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Types of Scams

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Scammers are very clever with their words and the crises they encounter. These are just some of the scenarios. If any of these sound familiar you are dealing with a scammer.

Scam Scenarios:

  • Counterfeit money orders and checks sent in the mail from the scammer to be deposited in the victim bank account and send back the cash by Western Union or Money Gram.
  • Asked to open a checking account to deposit checks form scammer.
  • Scammer claims they’ve been mugged, shot, in a auto accident, arrested or their money, passport, and id was stolen.
  • Need money for hotel/motel bill and manager has their ID and passport.
  • Lost the company money and cannot pay his employees.
  • Needs money to cover payroll or cash payroll checks.
  • Blank checks sent in the mail for victim to fill out and send out to scammer “clients” which in reality are other victims.
  • Scammer arranges for you to come to their country to meet and marry, you risk theft, rape, identify theft, and murder.
  • Scammer confesses what they are doing, claims to have “truly” fallen in love with you, but they continue to ask for money.
  • Scammer plans to come to your country to marry, but has an accident or other tragedy on the way to the airport.
  • Need money for plane ticket BTA (Basic Travel Allowance) this does not exists.
  • Scammer is on the way to the states to visit you but is held up in Customs and need money for his/her release.
  • Shipping packages to victim home to have them mailed to scammer.
  • Scammer sending counterfeit money through the mail to the victim.
  • Sending money to Canada or New Mexico.
  • Scammer sending a package filled with envelopes to victim to have the envelopes mailed to other victims. Checks or Money Orders are in the envelopes.
  • Doctor contacts victim to inform the scammer was in an accident but survived and needs his medical bills paid as the victim is the only one who can help.
  • Scammer or relative sick in the hospital needs money for the operation medication, and Dr. fees (Even when they are in the hospital they can IM with you because the doctor has a laptop and is so very generous to let them use it).
  • Catalogs sent to victim’s home with scammers name on them.
  • Shipping packages to victim home to have them mailed to scammer.
  • Scammer is located in the States or UK, and is traveling to Nigeria for business.
  • Scammer has a business, but needs to have merchandise shipped to victim’s house, and then have victim ship the merchandise to scammer.
  • Scammer needs money because doesn’t have enough of her/his own money to get her/his newly acquired “merchandise” out of the country.
  • Scammer needs money because they can not cash a check at a Nigerian bank or use credit cards.
  • Scammer asks for money to give to her/his family as a promise to the family. They claim this is a “tradition” or a “wedding custom”.
  • Scammer has a vision that he/she and the victim has to obey where God wants them to donate ½ of their monthly income for a month. The scammer went on a fast for 3 days and during that time God revealed to him/her where they would donate this money (sending it by WU) to some needy community Nigeria.
  • Working as an missionary in Nigeria and is shot, needs money for surgery, and medication.
  • Need money for child in an orphanage for his/her life saving operation or adoption of a child.
  • Business opportunities for victim.
  • Investment opportunities for victim.
  • Inheritance opportunities for victim.
  • Plans for the real estate business after they (the victim and scammer) receive the money in the trunks in the securities company in Holland, including legal looking documents.
  • In order to obtain funds, you are told to pay fees for attorneys, certificates, storage, bank transfers, bank releases, money laundering clearance, anti-terrorist clearances, courier services, storage (demurrage), etc.
  • Scammer claim to be buying a business. The business belonged to a “friend” of his who wanted to retire. This business was currently netting 30-40K each month in revenue claimed by the scammer. The scammer needed funds to complete the purchase of the business. Papers (fake papers) were provided for the purchase agreement which had the victim name on them included as the scammer’s wife.
  • Scammer has 200 bars of 24K Ghanaian gold, left behind from her/his deceased Grandmother, each bar with a value of $16,000 dollars in the U.S. but had no value in Ghana. He/she (scammer) was to fly to the states with the gold and then the Immigration Customs Department at the Ghana airport called the victim. The (scammer) was arrested for trying to get out the country with undocumented gold. The victim was told the (scammer) would go to prison for life if the police came and the victim contact information would be forwarded over to Interpol and be traced to the local authorities here in the U.S.
  • The victim was told they would lose their job and be arrested. The (scammer) could be released if ($3000) was sent for the gold consignment and immigration papers. Two days later the victim was told the gold was sold to the Ghana bank and was worth 3.3 million U.S. dollars. Then was asked to give personal bank account information so the funds would be transferred into the victim bank account immediately (it never happened).
  • Scammer has funds belonging to Saddam Hussein’s family in a consignment registered as Government Diplomatic Package and insured by the International Guarantee bond (IGB). Amount is $21 Million us dollars. They want to move this money to “victim” because Iraq is a war zone, so that the victim may invest it for scammer.
  • You are asked to help an orphan, banker, sick widow or widower, official, Zimbabwe farmer, minister, etc. transfer money out of the country – any country – to your account.
  • A scammer with a terminal illness wants to make charitable contributions from a vast fortune.

