What can I do if I have been the victim of a fraudulent escrow site?
There are three things victims of escrow fraud sites must consider.
Taking steps to protect your identity may be necessary to avoid additional losses or hassles. This is particularly important if you have provided a credit card number, financial account information, driver's license number, or social security number to the fraud site OR to the person recommending the fraud site. To learn more about how to protect your identity, click here.
Reporting the Fraud
Reporting the fraud site to the proper authorities can help investigators track down and prosecute those responsible for the fraud. It can also help to warn other potential victims and help close down the fraudulent site. Reporting your loss to the police may also be a requirement to claim the loss on your tax return (consult your tax advisor). To learn more about ways you can report a fraudulent escrow site, click here.
Recovering Your Money or Merchandise
If you shipped merchandise, you should immediately contact the carrier and see if they can stop shipment of the merchandise. Most carriers also have a fraud investigations department you can ask to become involved in attempting to recover the merchandise.
If you sent money via ACH, wire transfer, or check (cheque), you should immediately contact your financial institution to see if a hold can be put on the transfer of the funds and to see what other steps may be necessary to protect your account. You should also ask your financial institution to investigate and report the fraud.
If you sent money to the site via Western Union money transfers, call the Western Union Customer Service number at 1-800-634-1311 and tell the customer service representative that you wish to report a fraud involving a Western Union money transfer; or, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.