Tether Freezes $5.2M in USDT Tied to Phishing Scams

  • Tether froze $5.2M in USDT linked to phishing scams on May 14, based on SlowMist’s data.
  • Since inception, Tether has blocked over $1B in assets, including $1.6M tied to terrorist financing.
  • Tether collaborated with 24 law enforcement agencies, responding to 198 wallet block requests in the last year.

On May 14, stablecoin issuer Tether froze $5.2 million worth of USDT linked to phishing scams. The funds were stored in 12 Ethereum wallets labeled as “USDT Banned Address.” This action followed information provided by the on-chain analytics firm SlowMist, whose chief security officer confirmed that the wallets were used to launder funds from phishing scams.

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Tether has blocked over $1 billion in assets based on requests from various law enforcement agencies since its inception. Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino stated that more than $1.3 billion worth of assets have been frozen, including approximately $1.6 million tied to terrorist financing.

History of Asset Freezing

Tether also blacklisted three Ethereum addresses holding over $150 million in USDT in January 2022. Additionally, in October 2022, the company blocked $8.2 million in USDT on Ethereum and added 215 Ethereum-based USDT addresses to its blacklist. By the end of 2022, Tether had frozen over $360 million in assets, including $817,000 linked to terrorist activities in Ukraine and Israel, and $225 million associated with romantic scams.

In January 2022, Tether banned three Ethereum addresses with over $150 million in USDT. The US government seized 2 million USDT on Ethereum and also blacklisted 215 Ethereum-based USDT addresses. 

At the end of 2022, Tether had blocked more than $360 million in assets, of which $817,000 was related to the terrorist activities in Ukraine and Israel and $225 million was connected to the love scams.

Collaboration with Law Enforcement

Tether has actively collaborated with 24 law enforcement agencies across more than 40 countries. Over the past 12 months, the firm responded to 198 requests to block wallets and 339 requests over the past three years. The company also provides secondary market controls to freeze activities related to individuals or entities on the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control Specially Designated Nationals list.

The decentralized ledger technology used by crypto firms enables the monitoring of funds on-chain, while the centralized nature of stablecoins allows issuers like Tether to freeze assets linked to illicit activities at the request of law enforcement agencies.

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