The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) fell prey to a classic crypto scam, losing over $55,000 in confiscated cryptocurrency funds. The funds were mistakenly sent to a scammer’s account after the DEA was tricked by an airdrop phishing scam. The scammer created an address that resembled the U.S. Marshals’ account and then airdropped some Tether (USDT) into the DEA’s account, making it appear as if it came from the Marshals’ address. By the time the DEA realized the mistake, the funds had already been moved out of the scammer’s account.
The fraudster converted the funds into ether and bitcoin and transferred them to a new wallet. The FBI is now investigating the incident and trying to obtain further information about the scammer’s activities. This incident is a blow to the DEA, which has made efforts to crack down on crypto-related crimes. However, it is not the first time the agency has faced issues in its crypto investigations, as one of its former agents was convicted in 2015 for stealing bitcoin during the Silk Road investigation.
Despite warnings from crypto storage provider Trezor about airdrop scams, the DEA fell victim to this common tactic. Airdrop scams typically involve fraudsters phishing for users’ wallet information and tricking them into sending funds to the wrong address. In this case, the scammer exploited the similarity between the DEA’s wallet address and the U.S. Marshals’ account, leading to the mistaken transfer of funds. The incident highlights the need for greater vigilance and awareness among cryptocurrency users to protect themselves from scams.