Money has been wired into
your bank, credit union, or credit card account, you have withdrawn some
or all of it, but have not sent or spent it
You are going to be alright!
You are not going to be arrested.
No one is coming after you for anything.
correspondence with the scammers. Do not open or answers their
emails. If you have caller ID, do not answer their calls.
If you do answer the phone, hang up as soon as you realize who is calling you.
If they persist, blow a whistle into the telephone. If you are
being threatened, please go here:
If you have been
corresponding with the scammers by email and/or have gone to a web
site they told you is theirs, you are at high risk of Identity Theft
even if you have bad credit. Go here:
File a Scam Email
Report with our Law Enforcement Support Division. You will
find step-by-step graphic instructions for your email service here:
WARNING! Counterfeiters are now inventing
the names of money order companies. DO NOT CASH any money
order and DO NOT DEPOSIT any money order you receive from someone
you do not know or someone you met online without ordering your bank to send it for
DO NOT WITHDRAW
ANY FUNDS FROM YOUR ACCOUNT to spend or to send to anyone without asking
your bank if they have been paid. Even with a hold, your
account is credited before your bank has been paid.
If the draft you deposited comes back because it was stolen, forged,
or is a counterfeit you will owe your bank all
the money plus return charges.
Money has been wired into your
bank, credit union, or credit card account, you have withdrawn some or
all of it, but have not sent or spent it
Banks & Credit unions:
Contact your bank branch immediately and ask for the Operations
Officer. If that officer is not available, ask for the
Manager or ask for the number to the Fraud Department or Security
Western Union and MoneyGram were
designed to send money to friends and family, not to send
money to strangers.
NEVER WIRE MONEY TO A STRANGER!
Explain that the
money that was wired into your account was the result of an Internet
scam, and that it must be returned to the rightful owner.
State that you have all the money in hand that you
have withdrawn and are returning it.
State that the account information is now in the hands of scammers
(a) You want the illicit funds removed from your
account and placed in the custody of the bank or credit union.
(b) Your account must be zeroed out and closed
when you return the money.
When you return the money, it will have to be re-deposited into your
current account. At that time present your financial
institution with written instructions that:
(a) You are a scam victim.
(b) You want the funds that were wired into your
account removed from your account and placed in the financial
(c) The illicit funds are to be returned to the
(d) That your account has been compromised by
scammers and you want your account No. _____________ to be
zeroed out and closed immediately.
This provides you with a paper trail, meaning it is
evidence that you took immediate, responsible action.
It may be necessary for you to open a no-activity
account (no checks or debit card, no deposits or withdrawals
allowed) or an escrow account and transfer the money into that
If you have to transfer the funds to a no-activity
account, make very VERY sure your bank does not decide to use it as
an overdraft payment source for your regular account. That's
one of the reasons we suggest an escrow account if your financial
institution is unwilling to place the money in their own custody.
If you don't wish to open an escrow account or a
no-activity account, then move your account to another bank but
leave the stolen money at your current financial institution.
Do not move it from the financial institution under any
circumstances. The moment you do, you are engaging in money
laundering and theft.
If you have automatic deposits contact all
parties and change to paper checks for now.
If you are set up
for Bill Pay (your bank has instructions to pay certain bills on a
pre-determined schedule), contact your creditors, explain the
situation, and pay them by money order for now.
In one or two days,
check back to make certain the account was closed. You want to make very, very sure that it does not
have some small amount of money keeping it open. Sometimes
monthly bank fees or checking account interest will hit on the same
day the account is closed. This will keep the account open
When you open your new account, use a different name. Example:
If your current account reads John Marion Doe with address and
phone, open the new account to read J. Doe with no address and
There is no point in advertising your personal
information, plus Identity Thieves will not be able to tell how you
sign your name.
Credit Card Accounts
credit card company immediately and ask for the Fraud Department.
Explain that the
money wired into your account was due to an Internet scam and that
it does not belong to you.
State that you are returning the amount you
withdrew and that the amount of the wired deposit is to be returned to the
Sate that you want to be issued a new card number.
Even if your credit card company has trouble locating
the rightful owner, they will still remove the credit from your
Make very VERY sure your credit card company
understands that they cannot lower your debt by using the stolen
Check your account balance the following day to make sure the credit
has been removed from your account. If it hasn't, call again.
If a new card number has been issued, you should not be able to
access your account until you receive your new card.
If that's the case, then call your credit card
company to get a status report and to find out if the stolen money
has been removed from your account.
Pay Pal: See
Option 2, Pay Pal
If your circumstances do not fit the above solution and you have checked
the MENU for solutions and have not found
what you need, please write to
so we can
review your problem and offer alternate solutions or intervention.