(Last Updated On: August 13, 2021)

Scammers Using Your Identity

You Gave Them All They Need!

A SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Insight

ScamScam 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. Victims Send Money To Scammers!

But Sometimes Scammers Keep The Money In The Victim’s Name!

There is a practice that has been going on for at least a decade in several African countries, and in Asia and the Middle East too!

The Scenario

A scam victim wants to send a sizable amount of money to a scammerScammer 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.. The only practical way to do this is via bank wire transfer (through the SWIFT system).

So the scammer, anticipating the receipt of the money works with one of their local corrupt bankers to open an account in the victim’s name. This is not hard since the scammers usually have local bankers in their pockets, and the victims usually supply enough information to enable this – such as passport information.

The corrupt banker opens the account in the victim’s name. This helps the scammer hide from their local governments and avoid seizures or taxes in their income. After all the money is in the name of the victim – though because the account was set up by the scammer and the corrupt banker, the scammer has full access to the money.

Once set up, the victim sends their money that goes into this account – secretly in their name. But the scammer can also use this account to receive even more money from many other victims. In fact, this type of account can be used to receive money from thousands of victims. When the money hits the account it can be forwarded to another “safe” account somewhere else, such as in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc. From the perspective of these transactions, it appears that it is all done by the victim whose name is on the first account.

Eventually, governments find these accounts and identify the original victim as an accessory in the money launderingMoney laundering Money laundering is the illegal process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions. Money laundering can be done through various mediums, leveraging a variety of payment vehicles, people and institutions. chain. Of course, sometimes the banker is also identified and arrested. But for the original victim, they are now international money launderers and subject to arrest and in rare cases extradition to the country in question – if there are agreements between the victim’s home country and where the scammer set up the account. Even without that, the victim’s name goes on international money laundering watch lists around the world.

The Victim Is Double Victimized

What few victims pay any attention to is how scammers may be using their identities.

For example, scammers often have enough information to request a replacement passport from the victim’s country’s embassy. Or obtain credit cards internationally. Or sign the victim up to be responsible for international loans.

Victim’s names can be used on illicitillicit Illicit means something that is not legally permitted or authorized under the law; unlicensed; unlawful. It can also mean disapproved of or not permitted for moral or ethical reasons. shipments of products, from knock-off fake goods, to weapons, to drugs. These shipments can go to third-party countries or to the victim’s own country.

Scammers are part of global organized crime networks and identities have high value for the things that can be done with them to hide the identity of the real criminals. Victims would be completely unaware of these activities until someone shows up at their down to arrest them, or they travel to an affected country and are arrested at the point of entry.

When Victims Do Not Report Their Scam

The problem is that when victims do not report their scam, in effect, they have no proof that the scam occurred. At least proof that would be legally acceptable in all cases.

The importance of reporting the crime, starting with the local policeLocal 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. and then with the national police (FBIFBI 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., NBINBI The National Bureau of Investigation (Filipino: Pambansang Kawanihan ng Pagsisiyasat, abbreviated as NBI) is an agency of the Philippine government under the Department of Justice, responsible for handling and solving major high-profile cases that are in the interest of the nation. The NBI was modeled after the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) when it was being established., RCMPRCMP The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) // Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC)), colloquially known as the Mounties, and is the federal and national police service of Canada, providing law enforcement at the federal level. The RCMP also provides provincial policing in eight of Canada's provinces (all except Ontario and Quebec) and local policing on a contract basis in the three territories (Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon) and more than 150 municipalities, 600 Indigenous communities, and three international airports. The RCMP do not provide active provincial or municipal policing in Ontario or Quebec. However, all members of the RCMP have jurisdiction as a police officer in all provinces and territories of Canada., ActionFraudActionFraud Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. WEBSITE LINK, EuropolEuropol 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, etc.) is that it establishes that a crime did happen and that the victim is the victim of that crime. This is kind of like reporting that your car is stolen, and then finding out it was used in a bank robbery – because you reported it, it becomes clear you are not involved. This is a “get out of jail free card.” It establishes that whatever happens afterward or by the scammer, you are not held responsible or at least have proof that you are the victim of a crime.

Most Victims Provide Enough Information

It really does not matter the type of the scam. They can be romance, lotto, government impersonationImpersonation An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors. phone scamsScams 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., tech support scamsTech Support Scams Phone scammers may masquerade as tech support employees for a major company in order to take your money or install a virus on your computer. They may call from what seem to be legitimate company numbers using caller ID spoofing., or others.

Sadly, most victims provide more than enough information for scammers to use their identities and a multitude of ways for their criminalCriminal 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. purposes.

  • Normal identity theftIdentity Theft Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In both the U.K. and the United States it is the theft of personally identifiable information. Identity theft deliberately uses someone else's identity as a method to gain financial advantages or obtain credit and other benefits, and perhaps to cause other person's loss. The person whose identity has been stolen may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are falsely held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Personally identifiable information generally includes a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources.: bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and more
  • Money laundering: money transfers, conversion to bitcoin, cashier’s checks, certificates, stocks, bonds, and more
  • Customs transactions: movement of goods across borders – illicit or legitimate items
  • Commodity purchases: petroleum products, agricultural goods, etc.
  • Fake vehicle registrations: cars, boats, planes, more
  • Real replacement documents: vehicle titles, home titles, ID cards, passports, etc.
  • Tax return fraudFraud 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.: obtaining the victim’s tax refunds
  • Unemployment & benefits fraud: filing for unemployment claims or other government benefits using the victim’s name
  • Insurance beneficiary: scammers also change the beneficiaries on life and other types of insurance

These are but a few of the ways scammers can use the victim’s name and identity, both internationally and in the victim’s own country. If there is a way, the scammers will find a way to do it. If not the scammer that the victim had contact with, then by other criminals that the scammer sold the information to.

After The Scam Check Everything

After you have been scammed you need to go systematically through all of your possible weak points.

Start with the information you know you gave to the scammer: passports, driver’s licenses, social security, etc. With your police report number in hand, contact the agencies and request new identification documents and numbers. In most countries, with proof of reporting an identity theft, you can obtain new documents at little or no cost.

Don’t forget to contact all of your financial institutions and change your accounts. Be sure to alert banks, credit cards, and credit bureaus.

Most victims completely overlook these processes and as a result, end up having their identities stolen.

In the U.S. fully 50% of the residents are at risk right now. Similar numbers for the U.K. and Europe. This is why reporting to the police is a requirement not an option!

If you never sent money, or never gave the scammer any information you still need to be alert to the possibility of these events. Scammers can harvest vast amounts of information from social media profiles. In many cases, they can find enough information that victims publish about themselves to be able to steal or use their identity.

Ask Yourself

You may not want to report to the police. You may feel ashamed, embarrassed, guilty. You may not want anyone to find out. But a small amount of discomfort and effort now can help you avoid massive problems and legal responsibility later on.

So what are you going to do?

You can remain in denialDenial Denial is a refusal or unwillingness to accept something or to accept reality. Refusal to admit the truth or reality of something, refusal to acknowledge something unpleasant; And as a term of Psychology: denial is a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality. or angry and avoid doing what you need to do or you can report the crime.

Even if you did not lose money you should still report it. Many communities, states or provinces, and national police allow for online reporting. Always report locally first and get a report or record number that you can keep in your crime record organizer (such as the SCARS RED BOOK available here).

You have the choice to set the stage for your own protection in the future, or you can avoid the whole issue and roll the dice to see what happens.

Just remember, scammers are professionals and they will not leave money on the table. If they can exploit your identity, they will. Period!

Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

U.S. FTCFTC 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 at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS and SCARS at www.Anyscams.com