Threats from the Scammer:

  • Emails the victim with the victims Obituary.
  • Scammer threatening to turn in victim to the FBI and/or Secret Service.
  • Blackmail with “nude” photos of the victim.
  • Harassing emails and phone calls.
  • Threats are being made to you or to members of your family.

Negative Actions from the Scammer:

  • Internet business opened in victim name.
  • Merchandise ordered in victim name.
  • Credit card opened in victim name.
  • Scammer using victim name, profile, picture.

Scam Baiting Dangers

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Scam Baiting Dangers Tip Sheet

The Dangers

We advise all victims to block, delete and move on. So many people do not take this warning seriously. People have said, “They are there, we are here, they can’t find me and I like messing with their heads”. We have been told by the FBI that was not true. Not only can they hack into your computer, they can steal your personal information (identity theft) along with having many viruses installed onto your computer. Depending on the amount of money that was involved in your original scam; you could be putting yourself in danger.

Most people want revenge on their scammer, so they try to scam back them. But in more cases then we would even like to remember, the victims still had feelings for their scammer and got sucked right back into the scam.

We were informed of a scam that was for big bucks, the victim was backing down and the threats escalated in the form of an itinerary of all of the person’s loved ones daily activities. This person’s family was being watched and common sense will tell you that can not happen unless someone are physically there watching them.

This is not fun and games. This is a war and they are not doing well, so they are escalating their efforts in a different manner. For the most part if you lost a few thousand dollars to them and then you cut off all connections you are pretty safe. But those who for revenge or just for sport continue to talk to them, the danger level will escalate.

Whether you want to realize it or not you are playing with people who have terrorist connections. The FBI admits that a portion of all money scammed is funneled into terrorism. These scams pull in over 20 billion dollars a year into Nigeria.

Dangerous Consequences

  • A victim whose scammer set her up with a business web site to sell cell phone, and published her personal telephone number on that site. She could not shut the site down because she did not pay for it or set it up. She was terrorized by this.
  • They have talked their victims into believing they have changed their ways and have fallen in love. Come to Africa and we will be together for ever. Some have traveled to Nigeria because they believed, they were robbed, raped, beaten and murdered.
  • A victim who sponsored her scammer on a green card to come to her country, lost everything she owned including her home, job, savings, and her young child was molested by the scammer.

Quotes by Victims

“I have been corresponding with a scammer for over a month now. I am a cop and while I know I am a professional, things have come to a dangerous level. Threats are being made etc. and this guy knew from day one that I was a cop. So please, please do not bait or seek revenge.”

“Well, I went back with my scammer, and finally got scammed. I had reported him earlier as a potential scammer, and took him out of my life. He came back, and I fell for it. I have sent him $2000.00 cash.”

