While there’s little chance of recovering your money, there are several things you can and should do to help authorities track down and prosecute these thieves:
1) Report the scam to your local police.
2) If you sent a scan of your passport or other personal ID to the scammer, be sure to tell police. Keep a look out for any illegal activity being done under your identity by doing regular web searches of your name.
3) Report the scam to any third-party service providers used by the scammer, i.e. Western Union, Moneygram, Craigslist, Yahoo mail, and the Internet Service Provider used by the scammer to connect to the Internet (found in long message headers – see 4 below).
– Western Union: Please report the scam to the local Western Union Agent you used to transfer funds.
Alternatively, use this form. https://wumt.westernunion.com
- Moneygram: Report the scam to the Moneygram agent you used to transfer funds. For more information, visit this site: https://www.moneygram.com
- Craigslist: Report the scam to Craigslist and ask them to do more to block scam activity on its website.
- Yahoo Mail: Report the scam to Yahoo and ask them to do more to block scammers from abusing this service.
4) Be sure to include the full message headers of any emails you include in your reports.
You can determine the scammer’s Internet Service Provider and geographical location by locating the originating IP address, then looking it up using http://whois.domaintools.com. For a tutorial on how to do this, click here: http://www.johnru.com/active-whois/trace-email.html
5) File a report with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
6) File a complaint with one of these organisations:
If you’re in the U.S., file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3): http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
In Australia, check the ScamWatch website to see where to report the scam: http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemid/694011
In Canada, file a complaint on the Reporting Economic Crime On-line (RECOL) website: https://www.recol.ca/intro.aspx?lang=en
In France, file a report here: https://www.internet-signalement.gouv.fr
7) Tell those around you what happened in order to increase awareness. Post warnings on internet forums and websites like craigslist and expatriates.com. Spread the word and help put scammers out of business!