The SCARS Police Interaction Checklist
One of the problems that most victims face is that they do not know what is realistic when initially speaking with the police or government agencies.
STEP 1: Create A Crime File
After a scam you are shocked and confused, maybe even afraid, so you don’t know how to begin or what to do.
The first step is to start collecting the evidence – because that is what it is. It is evidence of a crime, and online crimes are real crimes!
You will need to create a digital folder on your computer (if you have one.) If this all happened on your phone then you will have to preserve the information in another way.
Save all files and photos into the laptop folder to preserve them for the police if they need them, and also so that it is hidden away and out of your sight so that you are not constantly reminded of the pain. Put everything you can find in there and be as complete as possible.
ON YOUR PHONE
If all you used was your phone, you still need to preserve the important parts. There are tricks that help you preserve information in an out-of-the-way place for later use.
One of those tricks is to send YOURSELF messages – either texts, or on Facebook Messenger – a message from yourself to yourself, and include what you need to keep. Another is to email it to yourself. You can also take screenshots and save those in your gallery.
We also recommend that you print what is possible and save it in a paper file folder. This is usually easier to present to the police. Especially try to print out the receipts for bank and money transfer transactions, since these are the most important for the police to have.
THINGS TO KEEP
You should keep all relevant information about the fraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements.
A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. – it is a crime and the evidence might be needed at some point.
- All hard data – banking, money, email, phone, contact info
- All scammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. stories – the chats and the dialog – you can copy from most messengers and put it all in a word or text file
- All transactional documents – documents received from the fraudster A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer., documents for money transactions, other related documents
- Photos, videos, media, etc. – if the scammer sent it to you, keep a copy in your folders for potential future use or in reporting.
We recommend that you block Blocking is a technical action usually on social media or messaging platforms that restricts or bans another profile from seeing or communicating with your profile. To block someone on social media, you can usually go to their profile and select it from a list of options - often labeled or identified with three dots ••• and cut off all contact with your scammers and any new strangers, but it is important to collect your evidence before you do that – if you can.
STEP 2: Crime Summary
Start by collecting all relevant documentation concerning the fraud in one file that is kept in a
secure location. Then summarize the important parts (not all the dialog or chats, but the core facts that the police will need.) You can create this as a digital file or even handwritten on paper – but be neat and organized.
Create a contact sheet of:
- The perpetrator’s (scammer’s) name(s)
- Physical addresses
- Email addresses
- Phone numbers
- Website addresses
- IP addresses
- As well as any of the fraudster’s purported other identification information
- Any others involved: fake lawyer, fake military, fake family – and their contact info
Create a timeline of major events, which may span the complete crime from beginning to the present:
- List significant events in the course of the scam – began, discovery, money transfers/gift card purchases, cryptocurrency transactions too!
- Your actions – money received, loans taken out, money borrowed
- Any important actions by the scammer(s)
- The police will probably not need the transcript of your chats or dialog – it will just get in the way since almost every word was a lie anyway.
Create a summary of the money or finances involved:
- Money you sent to the scammer(s) – receipts, amounts, who sent to, how sent
- Money you may have received from anyone that might be connected – who from, amounts, how received
- Did you give any financial information to the scammers – what?
- Did you give access to banking or other accounts to the scammer? What & where
- Was any money sent to anyone in your same country?
STEP 3 – Know Your Rights
You have rights imparted by federal and, in some cases, state law. Learn about your rights to better prepare yourself.
STEP 4 – Preparing to Go To the Police
Before you go and file a criminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. complaint with your local police The Local Police is your first responder in most countries. In most English-speaking countries and in Europe report to them first. In other countries look for your national cybercrime police units to report scams to. In the U.S., Canada, & Australia, you must report to the local police first. there are things you will need to know to properly set your expectations.
- Gather together your evidence and make sure your timeline and money records are well organized, that is what they will be most interested in.
- Understand that the police will not rush out and go to Nigeria or Ghana and arrest the scammers
- They will also, in most cases not be able to recover your money. But if you sent money to someone in your country (such as the U.S. you need to make that very clear.)
- The police are not interested in all the chats or the things the scammer promised you – they were all lies and of no importance in the crime at this point. They matter to you, but they are not factual. If the scammer is ever arrested, then they will matter.
- Understand that you have only two objectives when going to the police:
- Reporting a crime and getting the police report number, since certain benefits come from that
- Regaining control in your life by confronting your fears and doing your duty
- When you walk out of the police, you will not have any closure nor specific satisfaction – it just does not work that way – but it is important
STEP 5 – Your Attitude
When you contact the police, make sure you physically go into their station to make the report. This is both important for your own psychology and to assure that the report gets taken.
Do not expect anything from the police – but make sure that when you talk to them you use the word “fraud” and NOT “scam.” Fraud is a more comfortable term for them and in truth, they are the same thing.
They are the first responders and all other reporting will depend on their report first.
- Do not go in in a panic, they are not going to save you. However, if you really are afraid, then be sure to ask the police how to obtain a protection order as well.
