- The USSS says it will investigate only crypto scams that share a link to the US.
- The enforcement agency plans to hire 455 special agents this year.
In a May 15 Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, the US Secret Service’s (USSS’s) San Francisco Division and the Bay Area Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) shared their efforts in safeguarding the nation’s financial infrastructure, particularly in the realm of cryptocurrency. The Secret Service, known for protecting US leaders, also focuses on securing digital assets and educating the public about cryptocurrency scams.
From the beginning, the law enforcement agency said that they are not willing to comment on ongoing investigations.
The Secret Service asserted:
“We are involved with the crypto investigations from beginning to end (victim reports the crime, we investigate it, prosecute it, etc.). We work in collaboration with other agencies as the need arises, but each case is different.”
The San Francisco squad comprises Special Agents and Analysts who are well-versed in the world of digital currencies. Over the past year, they have investigated cases involving cryptocurrency thefts and recovered millions in stolen funds. Their aim is to provide resources and tips to protect potential victims from scams, including the notorious “Pig Butchering” scheme.
On the specific tools the agency uses to monitor potentially illicit transactions, “many investigators use more than one tool, including commercially available and open source tools. It’s an exciting and innovative space.”
US Secret Service Against Crypto Scams
During the AMA, the Secret Service and REACT also addressed various topics, including the use of software tools for tracking, the recovery of funds for scam victims, the collaboration with international agencies, the introduction of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and the potential benefits of the traceability of cryptocurrencies for law enforcement.
In response to a question with respect to a scam not involving a US citizen, the agency said:
“Unfortunately, unless there is a U.S. nexus we likely wouldn’t have jurisdiction to help. That being said, many cases have victims all over the world and we can do investigate those cases when there’s a link to the U.S.”
While the Secret Service emphasized its role as a law enforcement agency rather than a regulator, it encouraged public engagement in reporting cybercrimes and staying informed about cryptocurrency scams. They also invited cryptocurrency and cybersecurity enthusiasts to consider joining their team, as they plan to hire 450 Special Agents this year.
Despite concerns raised by some Redditors about privacy and surveillance, the AMA provided valuable insights into the Secret Service’s efforts to combat cryptocurrency-related crimes and protect the financial interests of the United States.
The engagement with the crypto community demonstrates the increasing importance of digital assets and the need for collaborative efforts between law enforcement agencies and the industry to ensure a safe and secure environment for cryptocurrency users.
On the age-old question of whether the USSS knows who the eponymous founder of Bitcoin is, known only by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, the agency simply responded, “We may know Satoshi, but that is classified!”
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