Dealing With The Dangers

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Dealing with the Dangers

Romance Scams Facts

Scammers will not stop until you make them stop. When a scammer confesses they are a scammer and they fell in love with you; this another part of the scam. What usually happens is you get sucked right back into it and worse the second time. They will convince you to visit them in Nigeria. You will lose more money, if you consider visiting and even your life. We are dealing with one victim who is being held in Nigeria against her will and her child is the leverage to keep her there. She is scamming now, and could lose her life. The FBI warned us a couple years ago, if they (victims) go over they will be dragged into the scamming business and are in danger…and its true.

So to answer your question yes its dangerous. To understand these scams you need to read the stories from other victims, and to read about these scams. These scammers will not stop, this is a business and very big one that is associated with terrorism.

Save yourself time, money, your sanity and even your life- start to heal from this scam and move on by helping others.

From a Romance Scam Victim

I know that the group will be very disappointed in me but I let my scammer David Nickson back in because he told me he was still in love with me. He said he wanted to talk to me again; so we talked tonight. He wanted me to send him money and a credit card in my name; so he could put the money on it and withdraw off it. All he cared about was money and a credit card. He called me every bad name in the book he could think of.

I wanted to believe that he was who he says he was, and not a scammer; but now I have learned that he is not David Nickson. He is truly a scammer. I did not want to say anything to the group about this because, I was so stupid, and dumb to think he really loved me. He is nothing but a liar who got back into my heart, and broke it again and hurt me.

Please learn from me, never ever let your scammer back into your life like I did. I have blocked him, and deleted him from my yahoo; I will never let him back in again. All those sweet words he would say to
me were just lies but I wanted to believe he was who he says he was.

Sally

Victim Stories

Scam backing or scam baiting, is not a means of revenge or closure for someone who has been scammed recently. The practice of Scam backing is filled with lots of negative energy; it will also take a lot out of you. The risk of being sucked right back in to the scam is very high..

Romance Scams does not advocate the practice of scam backing or scam baiting. Over the past three years we have witnessed victims being harmed in unimaginable ways by participating in this activity. We follow the advice of the FBI which is to remove, block and cease all contact immediately.

From a Romance Scam Victim

“Just needed to write a little bit about playing around with your scammers after you find out what they are. I thought they couldn’t do anything to me, so every now and again I would send a little message. The Last one I sent was a copy of the news paper article that was written about my story. Well the other day I received a e-mail. I thought it was a response to that article considering I have received nearly one hundred responses to it. This one was different after opening it I discovered it was from my scammer and it also contain a virus that literal killed my new laptop and on that computer was some irreplaceable data. This represented about a month of hard work. So please do your self a favor and not play with the scammers after you discover what they are doing to you. I just learned the hard way. This lesson just cost me about $2000. This is how they make their living, and is not a game to them; I know this first hand. “

Matt

What is a Romance Scam

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Wondering if the person you are talking to is too good to be true? Are some things just not making any sense? Did this person start professing his or her love in a short time? Is he or she currently working in a foreign countrysuch as Nigeria? Is he or she having trouble cashing a check? Answer yes to any of these questions, you need to be a here.

How the Scam Works:

Scammers are on dating sites, and social networks setting up fake profiles. Scammers will pose under the disguise of beautiful pictures as either male or female claiming to be from the United States. The scammer weaves a story of a successful business person working over seas, having no family; they present themselves as a thoughtful, caring and loving individual who is looking for their soul mate. The scammers are good at what they do; they ask lots of questions of the victim regarding what they want in their lives.

The scammer then takes the information and turns it into a dream that becomes a reality to the victim. They use words we all like to hear to woo our hearts so they can burn our souls. They use psychology to hold you in their spell. Once they have established a relationship then the scamming begins. In all cases the plea for financial assistance is the key to the scam. This can be for assistance in cashing a check that they are unable to cash themselves and also asking for financial assistance to help them out of a difficulty they are having. They have landed in a hotel and now cannot pay the bill so the hotel is holding all their papers so they cannot leave. They are desperate to come to you but need your help with the money to manage that. They were mugged and are in the hospital and need you to pay their hospital bill as they are being held hostage until it is paid

When you’re in possession of these checks in your possession is a felony. When you go to the bank to cash it, you may find yourself leaving the bank in handcuffs. Or, the bank may cash it, telling you it will take a few days to clear. Finally they tell you it is clear and the money is now in your account so you go to the bank, remove the money and wire it Western Union to your love. Now a few more days go by and the bank calls you and tells you that check was no good after all and they want their money back. Now what do you do. You have already sent it to your love. Well the bank must be paid back. Either the bank will agree to work with you on it and let you pay it back in payments, or they will have you arrested and you will have to face charges.

