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Why can’t we catch scammers?


Why is it that, with so much law enforcement, online scammers who do the money mule scam can’t be fully decommissioned on a global scale? What they do is send random emails and tell the victim that they can make good money by being a work-at-home shipping representative when in fact, it’s a reshipping fraud.

To a certain degree, I understand and sympathize with your reaction, particularly if you have been victimized by these scammers in the past.

But this is a more difficult problem to solve than most people realize. The single biggest reason why it’s so hard to deal with is that it’s international. To address the issues, law enforcement groups in basically every country on the planet would have to cooperate in real time.

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Why every country?

Because the scammers will just operate out of the countries that don’t cooperate or that don’t have the inclination or resources to deal with the issue. More often than not, many countries just have more important things to do with their limited law enforcement resources than to stop scammers, particularly when the scammers are targeting people outside of their country.

International law and enforcement is incredibly difficult and scammers leverage this as much as they possibly can – and that’s one of the reasons why so much malware and scams originate in countries that simply don’t have resources to enforce it properly.

The Global GavelWhat about money transfer services?

The part that I personally don’t understand about this whole scenario is why money transfer services can’t do a better job of preventing and protecting. After all, it is all about the money. As part of their scams, the scammers will insist on being paid using money transfer techniques that are apparently untraceable and unblockable.

While I’m sure that they are a fine upstanding company, I’d never transfer money to anyone using Western Union. It’s prevalent in so many scams that requesting its use makes me deeply question the person who’s asking for the money.

You’d think that companies like Western Union would take steps of some sort to protect their reputation. Unfortunately, I assume that it would then interfere with legitimate money transfers in some way and that’s why they don’t get more aggressive about it.

The bottom line is that it’s a very complicated problem and solving it isn’t easy. Skepticism on our part is by far the best way to prevent it.

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13 comments on “Why can’t we catch scammers?”

  1. You will never stop the spammers from trying, what needs to be done is educating ppl. If you simply learn (AND USE) the old adage, IF IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY ISN’T. If someone is offering you $3000 a month to work from home, it’s a scam. If someone is saying you can earn $200 (seems to be the standard offer) per mystery shop job, it’s a scam. If someone with your name died and wants to give you $5,000,000, it’s a scam. If a military member found a stash in a foreign country and wants to ship it out to you, it’s a scam. More than the idiot scammers, it just amazes me that ppl still fall for these offers.

    • I earn over $5,000 from home, and it’s not a scam :P

      But yeah no one sends you an email to just give you that money with no reason.

  2. I thought that any e-mail, spam or otherwise, could only get out by courtesy of an ISP. If that is the case, then the ISPs – all of them – should restrict posters to no more than, say, 50 e-mails a day, of which none could be addressed to more than, say, fifty addresses. Unless by prior arrangement, whereby the posters bona fides could be checked.
    Similarly, your own ISP should be prepared to warn an ISP that, if they originate spam again, that ISP will be blocked.

    C’mon ! In this day and age, anything is possible ! Isn’t it ? It’s just a matter of WILL…

    • Robin,
      Most ISP’s do have limits, at least in the US. All the same, spammers are able to get around the rules. In fact, a spammer could simply set up their own server, all it takes is the resources.

      One thing spammers do is use a service until they get caught and shut down, and then quickly move to another service. They actually “prep” the new service because they know they will be shut down after a large campaign. And on top of that, there is no way to know what every country in the world does, and every country in the world has internet! So in the end, Leo knows what he’s talking about here!

  3. I read once that Western Union does not want to get into the business of law enforcement on the receiving end of the money because of possible retaliation on their employees. Many criminals and gangs, some very dangerous, use wire services because they can receive the money just about anywhere and if the sender uses a secret password and gives that password to the the receiver of the money, the receiver of the money doesn’t need to show id which is great if you’re a criminal. A Western Union employee may mention to the sender they may be entering into a possible scam transaction though.

    It also takes a lot of time (sometimes years) and effort to go after a scammer so only the high profile or those with high dollar losses are followed up on and if the trail leads offshore, the scammer probably won’t be caught.

    If someone ripped you off for a few thousand dollars, you’re probably out of luck. Even if you go to the FTC (Federal trade Commission) website and report the scam, it’s only used for statistics. If it was a business that ripped you off, you might try your state’s Attorney General’s office.

  4. I believe the truth of the matter is that given the will to do so, law enforcement could trace the money and identify the scammers. The first problem would be after you find them , now what? I don’t think the current Russian cleptocracy is inclined to stop any crooks stealing from US citizens. That is provided they pay upward. Don’t forget it was probably the NSA that was able to plant the virus that destroyed the centrifugal tubes in Iran. Really quite a trick. I’m sure they could find a few mobsters.

  5. hi thanks for your article on email scammers. I’m licking my wounds after getting taken by an email scam. Tonight I recieved another email from them asking me if I am ready for next assignment. How can I catch them !!!???

      • I was scammed by a person or people who used Amazon on Craigslist to sell a car that was to be shipped to me after the payment was sent .It was supposedly a military woman needing to sell the car by a certain date before she had to return to South Korea to relieve some troops that had been there a while they sent this invoice with a stamped gold seal money back guarantee if you didn’t want to keep the car ..My Husband and I believed it because of Amazon of whom they lied on.and made everything look so legit we sent the money thinking we were getting this car ..We trusted them and got robbed and my thing is these people shouldn’t be getting away with doing that f so then everyone should start samming if you can get away with it with no problem or worries that you will be caught they lied to steal from us and we need our money back ASAP I’m getting my lawyer on it

  6. HI Leo,
    I was communicating with a man online, I checked his background and everything came out to be a really good man. He borrowed money sent to two different people one his brother other to his friend because he was out of town. I have al his brother and friends information like Drivers license, bank account, addresses and tel number but at the end I found out that he was using someone’s name. He scammed me.I lost a big amount of money. But seems like the authority wouldn’t listen my case. What should I do? I contacted the name that the person was using it turned out that I’m the 3rd person he scammed using the person identity.

  7. It’s horrific I am 52 years old these predators sent me a usps priority big envelope from intershop when I goggled it they are only in Germany. I called the police they did nothing, I called ftc they were like what do you want us to do? I gave the number which is a goggle voice number {phone number removed} forrest schbecker or something like that with a boston ma address. I deposited it when I saw cashiers check I thought that was like a money order as guaranteed funds everything seemed legit to be a shopper survey stored but when they said buy a walmart store card load it up and text the pin number and info. l was like oh hell no.

  8. Cooperations that are being imitated by the scammers, especially the big tech and financial institutions, have the funds and should be stepping up with government law enforcement agencies to enforce local, national and international laws. Stealing is a crime and it is destroying innocent lives. It seems obvious that the cooperations focus their efforts on profit over protecting their customers. It is sickening that these criminals who are committing these crimes know they are above the law and boldly laugh at their victims and at law enforcement.


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