address the DEA was communicating with, dropped a token to make it appear that the test run had been successful, and the DEA sent $55,000 to the account.
By the time Marshals and DEA officials realized what had happened, the money had been withdrawn, converted to another cryptocurrency, and moved beyond their reach. According to digital wallets used by the alleged scammer, hundreds of thousands of dollars have passed through their accounts. The FBI is currently hoping that two Gmail addresses used to open Binance accounts will lead them to a suspect.
A cybersecurity expert believes that the thief cleverly created an account with similar first and last several digits to the Marshall’s account in order to confuse agents verifying the transactions.