If you think you are a victim of an advance fee scam, we recommend that you act immediately by following our guidelines below, and then proceed to our ReportRecover, and Reinforce sections for further assistance. An advance fee scam can affect your finances and hurt your credit history.

Some Immediate Action Steps to Take

  • Collect all relevant documentation related to the scam and keep them in a secure file. You may need to provide this documentation when you file a report.
  • If you have wired money or made a payment and suspect it is a scam, contact your financial institution and/or the money service you used right away.
    • You can reach the complaint department of MoneyGram at 1-800-MONEYGRAM (1-800-666-3947) or Western Union at 1-800-448-1492.
      • If you suspect that a friend or family member is being victimized as a result of fraud, you can file an interdiction request which will block that person from transacting with Western Union. Send an email request to BeFraudSmart@westernunion.com
  • Find out if your local law enforcement agency will take a report at the non-emergency number.
  • Contact your State Consumer Protection Office for help.

Report

Reporting cybercrime incidents to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is very important! The more national reporting data that is collected, the better the chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease online crime. Although the FBI does not resolve individual complaints directly, they will make your report available to local, state and other law enforcement partners. The FAQs about reporting can be found here. Please read the FBI/IC3 privacy policy here. (If you believe that you’ve received a phishing email, please forward the email directly to spam@uce.gov and
reportphishing@apwg.org.)

Recover

These resources have been gathered, selected and vetted to help simplify the process of recovering after a cybercrime incident has taken place. You may need to contact organizations outside Fraudsupport.org. Results will vary depending on your circumstances.

Reinforce

Once you have notified the appropriate organizations and you are on the road to recovery, it is time to reinforce your cybersecurity using these resources and tools.

Implement Preventive Measures

  • Avoid giving out your credit card or bank account information over the phone unless you initiated the contact or have already established trust.
  • Don’t respond to suspicious junk mail or emails from strangers.
  • Never pay an up-front fee for a prize. If someone asks you for an advance fee in exchange for a prize, assume it is a scam.
  • Ask yourself, “Is this too good to be true?” If it sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam.
  • Don’t deposit a check from someone that asks you to return a part of the funds to them.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited offers that require you to act fast, pressure you to send funds quickly, or insist it is kept a secret.
  • Be sure websites are secure before submitting your Social Security number or personal information. Find out how to spot a fake website

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