The FBI & Scam Victims: Resources & Information

Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

The 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. & 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: Resources & Information

Financial Crime and You – From the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Victim Services Division

The following is extracted from the FBI’s brochure for victims of financial crimes and includes important information for scam and financial crime victims:

To reach the: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Victim Services Division – visit or call: (202) 324-3000 | www.fbi.gov/resources/victim-services


The Impact of Financial Crime

The impact of a financial crime may have serious and long-term consequences. Individuals who experience financial crimes report feeling isolated, hopeless, and betrayed, but there is help. The FBI realizes that you will most likely have questions about how your case will be handled and what services and information will be available to you.

The Investigation

Although the months or years ahead may be difficult for you and your family, your cooperation is important to ensure that justice is fully achieved. The investigation of a possible financial crime can be lengthy and complex and often involves several law enforcement agencies. Some investigations may involve hundreds of victims in one case. During this process, your case agent or Victim Specialist will remain your principle contact. If you learn of or remember anything additional about the crime, contact the case agent. Due to the sensitive nature of an ongoing federal investigation, information available to you will be limited.

For information on your rights during the investigation, please refer to the FBI Help for Victims of Crime brochure.

How Will I Obtain Information?

Federal crime victims have a number of rights during their participation in the 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. justice system, including the right to limited information about the status of the case.

You may either receive periodic updates through our Victim Notification System or you may contact the case agent or agency’s Victim Specialists on an ongoing basis.

It is very important that you report any address changes or changes in contact information during the criminal investigation, prosecution, and incarceration of the defendant.

What Can I Do About My Financial Losses?

Collect and save all documents and electronic transmissions that directly relate to your loss, including expenses incurred during your participation in the investigation or prosecution. If an arrest is made and a conviction is obtained, the judge may require the offender to pay 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.. This means the sentencing judge may order a convicted defendant to pay identified victims for certain losses suffered as a result of the crime. You may be asked to provide verification of your loss amount.

In addition, some losses may be tax-deductible, Tax laws are complicated, so consult a qualified tax advisor or the Internal Revenue Service to see if your losses qualify.

There may also be federal or state agencies that have remission or compensation funds depending on the license of an individual or business that committed the 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..

Finally, if you believe the fraud perpetrator had assets, you may be able to recover losses through a civil lawsuit. Contact your state or local bar association for the names of attorneys who specialize in this area of law to determine if your case is appropriate for civil action.

What Can I Do to Address Financial and Credit Problems?

Some victims have losses so severe that they are unable to meet current financial obligations. If personal information was stolen, credit may be affected which can impact your immediate financial situation. In both of these situations, consider these options:

  • Contact creditors and/or a nonprofit credit counselingCounseling 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. service to help you to reduce or modify your payments or help you to limit access to your accounts.
  • Submit a written statement to local and national credit reporting agencies about your victimizationVictimization Victimization (or victimization) is the process of being victimized or becoming a victim. The field that studies the process, rates, incidence, effects, and prevalence of victimization is called victimology.. Provide supporting documentation such as a copy of the criminal judgment.
  • Be alert. Many fraud artists contact victims claiming they can help recover your losses for a fee or may sell your name to others committing financial 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.. If called, contact the case agent or your state’s Consumer Protection Agency to verify the company’s legitimacy.

Many victims feel angerAnger Anger, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, trigger, hurt or threat. About one-third of scam victims become trapped in anger for extended periods of time following a scam. A person experiencing anger will often experience physical effects, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view anger as an emotion that triggers a part of the fight or flight response. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically. Anger can have many physical and mental consequences. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of "what has happened to them", psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability., resentment, frustration, shameShame 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., embarrassment, and guilt, as well as fear for financial security and personal safety. Some victims find it helpful to seek services from a counselor, clergy member, or advocacy program.

Contact your Victim Specialist for resources in your area. Additional national resources for financial and credit assistance are located in the resources section of this brochure.

Will I Get My Money Back?

Victims often want to know if they will get their money back through restitution. Many federal crimes require payment of restitution; however, the reality is that convicted defendants with no money or limited potential to make money may be unlikely to ever make meaningful restitution, particularly in financial crime cases with many victims.

Restitution may also be awarded to the victim’s estate in the event of the victim’s death.

Be assured that the federal government will work earnestly to ensure that any assets owned by a sentenced defendant can be considered for payment of court-ordered restitution. An order of restitution is enforceable for 20 years from the date a criminal judgment requiring restitution is filed or for 20 years after the convicted defendant’s release from prison.

To ensure the proper receipt of any ordered restitution, it is especially important that you notify your Victim Services Program or the Victim Notification System of any changes in contact information.

