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Author Topic: My hardware wallet was seized by US customs.  (Read 1021 times)
Captain-Cryptory
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July 07, 2020, 11:43:46 AM
 #41

BTW  Jet Cash case got me thinking about possible incidents with customs during border crossing. What if they   turn their attention to  to my Ledger wallet and require me to enter my PIN to check the fund I'm possessing. What the  best reaction should be in  this case? Would it better yet if  I never  take it with me on business trips abroad?

I don't think that's possible to do legally. They also don't check how much money you have in your online banking application, right?
What I mean is that they look for how much cash you carry. You can have as much as you want in bank.
And for Bitcoin, that has to be converted into a country's currency to count as funds.

However, let's say you are right and they care about your bitcoins. Do they know what a hardware wallet is? Highly unlikely. But let's say they know. You can enter wrong pin 3 times ("stress because of police") and you recover some other time from the seed. They cannot know if you have 1$ there or billions.

I guess the customs officers are now well-educated and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of them have  cryptocurrency.

So you think the best solution is to "reset" the wallet. Wouldn’t it be better to show them address with the small amount  to leave me alone? Access to my main assets opens another PIN which is behind the SEED + password.

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July 07, 2020, 08:07:48 PM
 #42

My suspicion is that the package was picked up in a scan, and sent for analysis to check for possible money laundering. Sending a loaded wallet is obviously a way to transfer funds with them being recorded on the blockchain.
I don't think it's very likely anyone would send a physical device to transfer funds that way. A blockchain transaction doesn't reveal if the transaction was to another wallet of your own, or to someone on another continent.
By sending a wallet without making a transaction, the receiver knows the sender can still access the coins, and even if that's the plan, sending the mnemonic seed split into several parts via different encrypted channels is much easier than sending the actual device. I've used something similar to receive mnemonic seeds for my Fork claiming service.


I would consider the device compromised now. Don't trust it anymore.

see if somebody here will sell a small amount of crypto to load on it.
I would if I could receive pounds anonymously, but I can't.

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July 07, 2020, 08:38:12 PM
 #43

I had things stolen from packages sent from EU to Australia and back. I haven't sent any contraband but still someone had opened my mail and took out some things that were more bulky than a standard piece of paper. I bet they were looking for jewelry.

They also like to check electronics because people have sent narcotics and stuff hidden in battery compartments of electronic devices.

If the wallet was new and they had some idea about the way it works they could have written down the seed and hope someone will ignore the broken seal and still deposit onto it.
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July 07, 2020, 11:06:58 PM
 #44

What, that's actually a thing? Isn't the unopened package/ anti-tampering seal already a guarantee the wallet is brand new?
Yes, it is but the OP said the hardware wallet was sealed with box supplied by the manufacturer, definitely there is a name or description on the sealed box which indicates the package contains bitcoin wallet which the reason why the custom first seized it because most government agency believe everything that have to do with crypto is always involved with money laundering and the wallet was said to be a loaded wallet.

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July 08, 2020, 03:59:47 AM
 #45

I don't think that's possible to do legally. They also don't check how much money you have in your online banking application, right?
What I mean is that they look for how much cash you carry. You can have as much as you want in bank.
And for Bitcoin, that has to be converted into a country's currency to count as funds.

However, let's say you are right and they care about your bitcoins. Do they know what a hardware wallet is? Highly unlikely. But let's say they know. You can enter wrong pin 3 times ("stress because of police") and you recover some other time from the seed. They cannot know if you have 1$ there or billions.

There's totally a very low chance of this happening due to the points you raised, but idk man, I'd personally rather not risk it instead and not bring my personal hardware wallet with me when traveling. Just transfer a decent amount to a mobile wallet and you should be good. Again, though very unlikely, I don't think something like this is outside the realm of possibility. They may not know what a hardware wallet is right now, but it doesn't mean they will remain ignorant forever.

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July 08, 2020, 04:50:52 AM
 #46

I had taken a part in mew competition, and won ledger (+some other goodies), i received mine without any trouble (although parcel was bit fiddled with), the other guy i met online said his parcel was seized.

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July 08, 2020, 05:08:55 AM
 #47

sending the mnemonic seed split into several parts via different encrypted channels is much easier than sending the actual device. I've used something similar to receive mnemonic seeds for my Fork claiming service.

Sending the seed would rather be a better option than sending the actual hardware wallet, but both of you knowing the passphrase and seed is not a good way to transact, you are also correct that the hardware wallet is already compromised, as it is written, you should only use a hardware wallet that you are the first to set up.

I have one and it was also delivered late, I think, for a month. And I just found out it was in our local post office, I just don't get why they didn't send a notification. Though, I'm glad it is still well packed and sealed.

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July 08, 2020, 04:07:18 PM
 #48

As some of you know, I won a hardware wallet in a recent competition here in Bitcoin Talk. That was 4 months ago. The wallet was dispatched promptly following the announcement of the results, but I have only just received it. The wallet was contained in a (probably) sealed box supplied by the manufacturer, and double bagged for dispatch. I received the package in a Royal Mail bag which declared that the packaging had been damaged before entering the UK.Both of the bags had been ripped open and not resealed, and the security tab on the box was missing.

