Can a scam be reported to the police?


#1

Just asking, if a person scammed you, can you report it to the police? and if u report to yye, what will they do? im asking this so i can feel more ‘‘safe’’ if i am scammed.


#2

I also would love to know what you should do when scammed because you feel so powerless when you have been scammed!


#3

yeah! But when i googled it, they said that it was useless. You would just be inspected by some police if im correct.


(George Wollaston) #4

Unfortunately there’s not much you can do… Officials never seem to be very helpful in these situations. You’re stuck with having to leave feedback on their profile and possibly posting in the trader feedback section in hope that you’ll get through to someone…

Just as an extra note, before you make a trade with anyone you should always check their profile feedback (and check who’s actually been posting the feedback - some scammers have been known to create false accounts to leave feedback for themselves), have a quick scan of the trader feedback section in the forums, and actually talk to them a little before sending things off to them.

If you’re still not sure, either have them hold up their side of the bargain first or just don’t trade with them at all…


(⛷ Noisy Lurker) #5

You can report anything to the police. However, they may not always be able to help you.


#6

Unless its a multimillion dollar scam, the police are probably going to ignore you.


#7

It depends on the country you are in how this is handled. Here in the U.S., everything is based on “jurisdiction” in the legal system, which means that you would have to complain to the police department in the city and state where the offender lives. Presuming you know this information, his or her true name and/or date of birth, address, and some kind of personal information to identify them through an investigation, you have enough information for a complaint. Now, when a detective reviews your complaint and the nature of the scam, he/she will try to contact you. If you are in another city/state and are unable to show up to court for some kind of criminal complaint process, it is likely the case will get dismissed. Often times if you are a victim (complainant) in a court case, you will have to show up to court as a “witness” several times before there is a trial date. If you do not cooperate throughout the process, it is likely the case will go away. In this instance, best case scenario, you would go through all that to likely be awarded, “restitution,” which is the amount of money you lost in the scam. In other words, you would be made “whole.” You would get nothing for emotional distress or inconvenience…nothing. The offender/defendant, he/she would have a police report listing him/her as a defendant, a court record of having to appear as a defendant in a case, and in my opinion name dragged through the mud. It is kind of a slap on the wrist. That is the “criminal” route to take if you need someone to investigate the matter further and involvement of a police detective. I honestly think you would get less aggravation using another angle. If you know where the person lives, their name and so on, you can take it the civil route and file a small claim (file in the jurisdiction of the offender). The catch there is that you will probably pay a fee to file…about $40 where I live, and you get a date to show up for the case, which takes about three months here. Good thing is, when you show up for the case, it is usually resolved in one day, not like criminal matters where the case is continued over and over again until trial. Bad thing is…win or lose, you usually don’t get that fee back that you paid. Also, there is no detective involved in the civil matter, so you have the “burden of proof,” to bring with you all photos, evidence, and so on to prove your case. It’s all on you to prove it. If you can do that by a preponderance of the evidence, you win. Not to give legal advice, but the key with these things is to avoid being scammed in the first place. Nothing is 100%, but try to minimize the chance of it happening. If it happens, you have to weigh your options if it is worth pursuing the alternatives I mentioned above. It will aggravate the scammer, but the effort it takes to file a claim will inconvenience you as well. As a matter of principal though, I can see why you might want to pursue it. Just remember that if you believe in Karma…you don’t have to do much, life has it’s way of taking care of those kinds of people. If you need more information…PM me. The short answer is…yes, you can report to the local police (locale of the offender). But, I would only do that if you have some way for an investigator to find the individual who scammed you. Be aware that they may make you come in person to make the report though. Have your ducks in a row.


#8

You can report it to whomever you want, police, postal inspectors…

Keep in mind that your complaint to the police would be filed as petty theft and go to the bottom of the pile after burglaries and car break-ins. Jurisdiction of the complaint is another matter as noted above. Postal inspectors will no doubt ignore it. They like the cases involving hundreds of thousands of $$ or more.

Basically you’re own your own with a trade, it’s all a matter of mutual trust.


