Before sharing my journey on how I recovered my stolen EOS coins, I want to acknowledge and thank EOS911 (Liam and David) and Anyx from Team Greymass for their support and guidance. Most importantly, my sincere gratitude to the exchange where I purchased my coins (I can not disclose the name as part of a confidentiality agreement I was required to sign). Without the exchange's assistance, I could have never recovered my EOS.
It all began on July 5th. I had just purchased some EOS and wanted to transfer it into my genesis EOS account. After trying repeatedly for almost an hour I kept getting a glitch that did not allow me to transfer my coins. I realized that I needed to contact my exchange in their Telegram account. This was the 1st time I was doing this since I never encountered this problem before and I thought perhaps it had something to do with the launch of the EOS main net. I went ahead and found the Customer Support chat for my exchange and was first impressed with the number of people asking for help with all types of issues as well as the number of people that were there chatting about things that had nothing to do with Customer Support. I guessed this is how it is when you are dealing with people from all over the world so let me try to get someone that can help me. After requesting help several times with my problem and waiting for a response I thought I better try some other time and hopefully I will have better luck. After leaving the chat I was contacted a few minutes later by someone from the exchange Customer Support team (so I thought) and was glad that I had finally someone to help me with my problem.
Now, I only wished that this person will tell me what to do or fix whatever internal issue they were having so that I could transfer my EOS out of the exchange. I never suspected I was dealing with someone impersonating the Customer Support team since the way this person communicated showed that he knew what he was talking about and was also very familiar with the exchange's portal and procedures. I went ahead and followed his instructions after he explained that we will need to transfer my coins into the exchange's escrow wallet since the EOS main net was unstable. It made sense to me at that moment and after doing everything he said he confirmed that the transfer had gone through (I checked my account and indeed it had) and he stated that within 30 minutes I will receive an email confirmation from the exchange and afterwards the coins will appear in my account. Suffice it to say that 30 minutes passed by, 60 minutes, 2 hours plus a lot more time and I did not see the email or coins in my account. At this point - you guessed it - I realized I had been scammed and all my coins were gone! I began to panic realizing that I will never recover my coins and the first thing that came to mind was how I always thought that something like this will never happen to me because I was so careful about everything and this could only happen to someone that is not informed or negligent. Well, it happened to me and I had no idea what to do now or who to go for help. In addition, I was ashamed to tell anybody because I feared how humiliated I will feel. I then remember Anyx from Team Greymass who had helped me in the past with their wallet and after explaining the situation to her she referred me to EOS911. I reached out to them in their Telegram group and David and Liam confirmed that my case qualified for submission to ECAF and advised me to file a complaint. I was really upbeat and filed a complaint with ECAF right away and received a confirmation email a few minutes later saying that they will have someone contact me in 72 hours. I was now really pumped up and could see the scammer's account being frozen by the BP's and my coins returned perhaps in a week or so. By this time, I was beginning to eat again since when I get stressed out or anxious I can not eat. Well, after passing 72 hours, 96 hours, 120 hours etc .. I began to freak out again and became really anxious and decided to email ECAF several times asking for a response but received no answer whatsoever. I went into the EOS911 Telegram chat and saw a comment from someone saying that after 1 week ECAF had finally gotten in contact with him. So now I have hope again and began to feel good again. After 1 week, no response from ECAF so I emailed them again but no response. That is when I saw a Tweet that said that everyone in ECAF are volunteers that help out with all of the cases that come every day. They lack the resources to do the job they have been entrusted however still try their best to help out.
After coming to the conclusion that ECAF was no longer an option to recover my EOS, I decided the only party left to reach out was my exchange. However, this time I will not contact them via Telegram but by email. After emailing them I received a reply where I was asked to explain what happened which I did. Now, I will list the steps I followed and documentation provided to facilitate the recovery process. The key here is to provide information (in a way that makes it easy for the exchange to follow the flow of events allowing the scammer to steal my coins) and supporting documentation to make the case strong and compelling so that there is no doubt that the scammer obtained my coins illicitly (without him having any proof to dispute it). These are the steps:
I provided screen shots of the chat I had with the scammer where he tricked me and swindled my EOS. Each screen shot I labeled and numbered it so that the exchange could easily follow the events that took place from beginning to end.
I provided screen shots of the EOS blockchain (thanks to EOSflare.io) showing the transaction and transfer from my account into the scammer's account. This was very useful since it shows the date and all the pertinent information which is irrefutable.
I filed a Police Report with my local police department and sent it to my exchange. This gives a higher level of assurance to the exchange since it can be verified that I was the actual victim of the scam thus removing any doubts to the exchange of the validity of the claim I filed with them.
I answered all the question the exchange asked me and was diligent when responding. (You need to be always cooperative with them - try to be organized and logical when providing information).
Be patient and don't be emailing them if you don't hear anything. Give them time to work on your case. The only time you may email them is when you find additional corroborating information that helps the case.
Wait and be patient. I was told by the exchange that they had flagged the scammer's account after 3 weeks which is a good sign that things are looking very favorable and a positive outcome is likely.
After almost 1 month I received the great news that the exchange will be returning the coins to my account. (Expect to sign a confidentiality agreement and abide by the terms in it).
Not only did the exchange show concern and diligence but they also worked hard to make it for me. It was great to know that my coins were recovered and finally transferred to my account. Again, I want to thank everyone at the exchange that made this possible.
Conclusion: I hope that this article helps everyone in the EOS community that is going through a similar situation. Not only the EOS community (vhich in my opinion is the best) but also the rest of the crypto community in general. The steps above apply to any coin and if you execute them well the chances of recovering your coins will be high. My advice is not to give up if you have been scammed and do not think that your coins are gone forever. You need to prepare yourself to fight for what is rightfully yours. By organizing yourself, preparing supporting documentation and providing corroborating evidence you will make it easier for the exchange to return the coins to you.
Expect this process to take at least 3 to 4 weeks. It will not be so difficult and with diligence and patience you shall see the results you are looking for. Be very careful with scammers, they make themselves look legit by using the exchanges's logo n their Telegram accounts, use the names and titles you expect from the exchange, communicate like someone from the exchange and know the way the exchanges work so that you to make you feel that you are dealing with the exchange. Always check the email address that the scammer will use when contacting you. It will say the name of the exchange but when looking at it closely you will find that is probably a Gmail or some other account (I received an email from the scammer asking me to provide a photo of my driver's license and I forwarded it to the exchange so they could see what he was trying to do and make it more compelling for the exchange to return my coins). I hope this article benefits everyone. Feel free to share it. If you have any questions or comments please post it below.