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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27764
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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What do you do if you have been scam from a person you met

Customer Question

What do you do if you have been scam from a person you met on a dating site to recover your money back.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
My name is ***** ***** I am an experienced criminal lawyer.
Internet romance scammers are professional thieves. They almost always prey on victims from another country and use completely false information. Everything you know about this man, from "his" photo and profile through his computer and email IP address can and will be faked. Scammers know how to completely disappear in cyberspace.
If you can find him, you can sue him or have him prosecuted to try and get your money back. But doing that is a job for law enforcement, because you will soon find if you haven't already, that nothing he has told you will check out.
You need to report him to the police, to the FBI at and the Federal Trade Commission at Don't expect immediate results, however.
Last year Americans lost more than $50 million to romance scammers. Scam is an international problem in epidemic proportions, and law enforcement authorities cannot keep up with it. They are severely backlogged and there is frankly no way of telling when and if they are going to be able to address your complaint.
If you have the means to afford it and you want your investigation to have any priority, you would have to hire a private investigator. Otherwise, the FBI will get to this when they get to it.
Rather than wait for the FBI, since who knows when you will hear from them, you might want to take some steps to slow the scammer down by warning others. Here are some things that you can do:
Contact the site where you found this man and inform them that the person is a scammer. Ask them to take down his profile.
Run the photos he gave you on Google Search by Image.
If that turns up a lot of scam warnings about him, post on those sites and add your voice to the rest of the people so that future victims will know that he is still active.
Post your story on your own Facebook account and on other social networking sites that you may belong to. If he's on Facebook, warn his Facebook friends. If you'd rather be anonymous and not tell your story on Facebook, post his photo and disclose this fraud on sites like,,, and any others in that vein that you can find. Yahoo has a group for romance scam victims that gets pretty wide exposure. You have to join it but once you do, you can post there as well.
Sometimes on sites such as the above you can find yourself networking and exchanging details with others who were scammed by the same person, which will give you more information to give to the authorities to help them find him.
Finally, there are also people who like keeping the game going even after they realize that they have been scammed, to see just how far they can make a scammer go and what ridiculous things they can make a scammer do when they think they are going to get money. The site that comes quickly to my mind is the Ebola Monkey Man Site.
He stays within the confines of the law but makes the scammers look silly. Here is 419Eaters, which is along the same lines and will give you other ways of turning the tables on your scammer.
It's not necessarily going to catch him, and I don't necessarily recommend this route, but again you are publicizing who, what and where you believe the scammer is as well as all you know about him and making him look ridiculous into the bargain. And sometimes, revenge can be awfully sweet.
One last thing: when you are the victim of a crime, which you are, your unreimbursed losses are tax deductible. So, if nothing else, you'll be able to deduct your losses from your 2015 taxes. This is not all you deserve, but it's at least better than nothing.
I'm sorry not to have better news for you but this is the harsh reality of internet fraud. Id I ask you to kindly refrain from shooting the messenger.