DANGER - THE ADVENT OF CYBER INVESTIGATORS
Cybercriminals operate the world over. We know this.
Cybercriminals steal billions of dollars from individuals around the world. We all know this too!
This is a problem of epic proportions with as many as a million new victims in 2016 alone.
Like all areas of economic activity, this creates an environment for business - some honest some not. Some are specific service businesses that claim to help victims. Some actually do help victims (like us).
In fact there are many such businesses. Some are for profit, some are not for profit, some are free.
While we have no problem or issues with fundraising activities that are honest and transparent, we have issues with those that are not.
Here are examples of dishonest business activities:
- People that claim that they go to African countries and get scammers arrested with or without a fee.
- People that claim they can get any part of the victim's money back - with or without a fee.
There are also honest - as in legitimate businesses registered in their country that are also a concern:
Online or Internet Private Detectives
This is a new class of business that has emerged in the last year that claims to assist victims with their scam. In many cases they do provide services, such as: identification of IP address location, and confirmation where the scam originated. They can also act on your behalf with your local authorities.
Unfortunately, these private detectives have no power to get your money back from Africa, or elsewhere. They also have no ability to get someone arrested. The world simply does not work that way,
If you have been a victim, regardless of how frustrating it may be, there are no magic answers. No one is going to save you from the consequences of your actions. No one is going to recover your money or get justice for you most of the time ...
UNLESS the criminal is in a Western Country. Even then, the only reliable enforcement is when they are IN YOUR COUNTRY. Then you local police can and will act. But those are less than 1% of all the online scams. So the odds are not good.
There are a couple of exceptions, such as Scammers that operate in the Philippines - since these are mostly real people, money can sometimes be recovered. But they are mostly not.
You need to recognize that you made a terrible mistake that you now need to work through. You need to focus on the financial impact and the emotional impact of the scam. Your recovery is really the only thing you have control of. The more you dwell on the scammer, the longer it will take you to recover and move on.
This is not a satisfying answer, but it is the simple truth.
You can pay an investigator thousands but in the end all you have are more questions. You can get those same answers right here for free.
And never listen to anyone that tells you a story about how they go to Africa to get scammers brought to justice. The vast majority of them are liars or worse.
Members of our team have been there and made the attempt over the years. But these countries are neither safe nor responsive. You are just as likely to be targeted by a gang as you are to get a local police to listen to you. These are countries riddled with terrorists and people who care nothing about killing a foreigner. This is fact and the rest is fantasy.
The only way you can get a scammer arrested in their country is if your national police make the trip - without you in most cases - to set up a sting, but in these cases only one or two scammers are arrested. That is a drop in the bucket, which is why American or European police so rarely do it.
We are sorry to say this but you should expect no significant support from law enforcement (unless the scammer is in your country), and no justice.
You should focus on recovering emotionally and leave it at that. Because in the end that is the way forward.
We sincerely understand where you are, since we are also victims, but fantasies just make it harder to recover.
All our best wishes for you.
The RSN Team