Thank you; that was my concern.
Unfortunately, there are many internet scams where an individual will contact an American, requesting financial assistance due to an emergency;
this is per the US embassy website:
The most common scams involve someone allegedly in Nigeria who is in some sort of trouble, ranging from detention to extortion or hospitalization. Inevitably, the sender is making an appeal for money. If this is someone you have not met personally, we urge you to stop corresponding with whoever sent the message, and please do not send any money to Nigeria.
Before you send funds, check to see if you recognize any of the following signs, and realize that you may be a potential victim of a scam:
- You only know your friend or fiancé online and may never have met in person.
- Photographs of the scammer show a very attractive person, and appear to have been taken at a professional modeling agency or photo studio. If they provide you with a copy of their passport or visa, you can always contact the U.S. embassy in the country where the passport or visa was issued to verify the validity of the document.
- The scammer's luck is incredibly bad – he/she is in a car crash, or arrested, or mugged, or beaten, or hospitalized. Close family members are dead or unable to assist. Sometimes, the scammer claims to have a young child overseas who is ill or hospitalized.
- You have sent money for visas or plane tickets but they can't seem to make it to their destinations, citing detention by immigration officials, or other reasons that prevent them from traveling.
- Beware of anyone who requests funds for a BTA, or Basic Travel Allowance, as a requirement to depart another country for the United States. There is no such thing as a BTA. In other cases, your Internet friend will claim to need a travel allowance, or travel money, to be able to travel to the United States. Again, there is no such requirement under U.S. law.
- The scammer claims to have been born and raised in the United States, but uses poor grammar and spelling indicative of a non-native English speaker.
- Although the scammer may claim to be in Nigeria, he or she may ask that the money be sent to an account in another country. Alternatively, the scammer may state he or she is in a third country but request that funds be sent to the Nigeria.
- The scammer may even claim to be contacting you from a U.S. Embassy, where your partner, business associate, or friend is being detained pending payment of some type of fee. U.S. embassies do not detain people.
There is even a specific agency established to help report and investigate these internet scams:
If an American is truly in need of money overseas, they can arrange a wire transfer from a family member or friend that they have a long standing personal relationship with through the US consulate - they will assist in notifying relatives;
More information here:
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.