Another twist on these romance scams is the scammer will ask for your address so he can send you some flowers. They will then send you flowers, Teddy bears and candy, just to make sure you gave them the correct address. Now the scam starts in earnest. He will tell you he has ordered some things and the company will not ship to Africa so he needs to have the items shipped to you and have you ship them to him. Again, this is a felony. If you have any such items in your possession, you need to take them to the police department and file a general complaint. Take the number from that complaint and contact the party that send the items to you and give them the number, the address and phone number of the police station where their items may be found.

The best thing to do when you find you have been scammed is to block the scammer in your email, delete him from your address book, remove him from your instant messenger and put him on the ignore list in the instant messenger and read, read, read, our web site to learn all you can learn.

Our only weapon in this crime is education. The more people we can educate, the fewer victims these criminals have to choose from

Red Flags

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They Might be a Scammer If…

in Arabic, French (Francais), Japanese

scam pic

Email sent by Scammer to Dating Site Member

Let me tell you something about myself:

My full name is JIM T. WATKINS. I was born in Northern Wisconsin in October 1ST 1957, but i was brought up in Indonesia. i grew up in Indonesia, i graduated from University of Indonesia. Jakarta. My father was a gold merchant and had Merchants , company and Trade in West Coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.The 2003 Tsunami earthquake attack that took a life of thousand of people also took the life of my entire family. i and my son was very lucky that we were here in US for holiday.

I decided to move finally to US since 3years ago… I have a residence in both California, US and here in B.A…i have been living in North Vancouver for a year now….but i do go to US once or twice in a Month, that’s my second home now…i have also decided to settle down and get married. i want to start a new life and move on… i’m now planing to establish gold company and trade in B.A…the most important thing in my life now is to get a wife who will be my partner, who will be by my side and support each other. i believe two heads are better than one. we can do so many things together. we can reasons together…travel together, sing together, cook together, sleep together, bath together, eat together, kiss together and also make love together….LOL!
Take care and have a wonderful day…JIM.

While reading the following, if you answer “YES” to three (3) or more, you are involved and in contact with a scammer.

When Contact is First Made

  • They immediately want to get off the web site and onto Yahoo IM or MSN IM
  • Their profile seems to disappear off the web site immediately after conversation begins
  • They claim it was destiny or fate and you are meant to be together
  • They immediately ask for your picture and they send you a picture of themselves
  • They immediately want your address so as to send you flowers, candy, and teddy bears, often purchased with stolen credit cards
  • They claim to love you either immediately or within 24-48 hours
  • They immediately start using pet names with you: hon/hun baby/babe sweety/sweetie
  • They claim God brought you to him/her
  • They typically claim to be from the US (or your local region) but they are overseas, or going overseas mainly to Nigeria, sometimes the UK for business or family matters

Communication Skills

  • Their spelling is atrocious
  • Their grammar is not consistent with how Americans speak, French speak etc.
  • They appear uneducated with their speaking/writing skills
  • They over-use emotions
  • They are notorious for using BUZZ
  • They are notorious for using “i” instead of “I”
  • They consistently use web speak or abbreviations; u r ur cos pls/plz ma sry brb div
  • They often mix up their phrases: “i” will like to heer from you soonest, I am kool, Do you have any man you care to meet, Do you have any man you planning to meet, Looking for someone to love and care for in life, Am cheerfull in life, I will like to meet someone that is careing and loveing for real in life, “i” am too young for my age if you don’t know, Ok so how will you feel if i says i dont mind you, i will like you to be my best friend, You are so pretty for my likeness
  • They misunderstand our slang or comparisons such as night owl/early bird, poker face