My suspicion is that the package was picked up in a scan, and sent for analysis to check for possible money laundering. Sending a loaded wallet is obviously a way to transfer funds with them being recorded on the blockchain. I haven't used any hardware wallets, so I'm wondering how easy it is for government agencies to check for stored Bitcoin in the wallet.

Hello

I am really sorry that this happened with you , it is not really an easy thing to go and use the Bitcoins from your hardware wallet , unfortunately I was researching about the current situation of cryptocurrencies in the UK and found this direct statement.

Quote
The United Kingdom's approach to cryptocurrency regulations has been measured: although the UK has no specific cryptocurrency laws, cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender and exchanges have registration requirements. ... Gains or losses on cryptocurrencies are, however, subject to capital gains tax


Since they are not considered legal tenders therefore you cannot actually go and register a complain. BUT !

You can very easily file a complain in the company which delivered the mail , you have to understand that even though they did not actually make a law protecting cryptocurrencies , what happened to you was a Violation of personal belonging , therefore the company itself is entitled to look further into it .

Plus I don't think that there was any problem regarding the government agencies , this might very easily be a work of a dishonest employee .

Government agencies won't just come forward and look into it , If they did then for sure you would have received a letter of some sort , if they thought it was problematic then most probably not a letter but police itself.

I do think you should register a complain still .

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July 09, 2020, 02:56:00 PM
 #49

OMG. I wasn’t really ready to know this, hits hard. I don’t make use of hardware and I don’t think it’s something I am interested in making use of, maybe due to my level for now. I have been making use of other wallets and they are doing the job for me, I have always done everything possible to keep my wallets safe so that I am not going to be complaining at any time. If I’m going to buy a hardware and they will be checking it like this, then what’s the need? The government will really do anything to piss you off at anytime.

I remember when I was planning to by ASICs by 2015, I stopped that idea as packages need to clear customs checking and I may need to pay customs duties. As I was not doing financial well at those times, I dropped total mining idea if I would have tried, who knows, my package as well might have seized by customs officers for transporting some "alien" thing.

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thesmallgod
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July 09, 2020, 03:12:15 PM
 #50

Don't you think it not bad to demand reason why the hardware wallet is in that state when it was given to you. I am very sure the delivery man will be able to tell you if it was tampered with or routinely picked and checked by the custom to clear your doubt. I am sure every country have rules regarding goods that can be ship into a country and if the hardware wallet does not fall in any of the category, then I do not see any reason why it should be checked except someone that knows what it is tried to have access in order to check if it has coin
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July 09, 2020, 03:44:39 PM
 #51

If I’m going to buy a hardware and they will be checking it like this, then what’s the need? The government will really do anything to piss you off at anytime.

Go purchase a hardware wallet anyway. I think this is a very rare occurrence as this has been the only such incident that I've read online. Once you see such complaints being frequently posted on r/TREZOR and on r/ledgerwallet, then I think we should be hugely concerned.

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July 09, 2020, 04:11:19 PM
 #52

We don't see such incidents regularly. This is something rare. In my perspective there are two things that could have happened.

1. The US customs knew it was a hardware wallet
In this case, either they would have detected it for some money laundering as you said or some official would have wanted to steal cryptocurrency inside it.

2. The US customs didn't knew it was a hardware wallet
The would thought it for some data storage device with some precious data or something and may be they would have wanted to check the data inside it.

In any case, it's completely wrong to tamper a product without any approval.

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July 09, 2020, 04:58:51 PM
 #53

2. The US customs didn't knew it was a hardware wallet
They most likely didn't know what it was as the content of the invoice was not specific;
I looked at the customs declaration, and it describes the content as electronic documents,
I can imagine an overzealous employee investigating the package out of curiosity and flagging it on discovery of what it contained or a dubious one at that who thought this was an early retirement plan. It's mostly safety procedure and as long as anything apart from he package is damaged, that should be fine.





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July 10, 2020, 10:38:14 AM
 #54

Money laundering by hardware wallets just not stands.
First there are electronic ways of sending a wallet, so why bother with international mailing procedures?
Secondly, with wallet transfers, the original owner still has control over the key. Receiver still has to make a transaction to make sure he is the only one in control.
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July 10, 2020, 10:10:55 PM
 #55

As some of you know, I won a hardware wallet in a recent competition here in Bitcoin Talk. That was 4 months ago. The wallet was dispatched promptly following the announcement of the results, but I have only just received it. The wallet was contained in a (probably) sealed box supplied by the manufacturer, and double bagged for dispatch. I received the package in a Royal Mail bag which declared that the packaging had been damaged before entering the UK.Both of the bags had been ripped open and not resealed, and the security tab on the box was missing.

