Resources for Victims of International Financial Scams
Please read the State Department's information on international financial scams. Victims of international financial scams often do not recover any of the money they lose; however, by reporting the crime, you may help investigators arrest the perpetrators and save innocent U.S. citizens from falling victim in the future. A number of government agencies track scams and investigate scam-based crimes (see below). Victims may also benefit from emotional support following the trauma of financial scams; a directory of these resources is linked below.
The State Department does not investigate international financial crimes. However, we hope the information provided is helpful to you.
Reporting Fraud to U.S. Authorities
- File a financial loss complaint online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). This organization is a partnership of the National White Collar Crime Center and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Please note that the IC3 cannot assist U.S. citizens in recuperating their funds. The scam information that you submit will be analyzed and referred to local, state, or federal law enforcement authorities as appropriate for informational purposes only.
- If you have suffered a significant financial loss, contact your local Secret Service field office. Any investigation regarding this type of fraud will be conducted on a case by case basis at the discretion of the local Secret Service and U.S. Attorney's Office.
- Report Internet fraud to the Federal Trade Commission online or by phone, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
- If the U.S. mail was used in the fraud scheme - even if it originated by telephone or on the Internet, file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspector.
- Report it to the local police.
- If the scam originated through a particular website, notify the administrators of that website.
Reporting Fraud to Authorities Overseas
- If you believe the perpetrator is in Nigeria, report it to the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or contact them by email. You should provide detailed information including all correspondence, names and telephone numbers.
- If you believe the perpetrator is in South Africa, report it to: Lieutenant Colonel Anso Foxcroft, INTERPOL – South African Police Service. Office: +27 12 4070458. Mobile: +27 (0)82 7783639. Email: FoxcroftAnso@saps.gov.za Back-up: Captain Sharon Gounder. Office: +27 12 4070464. Mobile: 079 5144188. Email: MaharajJ@saps.gov.za
- If you believe the perpetrator is in the United Kingdom, report it to the Metropolitan Police, telephone +44-300-123-1212.
- If you believe the perpetrator is in Canada, you may report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Center, telephone 1-888-495-8501.
- If you believe the perpetrator is in another country, contact the embassy of that country in Washington, D.C. or the State Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747.
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
Fraud perpetrators can use your personal information to open bank accounts or obtain credit cards in your name. Consider taking steps to protect yourself against future identity theft. Visit the FTC's Identity Theft Center, a one-stop shopping site to help you deter, detect and defend against identity theft.
Collect and save paperwork related to your loss. If an arrest and conviction is obtained in the United States, the judge will consider requiring the offender to pay you restitution. You may be asked to provide verification of the amount of money you lost.
Some losses may be tax deductible. Consult a qualified tax advisor or the Internal Revenue Service to see if you qualify.
Counseling & Emotional Support
Financial fraud can have an emotional impact on victims and their families. The Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime has a directory of Service Providers and NGOs for all victims, including victims of fraud.
Local mental health programs can refer victims to a counselor. Many counselors accept health insurance for counseling costs. Victims who need referrals to counseling programs and those who cannot afford counseling should consider asking for help from religious leaders or clergy, their family doctor, community organizations, their employee assistance program, and/or local hospitals.
Learn About Your Destination
Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime: Do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Do not leave unattended luggage in public areas or accept packages from strangers.