#9

Essentially no. A deal gone wrong on an $80 yoyo is hardly going to compel any police department to devote resources toward the case. They won’t even actively look for you car if it gets stolen. That the deal happened on the internet only makes it worse since it’s difficult to prove who was even involved.

Best advice for any private sale, buy the seller. Look at their feedback, ask them for more references and contact those people…sometimes I’ll ask questions that I already know the answer to or even start a short, tangential conversation via PM just so I can feel them out and see if they strike me odd. If anything doesn’t seem right, move on. I literally do hundreds of private deals on the web each year and I have never once had to make a Paypal claim. Due diligence is everything.


#10

It can also be construed to be postal fraud as well, as the vehicle of transit was to be USPS, and the person not upholding their end of an agreement is doing so under the pretense of defrauding the other party. It is more of a stretch these days thanks to the Internet, Paypal and other entities.


#11

Yes, unfortunately the whole “someone stole my yoyo complaint” is never taken very seriously. The guys at YYE have been known to be helpful in these situations though.


#12

Sometimes though, feedback doesn’t reflect on the person. My good friend was supposed to purchase a Campfire from a new forum member. Usually, I would tell him not to do the deal, but the newer member was affiliated with Arussel, a well known member with good feedback. Arussel handled all the PM’s and nearly every aspect of the deal. He even said he would ship the yoyo. My friend sent the cash through PayPal and then waited for shipping confirmation (They were supposed to send Tracking Number). After a few days, there was no contact from the other party. We sent countless PM’s over a two-week span, and still no response. We then filed a PayPal report, but they were no help.

I hate to blame Arussel, but he made it clear that he was handling the trade. The forum member in possession of the Campfire was new, and Arussel was his friend. Arussel decided to do his friend a favor, and handled the trade because he was more reputable. This just shows that scammers can strike at any moment.


#13

I also want to point out that the police department is run sort of like a business. In every business you have the lazy, the hard working and everything in between. Rest assured there are detectives who would take your case as seriously as they should if it gets put on their desk. A good detective wants to work the case, solve it, clear it with some resolution in court, and move on to the next case. He/She will not care so much about how much money was scammed. They should want to investigate the case to the end.

Each local police department is a separate agency, so they are run differently. You should call the police department, and ask over the phone if they will take a report over the phone, or if you have to come in person to make a complaint, and so on. But, I will say that most police departments are relatively busy with an overload of cases. Having said that, just make a sincere decision about whether you will follow through with the case, and if the offender lives out of state, whether you are going to catch a plane there and show up for the case. If not, I wouldn’t waste anyone’s time on it.

Hypothetical:

The original poster lives in Singapore. If I scammed him in Massachusetts U.S.A., he would have several obstacles. He would have to know enough information that might identify me positively. He’d have to luck out and get someone to take a report over the phone, or fly here and make the report in person ::). Then, IF they can find me and identify me to bring me to justice, he has to be willing to fly back here when he is summoned in to testify about what I did wrong ::). In this instance…I don’t think it would be worth the plane tickets and incidental expenses (time missed from work/school, hotel expenses) even for $1000 in scammed yo-yos. If at any point during that case he does not seem interested in showing up for the case…dismissed. That is if he was even able to make the report in the first place. I’d say identifying the scammer and the jurisdiction issue are the biggest hurdles, not how much the police will value your case.

Note: Police Departments may not take a report over the phone because they don’t want reports made under fake names and addresses. How would they know for sure who you are? If you show up in person, they would want to see I.D. A report taken over the phone would ultimately have to confirm the identity of the complainant. If it could not be confirmed, the complaint is thrown out.


#14

Really nothing you can do with scammers but avoid them.

Feedback can be falsified so I tend to trade only with well known people that have been on the forum for more then 6 months and have a healthy set of posts. If there on here a lot and everyone is familiar with them you have an almost zero chance of behing scammed. They don’t want to lose rep on a forum they wish to keep. like the guys that have a bst for like a year and have 30+ trades makes me feel a lot safer. Thats a record they don’t want messed with.