My suspicion is that the package was picked up in a scan, and sent for analysis to check for possible money laundering. Sending a loaded wallet is obviously a way to transfer funds with them being recorded on the blockchain. I haven't used any hardware wallets, so I'm wondering how easy it is for government agencies to check for stored Bitcoin in the wallet.

That was really an awful experience for sure that your package have been opened up and did not get backed from being sealed after they have done a thorough investigation. Well, it is the job at the customs to check packages that can be potential for money laundering, illegal exportation and other related stuffs that must be check at the customs before dispatching to enter the country's vicinity to ensure the national security.

But, I think it is an irresponsible act that they leave the package hanging after the analysis and have something on the original package missing. It is their right to check up for potential risks but they must at least turn it back to its original look before dispatching it since it was delivered on a nice packaging. Whether what the reason is all about, they must have return it on its original phase after doing the analysis because it is improper to just release it knowing that you have tampered the package and the security tab was already missing.





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NotATether
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July 10, 2020, 10:45:09 PM
 #56

My head is wrapping around all the posts in this thread. I think two different events are being conflated here. First we have the fact that the hardware wallet was sent in a package, inspected, and sent to the recipient. There's another facade with the idea that it was in his luggage and taken away from him (which is not what happened). I have the feeling US customs checking is stringent but when they're checking things like electronics there is little they can check without knowing the passwords and PINs. Which brings me to two questions:

1. Will they take away any kind of electronics in packages if they suspect it has something suspicious in it?
2. Does the same apply if it's in luggage?

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July 11, 2020, 04:54:43 AM
Merited by vapourminer (1)
 #57

BTW  Jet Cash case got me thinking about possible incidents with customs during border crossing. What if they   turn their attention to  to my Ledger wallet and require me to enter my PIN to check the fund I'm possessing. What the  best reaction should be in  this case? Would it better yet if  I never  take it with me on business trips abroad?

I don't think that's possible to do legally. They also don't check how much money you have in your online banking application, right?
What I mean is that they look for how much cash you carry. You can have as much as you want in bank.
And for Bitcoin, that has to be converted into a country's currency to count as funds.

However, let's say you are right and they care about your bitcoins. Do they know what a hardware wallet is? Highly unlikely. But let's say they know. You can enter wrong pin 3 times ("stress because of police") and you recover some other time from the seed. They cannot know if you have 1$ there or billions.
It is best to just take the time to memorize the seed words of your actual wallet. It's not really that difficult. If you can't do that, there are other methods you could use to hide the words in plain sight - for instance you could scatter them within the text of an email or online document in a way that only you know how to retrieve. This way you could reset the wallet each time you need to go through customs. In many countries immigration and customs agents have the authority to search electronic devices. If they ever demanded to see the contents you can then show them a wallet with 0 BTC.
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July 11, 2020, 08:08:12 AM
 #58

I'd like to reemphasise that this is a brand new item that had not been initialised, and therefor had no coins or seeds associated with it.

I have a Lenovo M58 computer that was left out in the rain, and I will experiment with reviving this, and if possible I will install Kali and the shape shift software. The computer has been drying out over the last month, and if I can find a USB keyboard, I'll experiment with it during the next few days.

I hope that my experience will not discourage members to continue to run contests, and to allow the international awarding of prizes. At the end of the day, I've got a great product to test, and the inconveniences have been fairly minor.

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July 11, 2020, 10:41:22 AM
Last edit: July 11, 2020, 11:09:02 AM by vapourminer
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 #59

I have a Lenovo M58 computer that was left out in the rain, and I will experiment with reviving this, and if possible I will install Kali and the shape shift software. The computer has been drying out over the last month, and if I can find a USB keyboard, I'll experiment with it during the next few days.

as long as it was powered off at the timeit will likely be OK. just let it dry for an extended amount ot time as you have done. mechanical drives and battery would not be trustable but other that that should be fine. i regularly wash cases, motherboards and keyboards by hand or in dishwashers when i refurbish junker PCs for donations or just to keep as backup machines.

toss a cheapie SDD in, maybe oil the fans if you can get to them. waterlogged optical drives are hit and miss but they are dirt chap anyway.

but again i dont like trusting (laptop) battery packs that have gone through stuff like that. damn thing can burn underwater ffs

EDIT: this is a desktop? then replace the mechanical drive, check or toss new fans in, replace the cr232 battery. good to go.

unless that liquid was corrosive or something. but flood damage (fresh or grey water) is usually OKish. however some floodwater carries some really nasty pathogens (sewage! eeew) and chemicals, bleh

of course salt water is death to electronics usually.
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July 13, 2020, 11:50:36 AM
 #60

It is a small desktop computer with an SSD, and it hasn't been powered up since it was left out in the rain. I think the guy was going to dump it anyway, as he has bought a new machine. I haven't found a USB keyboard so far, and I'm not sure if it has bluetooth. I've got a bluetooth keyboard to use with my mobile.

I guess the answer is to power it up, and see if I can do some basic exploring with just a mouse.

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