The Question Is: Should You Hire An Investigator To Track Down Your Scammer?
This is a very loaded question. Meaning it implies many things, few of them good.
We are assuming that you mean the scammer behind the fake or stolen photo? Or do you mean the person pictured?
Let’s Start With The Scammer Behind The Fake Profile – Identities – The Stolen Photos!
The First Question Is A Big WHY?
Why do you want to hunt down the real identity of your scammers (remember that it is very likely that you were scammed by a team)?
Let’s look at the basic assumptions about your scam:
- You interacted with a series of fake identities – one or more
- Nothing you were told was the truth
- Unless you did a bank to bank wire transfer you probably do not even know who received the money – yes you can use fake names with MoneyGram and Western Union in some countries
- The photos were stolen – even if the scammer admitted later the “truth” and showed you a “real” photo of them it can all still be lies
- If they sent something (a gift) to you it was most likely with stolen credit cards
So What Do You Really Know?
You were sold a nice fairytale. You were deceived into believing in a fabricated relationship or other scams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost.. But almost nothing was real.
Every victim wants closure and justice, but the simple fact is that they are in short supply. Seeking these things for this kind of crime typically results in obsession, vigilantism & scambaiting A foolish activity where a victim or nonvictim engages in deception and fraud to lead on a scammer into revealing information or for the sport of it. Deliberate deception online, regardless of the reason, is both unethical and in many places may also be illegal. While not prosecuted, Scambaiting has no legitimate benefit and should never be performed by victims since it is an act of revenge and only amplifies trauma. It is a reprehensible practice that is popularized by amateur anti-scam groups driven by their hate for fraudsters.
Learn more: SCARS Position Statement Against Scambaiting, or increasing the 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. you already experienced because of frustration that will come from failure.
Hire A Detective? Please Don’t!
Yes, it is possible to hunt them down.
There are real detectives out there that will take on these cases, and it is expensive.
No one YOU can find on social media or on the web is going to be trustworthy, because the scammers hunt for victims they can scam again under the promise of recovering your money or identifying the scammer. Facebook has hundreds (thousands?) of fake detective agencies. You will not be able to tell the differences remotely in most cases between an honest detective in Nigeria from a fake one, plus no matter how much you are paying the local detective, the scammers have more money and can buy them off!
We have used people in the past, and there is even a verified SCARS Member agency in Germany that is reliable (you can contact us by email for their identity if you want – at contact@AgainstScams.org).
But Once You Have The Name Of Your Scammer Then What?
Yes, you can spend money to track them down.
You can spend even more money to personally go to Africa or wherever and meet with the local police.
In most cases, this goes nowhere – mostly due to the poor quality of the evidence or the lack of real names used in the transactions. In many cases the local police will want money to investigate – this can be yet again another scam. However, less than a handful of scammers are ever arrested because of this.
Most Scammer Arrests Are The Result Of Two Main Actions:
1. Properly reporting scammers: to your local police, to your national police (FBI »), and to Anyscam.com »
Reporting scammers serves several purposes:
- It helps governments – local and national – understand the magnitude and scope of these crimes, even if there is nothing they can do immediately, this helps them decide on budgets and resources.
- As evidence accumulates and is combined it leads towards information that can be used to identify real individuals and in some cases even arrests. These are then also placed on watch lists for when they cross borders. Then they can be apprehended and tried.
- They can also be used by major international police agencies such as the FBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. or Europol The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known under the name Europol, formerly the European Police Office and Europol Drugs Unit, is the law enforcement agency of the European Union (EU) formed in 1998 to handle criminal intelligence and combat serious international organized crime and terrorism through cooperation between competent authorities of EU member states. The Agency has no executive powers, and its officials are not entitled to arrest suspects or act without prior approval from authorities in the member states. Based in The Hague, it comprised 1,065 staff as of 2016.
WEBSITE LINK to work with local countries to sweep for scammer groups and cartels as was done so effectively in 2018 with thousands of arrests.
- Reporting also helps to identify the scammer’s middlemen or MULES. Removing them helps shut down a scammer’s operational network for a while.
2. Random Scammer Arrests
Today in West Africa, most scammers are being arrested by randomness. Meaning that scammers are not being arrested because of complaints by victims but by the scammer’s own lifestyle or actions. In Nigeria, 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. and local police are looking for examples of scammer instant wealth and investigating. This is the first line of targeting scammers that make their new riches visible to the police. In fact, many scammers publicize their stolen money all over social media.
In addition, there are new technological processes that have been put in place (by SCARS & others) to identify individuals and groups involved in scamming completely independent of who their victims are.
This also includes that their government prosecutors have access to the SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network databases collected through Anyscam.com » and our other reporting points (such as RomanceScamsNow.com » also). Once a scammer is arrested, they can then go through the computers and phones, and other online accounts and compare that with reports to confirm scamming activity.
These tactics are resulting in dozens of arrests a week – over 21,000 arrests in 2018.
We Are Not Telling You What To Do With Your Money
We cannot tell you that you may not be able to find and get a scammer arrested. It has happened. But the odds are very much against it.
We are advising you NOT to travel to the scammer’s country as this can be physically dangerous to you. Victims have been murdered or gone missing, and no one knows how many. It is simply not safe for you to play vigilante and try to hunt them down in their own backyard.
However, as we previously said, your personal number one goal should be to accept what has happened to you and focus on your future, regardless of how difficult that will be so that you can emotionally and psychologically recover from the trauma this crime caused in you.
Just remember one crucial thing! You are susceptible to obsession and being fooled. That is what you scam was initially before the heavy manipulation was employed to hold you in the fantasy. That means you have to look at your decisions more much more carefully to make sure you are not acting impulsively or being fooled into yet another bad decision.
In short, we are telling you that yes it is possible to track them down and in rare cases get one or two people arrested, but in the process spend thousands more. You will also be putting your recovery on hold while you follow this goose chase.
However, The Choice Is Always Yours
Just remember that you lead yourself down one rabbit hole, and now you may be doing exactly the same thing again.
What If You Are Looking For The Real Person In The Photo?
STOP RIGHT THERE!
You do NOT have a relationship with the face in the photo. As much as you think you do you do not know that person. You might like to know them or warn them that their photos are being used by scammers – but please trust us they already know. They are also victims of the scammers. Just imagine how their lives have changed by hundreds or thousands of people contacting them to tell them they love them or hate them. Some have lost marriages because of this.
Just Leave Them Alone!
You can learn more here »
Getting Your Money Back
You may or may not recover financially, but the odds of getting your money back are almost non-existent. Even if the local government arrests the scammer they keep the money and assets. As hard as it is, you should accept that the money is gone.
In summary, holding on to the obsession of the scammer or the face in the photo is not healthy for you.
We have helped thousands to recover after their scams by accepting the truth of their situation and though it is difficult – to move on. In time you will get over this.
It Will Not Be Easy But You Can Get Through This!
The Alternatives Are Obsession, Madness, Or Never Recovering
If you are seriously considering spending more money chasing bad please discuss it with your family or friends or a local counselor or therapist.