A Word About Legal Risks
Do Victims Fear Legal Risks?
[post updated July 31, 2018 – original post February 19, 2016]
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: We Cannot Give You Legal Advice. We Can Only Share Our Opinion
The following is an expression of non-legal opinion. You should always consult a licensed attorney regarding all matters of law, their interpretation, and to obtain a proper legal opinion. This article is for purely educational and entertainment purposes and does not represent legal opinion.
We Are Told That Many Victims Are Afraid To Report Their Scammers For Many Reasons!
- Victims Fear that they engaged in an illegal activity
- Victims Fear that the scammer will retaliate using the information they shared with the scammer
- Victims Fear that they are in physical danger from the scammer
Let’s Address This As A Common Sense Approach To Each Of These
All scams are illegal!
Scammers lure you in with the promise of something you want. Romance or Profit. Sending money to a scammer could be considered money laundering. However, law enforcement is just not interested in you. So stop worrying, they want the BIG FISH, that means they want the scammers, not victims.
In fact, you probably get a tax break because of casualty loss (the money you lost to crime).
In our experience of over 20+ years, no victim has ever been prosecuted over money they sent to a scammer.
However, collecting money or parcels and then send THAT to a scammer is referred to as being a MONEY MULE.
Being an active accessory in scamming of others is a crime. More and more, MULES are being prosecuted when discovered. What you do if you have been fooled into becoming a Mule is critical, please read the following carefully.
Our recommendation for Money Mules:
- CONTACT AN ATTORNEY” In all cases, we must recommend that you see an attorney for legal advice. While you may not face criminal charges, you may have civil liability for your role as a mule, and it is important to understand this.
- REPORT THE SCAM AND THE ACTIVITY TO THE POLICE – IF SAFE: Where you are is very important. If you are in a country like the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. or Ireland, or Europe – AND you voluntarily report that you were duped into receiving money or packages that you forwarded to a scammer is typically forgiven, especially if you come forward and report it. If you DO NOT come forward then you are concealing the crime. If they believe you are concealing the crime you could be charged for both money laundering and being a willing participant in online fraud. If you live in these countries, report it to the police immediately – tell the police everything and be sure to identify everyone that you received money from so they can be contacted and those scams stopped.
- IT IS NOT ALWAYS SAFE TO REPORT BEING A MULE: If you live in other countries, you may be in real legal danger. You should consult an attorney before reporting your involvement to the police to make sure of what your rights may be and what risks you will be taking.
- RECOVERY & SUPPORT FOR MULES: If you have been involved as a MULE, we have a specialized support group just for people conned into that role. In regular support groups other victims may resent the role you played, so we support Mules separately to help you recover from both the scam and what you may have done. Visit our support group on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/groups/RSN.Money.Mule.Support.Group
Most scammers will attempt to save the scam through threats. The more they think they can get, the more aggressive the threats will be.
However, remember what scammers are: they are liars – professional to be sure, but still liars, and they will say anything if they think you will give in and send more money.
There is is a real risk of retaliation – even though it is very rare. It depends upon what the scammer knows. In fact, BLACKMAIL SCAMS happen all the time as a second step in the Romance Scammers process.
So ask yourself what can the scammer do?
If you have them blocked from your social media, they don’t have access to your friends anymore unless they friended them too. Maybe they know where you work? Can they send emails and make embarrassing posts?
YES, they can. They can send messages and post things about you. You can always saw it is made up or the photos are photoshopped. It may be a temporary embarrassment for sure, but how you respond will determine if it is a momentary problem or a lifelong concern.
Are you going to let the scammers get away with it?
We recommend never responding to threats, it just shows your weakness. Always leave the scammer guessing. Accept that they may embarrass you and simply deal with whatever happens. Just explain that you were scammed, and whatever the scammer says is a part of that. You will have to deal with a short-term discomfort and then it will be over.
Your greatest risk is that they use YOUR PHOTOS and your identity in their scams.
Regardless, just ask yourself if you are prepared for that? If not, get prepared because anyone can be blackmailed and you are more likely to be threatened if you pay,
Scammers are trapped in their countries generally. They can’t do anything to you if you live in the U.S. or Canada, or other developed countries. Also remember, they want the police laughing at you. Threats are a different animal and a much more serious crime. Any action on a threat will bring much more attention than they want.
Yes, they may have friends that may live around the world, but scammers are generally cowards and enjoy their isolation in Africa or Asia immune from most law enforcement. The minute a scammer extends their reach beyond their own country the wrath of god will come down on them by your national authorities.
This risk is so extremely low as to be almost non-existent.
Some scammers say they will file a lawsuit against you if your report them. Let them do it! It’s all bluff – no one outside of your country has standing in your courts, plus YOU would be able to present all that wonderful information that you collected about the scam in the process – plus they would have to physically travel to your country, and you can have them arrested the minute they land! It’s all good, let them do it.
Remember, never tell a scammer you know about them or call their bluff. Leave the guessing always.
Scammers are bullies. They understand victimology and how to get what they want – your money and your silence.
They depend upon the freedom to do what they want. However, they also play the numbers. They just don’t have the time needed to enforce any of they pitiful threats. They need to stay focused on the next victim and the ones after that.
They will loop around with prior victims to see if you will be dumb enough to send them more money, but that’s about it.
Of course, we are talking about scammers in Asia and Africa. Russian scammers are different, and you will need to be more careful with them.
If you don’t report these scammers YOU ARE LETTING THEM WIN.
How many old Western Movies were about the bad guys holding the town in fear, and one person making a stand for the community?
Each of us is PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for allowing scammers to get away with it.
We live in a world with the RULE OF LAW at the center of our civilization, but each person has a personal stake in upholding that when the authorities are unable to do what it takes!
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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?
It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.
Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:
- Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBI (www.IC3.gov)
- The Scars Worldwide Reporting Network HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
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Visit our Main RSN Facebook page for much more information about scams and online crime: www.facebook.com/onlineromancefraud
To learn more about SCARS visit www.AgainstRomanceScams.org
Please be sure to report all scammers HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
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