- Do not go in angry – if you are hostile with them you will get no results and only be more upset when you leave.
- Do not try to hide any information – you have nothing to be ashamed of – you are the victim of a crime.
- Do not expect that they will do anything. Their job is not to leave your town, but once you have the report number then other doors open for you.
Ask a friend or family member to go with you. You do not have to tell them everything, just that you were scammed. But having someone with you will help you make it through this and support you afterward. You can look here for How To Explain To Others
STEP 6 – Talking With The Police – Filing The Report
First, understand that very few police understand relationship scams A Relationship Scam is a one-to-one criminal act that involves a trust relationship and uses deception & manipulation to get a victim to give to the criminal something of value, such as money!
Click here to learn more: What Is A Relationship Scam? – they may not be able to understand how the manipulation works and they may think you are mostly to blame Blame or Blaming is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, their action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. Blame imparts responsibility for an action or act, as in that they made a choice to perform that act or action. – that does not matter. You are there for ONE PURPOSE – to file a report.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHY REPORTING MATTERS
When you go in, tell them you want to file a complaint for fraud (don’t use the word scam), and ask if you can speak with a fraud detective. If you are a woman, you can also ask to speak with a woman detective.
MAKE SURE: You get the name and badge number of the officer that takes the report – write it down.
They will likely give you a form to fill in, or they may take the report orally. Be sure you start with just the basics:
- You were defrauded
- You lost money – how much and how it was sent
- You have information – ask them what they would like to know
- If you sent money to someone in your own country (such as a mule A money mule sometimes called a "smurfer," is a person who transfers money acquired illegally (e.g., stolen) in person, through a courier service, or electronically, on behalf of others (usually criminals that they are knowingly or unknowingly affiliated). Typically, the mule is paid for services with a small part of the money transferred - but not always. Mules may or may not be aware that they are performing these actions. Money mules are often dupes recruited online for what they think is legitimate employment, not aware that the money they are transferring is the product of crime. The money is transferred from the mule's account to the scam operator, typically in another country. Similar techniques are used to transfer illegal merchandise. Mules can be prosecuted for numerous crimes.) tell them that clearly, and that you suspect it was an “accomplice”
- Give them any information they ask for, no matter how embarrassing – you have nothing to be ashamed of and you are not to blame
If you sent money by bank wire transfer, be sure you have a copy of our article about INTERPOL money recovery kit – so you can tell them that they should look at the Interpol kit for recovering money sent by wire transfers – here is the article According To INTERPOL It May Not Be Too Late
Next, before you leave ask them to refer the case to the state cybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks. unit – every state in the U.S. has one, most countries have one too.
MAKE SURE: you do not leave without getting a report number.
If the officer objects to taking a report, ask to speak with the “Watch Commander,” Police Chief, or Sherrif. Do not accept no for an answer – but do not be hostile or nothing will happen for you. Attitude is everything.
If they object, tell them you need it for your insurance and your taxes – your accountant needs it too. The police routinely take “informational” police reports for this purpose.
MAKE SURE: You ask if there is a victims’ advocate on staff that you can talk to also – they know how to access local government benefits and other assistance you might need. Domestic Abuse advocates understand trauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people.
Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.
Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. and can help you also.
STEP 7 – After Reporting To The Police
Once you have your local police report number – you can use this to obtain any local benefits that may be available. We recommend that you contact your social services department for more information about what may be available.
Do not expect the police to contact you – it is very likely that none of your information can be acted upon, but you never know.
By reporting you are taking control, doing your duty, and helping government really understand how widespread this is. It matters.
STEP 8 – Additional Reporting
After you are done with the local police, you still have more reporting to do.
- Regardless of your country, we recommend that you report to both the U.S.FTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution.
To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov (https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS)
- Report it on the SCARS website www.Anyscam.com so it will be distributed worldwide
- If you know that the scammer was from a specific country, contact the agency in that country responsible for these crimes – in Nigeria that would be the EFCC Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is a Nigerian law enforcement agency that investigates financial crimes such as advance fee fraud (419 fraud), scams, and money laundering. The EFCC was established in 2003, partially in response to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), which named Nigeria as one of 23 countries non-cooperative in the international community's efforts to fight money laundering. The agency has its head office in Abuja, Nigeria. – they may not be able to help, but they do make use of the information
- Do not waste your time trying to “expose” the scammer – there are over a billion fake profiles. All it will do is frustrate you.
STEP 9 – Aftermath
After this is all done, it is time to turn you back on it and get professional help – to help you to recover from this.
You have a choice for help:
- A SCARS Scam Victim Support Group In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers. (such as this one on Facebook) or our groups on Telegram or Spond.
- Local Trauma Counseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes.
A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists".
SCARS does not provide mental health counseling. or Therapy – do not be ashamed to ask for help! The only shame Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self; withdrawal motivations; and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness. is not asking for help. Here is a directory of Trauma Counselors & Therapists: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/trauma-and-ptsd
This seems like a lot to deal with after your scam, but take it one step at a time. Focus on getting organized using our checklist.
After this, your only job is to recover!