A Comment About Reporting
From the Romance Scams Now Team
As we have said many times, you have to be thorough and meticulous in the information that you report. Report everything you can get, and if you don’t have much, keep the scammer engaged until you have everything possible: recipient’s names, phone numbers, emails, address, everything you can get.
But reporting is just the start!
Why? Because in some of these countries the local police will not believe you. They view this as a voluntary transaction between you and the fraudster. Meaning, that no crime took place, or at least it happened outside their country.
Malaysia is great for taking this seriously though, and they do go after scammers, but it takes multiple reports before they act.
In the Philippines, most scams are of no importance to the local police, but their NBI has also good about following up. But they have so many scam, and child porn complaints, they are overwhelmed, so they prioritize their resources.
However, in Western Africa, we have found it more useful to go after scammers using different tactics. Namely the money. We have been successful approaching it as TAX fraud, and operating a criminal gang. It’s about following the money, because this is what get’s their attention.
We are sorry to say that a single victim will not get much attention in the source countries, though it is important to report it regardless, if for no other reason than you can get some tax relief in your country (a deduction).
Reporting is the starting point for us. We look for patterns, and multiple reports tracking back to a single team or location. We look for things like IP addresses, to track them to the cyber cafes. We work to identify multiple recipients and try to flag Western Union and other agencies, though the problem is that YOU told Western Union this was not a scam transaction.
Of course you can personally hire an investigator in the source country at an average cost of between $500 to $5000 to track down a scammer, but as we said, just tracking one down doesn’t usually result in an arrest or getting your money back.
Please don’t be discouraged by this, your reports are critical – they are filling the pieces of the puzzle that can lead to action. Just don’t expect a single scam report to yield immediate action. It just doesn’t work that way.