Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

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 to learn more about SCARS.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. Basics: Where Does Your Money Go?

Scammers Arrests Are Increasing Worldwide, But When Arrested Where Does The Victim’s Money Go?

This Depends On The Country

In the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, and other First World Countries

When scammers are arrested in the developed – first world countries – there is a process for including and supporting victims in the process. This includes participating in the trial, in the sentencing, and the return of the victims’ assets. In most of these countries, there is a defined set of victims’ rights that protects the victim and allows for their participation and recovery.

However, there can be conflicts when the government imposes fines on the perpetrator – in these cases, this comes before restitutionRestitution Restitution is where a court orders the defendant to give up his gains to the claimant (victim). It should be contrasted with Compensation, the law of loss-based recovery, in which a court orders the defendant to pay the claimant for their loss. to the victims. This is why it is important for victims to participate in the process, especially in the assignment sentencing so that the court can consider the victims’ interests.

If the monies and other property seized by law enforcement are insufficient, courts frequently assign restitution requirements for the convict. If the amount of restitution is insufficient, victims can also engage in a civil suit for more recovery.

Of course, this only applies when the 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. is caught and tried in a first world / developed country or one that has these processes in place.

In The Rest Of The World

In most other countries – this includes Asia-Pacific,  Latin America, and Africa, anything that is seized from the scammers is typically just kept by the local government that is involved.

The physical assets, such as electronics, are typically kept by law enforcement for their use or sold for their monetary value.

In the case of money, this depends on the country and their process. In some countries, it is kept by law enforcement, in others, it goes to the national treasury. In almost all cases it never goes back to the victim.

Additionally, the victim rarely has any say in the process, including sentencing. (click here for more on sentencing)

Are Victims Notified?

In the Western World, yes they are, since each victim results in another potential 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. count or charge against the scammer.

Law enforcement will examine the seized computers, phones, and other documents to help them identify victims, then bring the victim into the process to try and convict the scammer. In most cases, every victim identified will be contacted to aid in the judiciary process.

However, in Asia / Pacific, Latin America, and especially Africa – the victim is not critical to the case and rarely is the victim local, so the process of notification breaks down. In Nigeria, for example, unless the EFCCEFCC 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. (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) is specifically working on a victim complaint – the scammer is arrested, tried, and convicted without victim participation. The victims of the convicted scammers will simply never know since they are unnecessary to the trial and conviction process.

SCARS is in discussion with African governments and worldwide with our global SCARS Chapters to change this process.

What Happens To The Evidence?

In the Western World, the evidence is retained by law enforcement or the courts for future use in cases of appeal or retrial. All contents are kept in evidence and inaccessible by the public.

In Africa, Asia / Pacific, and Latin America:

After the completion of the trial, the evidence is usually freed for use by law enforcement or disposed of.