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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 24505
Experience:  18 years of litigation experience.
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My boyfriend is in South Africa and had s passport taken

Customer Question

My boyfriend is in South Africa and had his passport taken away because of an arrangement between him and Maersk Oil that he would pay the workers. Due to circumstances beyond his control, he advised the workers that he would pay them as soon as he got back to the US. The day before he was to leave, they had a final meeting and the workers revolted and Brad was taken into custody. They now want 250,000.00 to get his passport back so he can come back home. Please give me some advice, I do not have 250,000.00 to get him out
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but your "boyfriend" is an internet romance scammer. This is an excuse to get money from you and one we hear several times every day.

I already know you've never met this guy but he's just an internet contact who rushed you into a romantic relationship, left the country supposedly for a job offer and then, right before he's finally going to be able to fly home and meet you, has this very expensive emergency that only you can solve.

This is known as the Stranded Traveler Scam, and nothing you know about him is the truth. Any real businessman with such a contract abroad would have insurance so that he could complete the job and pay his workers. Any real worker who qualified for such a contract abroad would have to be carefully vetted, would be fully solvent, and would have assets and lines of credit. He wouldn't need to ask an internet girlfriend for money.

Report him to the police, to the FBI at IC3.gov and cease contact with him. He's not who, what or where you think he is. And he's certainly not in custody.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What are the chances of getting my money back that have given him
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What are the chances of getting the money back that I have given him. Please reply
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.

Sorry for the delay. Your follow up question was posted after midnight in my time zone and I'd already turned off my computer for the evening.

Unfortunately, the odds of you being able to get your money back are low to zero. This is because the technology that scammers use to be able to hide out in cyberspace is far more sophisticated than what law enforcement has to catch them. All of their information that they give you willl prove to have been falsified.

There's no question that if you can find him, you'd be able to sue him for your money back or have him arrested and prosecuted for his fraud and get restitution. But finding him will be very difficult because he could be anybody anywhere in the world. This is one reason scammers prey on people from other countries in the first place. Law enforcement has no jurisdiction outside of its own country. That means the most the FBI or your police could do would be to contact the South African authorities, who may or may not choose to investigate your problem.

I wish I could give better news, but this is the unfortunate reality of internet scam and why it's an international problem in epidemic proportions.