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Like real world cash problems, we know that scams happen in the Bitcoin community at least as often if not more often for a variety of reasons (oversight, regulation, standards of security, street savvy, etc., or lack thereof).

Given little more than a receiving address and perhaps an email address (likely a one-time junk account) or stated location (may not be true), is there a recorded instance where someone who was scammed was able to recover their loss directly from the scammer?

This could be with police assistance or through communication among online services or people through taint analysis or chain tracking.

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There have been many instances of coins being sent to the wrong address and then clues from the blockchain used to discover the recipient and thus recover the funds. Goat's 400 BTC loss and subsequent recovery is the largest of these that I'm aware of.

There have been hints from the blockchain that have allegedly associated sockpuppet accounts to a repeat offending scammer.

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I remember that Zhou Tong "figured out" his friend was responsible for the bitcoinica hacking and asked for the return of the bitcoins. IIRC, some were returned, but don't quote me on that.

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Sophisticated tools can often trace the scammers funds to exchanges and with a court order it can be frozen there or the scammers id can be found out. Nobody can tell you in the first place if this will be successfully. Even if tracing is possible' you cannot be sure that you can get anything back, be prepared you have evidence that it was a scam, hope that there are still funds to get back and hope that the jurisdiction of the scammer and involved exchange(s) are friendly with yours.

If the loss is high I wouldn't give up fast. But be very carefully, the most 'recovery firms' are scammers trying to rip off the victims a second time. Especially the ones who promise that they can recover (nearly) all.

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