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Their Habits

  • They are not usually around on the weekends to IM
  • They IM at unusual hours for your time zone
  • There are times they are gone from the conversation for a length of time and will sometimes come back at you with a different name, they’re usually conversing with more than one person at a time
  • If you ask them a question they don’t know they will usually be offline for a length of time so they can go look up the answer on the internet always claiming they had a phone call or had to go to the bathroom etc.
  • They like to send you poems or love letters, most of which can be traced back to lovingyou.com. Sometimes they even forget to change the name in the poem or letter to match your name
  • They send you flowers, teddy bears, and candy within the first few weeks of talking
  • They typically ask you to get on your web cam yet they never seem to have a web cam of their own
  • They ask for your phone number but when they call you can barely understand a word they say because of their accent and back ground noise
  • They may give you a phone number but it’s typically a calling card or a call center, you can rarely get them on the phone
  • They do not like to answer personal questions about themselves and tend to ignore questions
  • They often do not know the correct time difference between where you are and where they claim to be
  • They often claim to have one parent that is of African descent
  • A majority of them claim to have lost a spouse/child/parent in a horrific traffic accident or airplane accident or any of the above are sick or in the hospital
  • They have no close family or friend or business associates to turn to, even the US embassy, instead they can only rely on a stranger they picked off the internet
  • To them love equals financial assistance…if you do not send them money or help them out with what they ask, you do not love them
  • If you deny them or question them they become verbally abusive and will resort to threats
  • They will insist you keep the relationship a secret until “they” come to you live with you
  • Above all, if you call them a scammer they are highly offended and some will start throwing words at you in their native language

Their Inconsistencies

  • The details they give you on IM are often different that what was stated on their profiles, one of the more common ones they give different answers to is their birth date, height/weight, and age etc.
  • If you catch them on an inconsistency they will claim a friend or relative must’ve been using their id to chat with you, they will always try to come up with a cover-up and of course, you are always wrong or mistaken
  • They often misspell the cities/towns they claim they are from and are unfamiliar with any of the local landmarks and attractions
  • They do not know common questions that every US citizen would know the answer to

Blackmail Scam

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Scammers want to see what they can see as far as your house goes. We understand they sometimes have their victims scan around their house on the web cam in a ruse of saying they want to get to know you better.

Web cams are a psychological tool. By turning on your web cam to the scammer, you have become more vulnerable. They will use it to strengthen the relationship, telling the victim how beautiful or handsome she/he is. This creates more of a bond.

Scammers often convince the victim to perform sexually on web cam. This again strengthens the relationship with the victim. The victim believes he/she is sharing an intimate moment with the love of their life. Sadly, in this case it is one-sided. When the victim discovers they have been scammed and that most likely they had a room full of strangers watching them in their most private moments, they go through the same feelings of violation as a rape victim.

The Blackmail:

Many scammers are set up to capture the web cam on video. When the scam reaches the point where the victim is not giving up any more money, the scammer then turns to blackmail. They have the video. The scammer can create pictures from the video. By this time, they know where the victim works and information about the family. They threaten to send all of the pictures to one of these people unless they are paid off. It is not a good idea, because once you start paying, the demands continue. If all else fails, they threaten to sell the video or photos to a porn site for others to watch.

When the scammer realizes that you are not afraid of what he is threatening and he is not going to get anything out of it, he will go away. Thus far, we are not aware of any victim whose video/photos were sent to family or business associates or placed on a porn site. This threat is another way to manipulate you into sending more money.

The best rule of thumb you can have is DO NOT TURN on your web cam for someone you do not know. NEVER turn it on unless they have theirs on at the same time and you can see what they are doing. Even then, be very careful that the cam shot of them is NOT a pre-recorded video that is playing over and over. In recent years, the software to create phony web cam video has become very sophisticated.