Resources

Report Financial Crime To These National Databases (In Addition To Your Local Law Enforcement)

Federal Trade Commission (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) Collects information about ongoing scams to share with law enforcement.
1-877-382-4357 | www.ftccomplaintassistant.org

Internet Crime Complaint Center (FBI) – To report internet-related crimes www.IC3.gov/complaint

General Help and Reporting

Victim Connect Resource Center – Provides service referrals to crime victims in need 1-855-484-2846

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Free confidential support 24/7 for people in distress 1-800-273-8255 | https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Do Not Call Registry (FTC) 1-888-382-1222 | www.donotcall.gov

Medicare/Medicaid Fraud Tipline | 1-800-447-8477 | https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/report-fraud/index.asp

National Association of Attorneys General – Locating and filing complaints with state consumer protection services 1-202-326-6000 | www.naag.org

For 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. Related Crimes – FTC ID theft Hotline and To File Complaint 1-877-438-4338 | www.identitytheft.gov

National Credit Reporting Agencies

Contact one to place a temporary fraud alert for all three

Annualcreditreport.com – Request free credit reports annually at this website

Identity Theft Resource Center – Free online and phone support for victims 1-888-400-5530 | www.idtheftcenter.org

IRSIRS The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the revenue & tax service of the United States federal government responsible for collecting taxes and administering the Internal Revenue Code (the main body of federal statutory tax law.) It is part of the Department of the Treasury and led by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who is appointed to a five-year term by the President of the United States. The duties of the IRS include providing tax assistance to taxpayers; pursuing and resolving instances of erroneous or fraudulent tax filings; and overseeing various benefits programs. Visit www.IRS.gov to learn more. identity theft-related guidance https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams

For Older & Vulnerable Adults

U.S. Dept. Justice – Online resource for guidance on older adult abuse/exploitation www.justice.gov/elderjustice

US. Admin. Aging Eldercare Locator – To find local Adult Protective Services and other resources 1-800-677-1116 | https://eldercare.acl.gov

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Securities Helpline for Seniors | 844-574-3577 | http://www.finra.org/investors/finra-securities-helplineseniors

Senate Subcommittee on Aging Fraud Hotline – 1-855-303-9470 | https://www.aging.senate.gov/fraudhotline

Computer Safety Tips For All Ages – National Cyber Security Alliance www.staysafeonline.org | www.stopthinkconnect.org

For Financial and Credit Assistance – Taxpayer Advocate (IRS) Assistance with federal tax issues you can’t resolve on your own 1-877-777-4778 | https://taxpayeradvocates.irs.gov

Consumer Financial Protection BureauCFPB The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a United States government agency. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. CFPB LINK – Assists to resolve complaints involving financial institutions or products such as credit card issues, mortgages, credit reporting agencies, student loans, payday lenders 855-411-2372 | www.consumerfinance.gov

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission – File a complaint or for remissions if you were defrauded by a company http://www.cftc.gov/ConsumerProtection

U.S. Courts – General information about federal bankruptcy laws and the process. www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics

Making Home Affordable – Difficulty paying your mortgage? Find options and tips to avoid foreclosure 1-888-995-4673 | www.makinghomeaffordable.gov

Your FBI Victim Specialist

The FBI Victim Specialist assigned to your case is there to make sure you have information and support to help you get through this process. She or he will explain the criminal justice process, listen to your concerns, help you find counseling and other forms of assistance, and keep you updated on the status of the case. The Victim Specialist works for the FBI but is not an Agent. Instead, the Victim Specialist is often someone with a social work or counseling degree and experience working with young people and adults who have been victims of violent crime.

The Victim Specialist works as part of a team with the FBI Agent and employees from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. While most of the discussions that you have with your Victim Specialist are confidential, there may be times when the Victim Specialist will need to share information you provide with other team members.

If you have questions about limited confidentiality, you may contact your Victim Specialist for clarification. Generally, the Victim Specialist and the Agent will make every effort to protect your privacy.

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Victim Services Division,
J. Edgar Hoover Building,
935 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington D.C. 20535
(202) 324-3000
www.fbi.gov/resources/victim-services

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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.™ Team
Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS 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. Inc.
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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:

  1. Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
  2. U.S. State Police (if you live in the U.S.) – they will take the matter more seriously and provide you with more help than local police
  3. Your National Police or FBI « www.IC3.gov »
  4. The SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network – Worldwide Reporting Network 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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To learn more about SCARS visit « www.AgainstScams.org »

Please be sure to report all scammers
on « www.Anyscam.com »

 

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