Steps to Take:

1. Block and delete scammer from all your programs at work and home.

2. Avoid answering your phones, unplug them at night. If the scammer is unusually persistent, you may want to change your phone number.

3. Inform your supervisors at work about what is happening so they can help you handle the situation.

4. Set up the your computers to block any emails coming from a scammer address.

5. Contact a Romance Scams Peer Counselor for one-on-one assistance and guidance.

6. Do not respond to the scammer. Ignore him. Responding puts you at risk of being sucked back into the scam and giving into their demands.

7. Make copies of emails and instant messages of these threats. Document what is happening as it is happening.

8. Remember these are only threats. They use these tactics to continue to manipulate you into sending them money. If you refuse to give them what they want, they will eventually move on but only if you cease all contact.

Quotes by Victims:

“Well, during the last month he (the scammer) had threatened to publish my nude photos in a magazine and send them to my place of employment, as well as every store in the U.S. and all over the Internet unless I sent him money. I panicked and sent him money. But, of course, that was not the end of it. He still wanted more money.“

“He keeps sending me emails threatening to send those nude photos of me to my work. I’ve been assured here at work that they will not allow them to pass thru. In his email today he said he will open up new accounts if he has to. He’s threatening me so much. This is pure blackmail!! I’m so pissed and I’m so mad at myself for letting it get this far. You just can’t trust anyone these days, can you?”

Romance Scams… Only To Make a Profit

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Romance scammers are in this for one purpose only . . .

TO MAKE A PROFIT.

Learn how these scams work so you can protect yourself.

How the Scam Works:

Scams are BIG business. Run just like any “for profit” organization, there is a hierarchy and an organizational structure: the peons, the managers, the big bosses, the pimp daddies. Internet cafes are shut down to normal business so scammers can do “their jobs”. Home computers are a rare commodity. Most households in West Africa and other third world countries cannot afford them nor can they afford the cost of a monthly connection. Because of the easy money made from victims, scammers are well-to-do respected business men/women who quit their “normal” day jobs.

Scammers work in shifts. They have a script to follow, just like telemarketers. This is why they all sound the same. This is why the words are so similar. They are taught what to say and when to say it. They normally work in groups of six people. This is why they are always on the computer and at times it seems you are talking to different people. There may be times when they have forgotten what you talked about before or call you a different name. They take time to respond to you because they are talking to other people. When they are gone from the computers for any amount of time they are either looking up information in order to answer you or are consulting with a more experienced member of their “team”.

Scammers send sweet words, poems, and love letters…all stolen from sites on the internet. The people behind these scams are men, women, and teenagers of ALL ages. The male victims, who think they’re talking to a real beauty, may in fact be talking to a male as young as 13 years old.

The pictures are stolen from various sites and previous victims. We have some modeling sites listed. Recently scammers have been using previous victims’ photos from dating and social networking sites.

Nigeria is a cash-based society. All services, all hotel rooms, and all hospital services must be paid for in advance. The norm in Nigerian culture is to call a family meeting when a problem occurs. They have family meetings for everything. They do not get on the internet, pick a stranger off a dating site, fall in love within a few days and immediately ask for money. Scammers know victims might be aware of this and is one of the reasons why they almost immediately begin calling the victim their husband or wife.

Scammers may claim they’re being held hostage in the hospital. Call the hospital directly and ask about the “patient”. If they are asking for money to be released from the hospital, they aren’t really in the hospital. Again, Nigeria is cash-based society. ALL HOSPITAL SERVICES MUST BE PAID IN ADVANCE.

When anyone you are in contact or relationship with online claims they are an American overseas, direct them to the American Embassy for help. The Embassy will help send them home. The American Embassy highly recommends that individuals doing business in Nigeria be registered with the Embassy for their safety.

New Twist on the Scam:

When the scammer is caught by the victim and admits the crime, the next thing they do is swear they have fallen in love with the victim. Some people walk away but others do believe what they are told. After all by this time, the victim has such strong feelings for the scammer, how in the world can he/she not have feelings for them? So the victims who believe and stay are drawn into a different scam which turns out to be a whole lot more dangerous. The scammer continues the work to solidify their victim’s love and trust. The requests then start for a victim to visit the scammer in their home country.

The first visit is all about grooming the victim . The scammer will use this first visit to further solidify the relationship, so the victim “knows” this is real. After that the scammer will draw them in further ending up actually using the victim to scam other people.

We were informed by the FBI, about a woman they dealt with who has visited her scammer four times. The first visit was a dream come true. After that, she started getting drawn in to help her “love”. When she came back from the fourth visit, she was petrified with all that was going on and went to the FBI. She is in this so deep now, it is hard to get out. She is facing felony charges for her involvement. Turning in evidence can get her a lighter sentence. However, she is now under protection as she is so involved in the scam that her life and the lives of her loved ones are in danger. As long as the victim cooperated, they were safe. Once she stopped cooperating, then she and her family are in grave danger.

Fake Investigators:

We are aware of “detectives” or “private investigators” who are offering their services for a fee to track down a person’s scammer. They promise to identify who the scammer is and for an additional fee have them arrested and bring them to justice. Many people have been contacted by these fakes asking for money to assist. We know this is a continuation of the scam.

There are some fake detectives/investigators that have set up web sites stating they are NET Detectives. There are some that are showing associations to different investigative organizations. We spoke with the FBI about the affiliations and were told that they are PAID associations and anyone can be a member if they pay the fee. It in no way makes them legitimate.

The FBI also has told us there is NO WAY for anyone to really trace who the scammers are from this end. They are cloaked behind phony names and identities. The most they can tell you is they are scammers, but then we can tell you the same thing right here and we do it for FREE. If the investigator is based in Nigeria or any other West African country (and more recently in Malaysia and the United Kingdom), they are also most likely a scammer. While these “investigators” make it sound good, after they have supposedly located your scammer, they need additional money to have them arrested and brought to justice. The truth — it is another part of a scam and designed to further empty your purse or wallet. In any event, this “investigator” is either a scammer or someone who is willing to profit from the victim’s pain and loss.

Steps to Take if you have been scammed:

  • Immediately cease all contact with the scammer! Block their email address, ignore their instant messages, ignore their phone calls;
  • Contact Western Union to see if the payment has not been picked up yet (if not, cancel the transfer immediately);
  • Keep your email conversations and instant messages on your computer. Make copies of everything to give to the various reporting agencies, and keep all receipts and envelopes –anything that can be used as evidence;
  • Report the scammer to dating site you were contacted on, Yahoo Profiles, the FBI IC3 , police department (make a report) and our database;
  • Contact the bank fraud department and make payment arrangements if a check/money order has been found fraudulent and you owe money to them;
  • Contact the bank fraud department if you suspect a check you deposited will come back fraudulent;
  • Contact your Postal Carrier/Post Office and ask that no packages to be delivered at your home/ work. Also bring checks and money orders that you received to the post office to make a report and turn them over;
  • Contact your Postal Carrier/Post Office if you have been sent packages or letters to forward for a scammer. Keep the envelopes or shipping package for evidence;
  • Contact any companies that have sent you gifts or merchandise and inform them that they were purchased on a stolen credit card and make arrangements to have the items returned;
  • Contact your local police department. They may not do anything but it will help you to create a paper trail.

After being scammed you are put on a “contact” list by the scammers. You will be receiving random instant messages and emails from people you do not know. These are scammers trying to scam you again. Please immediately block them and report them as “spam”. You will know within 5 minutes if it’s a scammer by looking at the profile, how they write/speak, their picture, they state they live in a West African country (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, to name a few), they confess their love in the first meeting, they claim God brought you to them, etc. Eventually if you keep blocking them, they will stop and you will be placed on a “NO” contact list.