How To Track Down Someone Who Scammed You

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Every year, 1 out of 10 American adults are at risk of being a victim of fraud and identity theft through scamming. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also reported that Americans lost nearly $8.8 billion to scams and fraud in 2022. 

Scammers can steal anything, from identities to properties, to just plain money. 

For example, phishing and pharming are scams that steal your information. Dating and phone call scams have perpetrators directly asking for money from their victims by pretending to be other people.

In this article, discover how to track down someone who scammed you using different ways. 

Can a Scammer be Traced?

As with all crimes, tracking down scammers can require a lot of time and patience. 

A 2016 BBC article once reported that an Austrian was able to catch his scammer and demand a full refund. And in 2020, Interpol made a record 20,000 arrests when they cracked down on a massive phone and online scam syndicate. 

So the future may feel bleak after discovering you’ve been scammed. But, it is possible to track down scammers and make them pay for their wrongdoings. 

How to Track Down a Scammer

If you’ve suffered financial loss from being scammed, one of your top priorities would be to find the perpetrator and report them to the authorities. 

Scammers can conceal their personal information. But by using services from Social Catfish, BeenVerified, TruthFinder, and private investigators, you may be able to uncover a person’s real identity. 

Below are some methods you can employ to track down a scammer.

Method 1: Do Reverse Image Searching on Social Catfish

Catfishing scams are prevalent and lucrative for many scammers. 

There’s been a 358% increase in catfishing reports from 2019 to 2021. And in 2022, an average of $132.5 million per quarter was stolen from victims of scams.

Social Catfish can help you track down a scammer using reverse image searches. The website finds people you’ve met online and provides valuable information about them.

Simply upload the photo you have on the website and Social Catfish will run a search for you. 

The results often include a comprehensive result, including social media accounts (even OnlyFans!), phone numbers, and other personal information such as names and birthdays.

Social Catfish can also look for people using their email address, username, physical address, or phone number. 

The site also offers discounted prices through coupons.

Method 2: Use Popular Search Engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Doing a Google search on someone is one of the first steps to take when looking for a scammer. 

To use a search engine, you simply need to enter the name and location that you have. 

Use certain punctuation marks to enhance your results. For example, enclose a name with quotation marks (“”) in Google’s search bar. This way, you’ll only bring up pages that mention that exact name rather than variations of it. 

You can also use OR to combine search queries like in ‘John Doe OR scam’ to produce more specific results.

Also, search for other things like business names, vehicle license plate numbers, phone numbers, addresses, or email addresses related to the suspected scam. 

Perpetrators will often reuse fake info multiple times. And someone, somewhere, is likely to post about it online.

Method 3: Using People Search Engines

People Search Engines are powerful services that gather useful, personal information online and compile it into comprehensive reports. 

BeenVerified and TruthFinder are two of the most popular people search engines out there. 

BeenVerified gathers up-to-date information from public records and other privately licensed databases and provided the basics like addresses and contact information. 

The site also compiles histories on education, employment, unclaimed money, crime, vehicle, assets, and property.

TruthFinder, on the other hand, also uses public records and several databases to verify people. 

It even has a feature called Dark Web Monitoring that scans the dark web for your personal information.

Both BeenVerified and TruthFinder are legit and safe websites that you can use to track someone who scammed you. They also have a trial period that costs you almost nothing. 

TruthFinder offers a $1 trial that lasts for 5 days, while BeenVerified offers a $1 trial that lasts for 7 days.

Method 4: Hiring a Private Investigator

Despite having full access to technology that can track down someone who scammed you, the reality is that it’s still exhausting work. 

Scouring the internet for information about a scammer also doesn’t guarantee success. That’s why many scam victims often hire a professional to handle it. 

Private investigators can travel and conduct personal interviews with other victims to find leads. They can directly check references and public records and execute surveillance. 

They may also work with techie assistants who can locate a scammer’s IP address.

The bottom line is that the investigator has an arsenal of resources, experience, and specialized knowledge that he can use to track down the scammer. 

The methods mentioned in this section are just some of the best ways to track down a scammer. However, it is still important to be vigilant about meeting people online. 

How to Protect Yourself from Scammers

The best offense is a good defense. In this case, it’s making sure to avoid further loss from your side and tightening your security to avoid getting scammed again. 

Here are other tips that may help protect you from scammers: 

  • Only use authorized payment gateways, an escrow service, or any safe third party when handling transactions.
  • Learn and memorize how to reverse most of your transactions.
  • Use different email addresses, one for business, one for dating, etc.
  • Implement Two-Factor Authentication for critical accounts. 
  • Don’t reuse your passwords on multiple websites. 
  • Invest in a good antivirus or security software.
  • Identify a dating scam head-on. Verify the person’s identity via BeenVerified, Social Catfish, or TruthFinder.
  • Never share personal information with anyone online.
  • Always be vigilant. Never let strangers entice you to make quick decisions.

What to Do if You Successfully Tracked Down a Scammer

After months of patience and hard work, you finally locate the person who scammed you. Now, what? It’s best to keep your options open and use as many available resources as possible. 

Here are some of the things you can do:

File a police report

If the scammer is in the same country, go to your local station and report what you found to the authorities. You can also file a police report online. 

Give the police all the information you have on the scam. These may include bank statements and transaction receipts. The police may also interview your bank and credit card company for further details.

File a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission FTC.

If it’s an international scam, go to the FTC’s online complaint page. FTC doesn’t resolve individual complaints. However, your report could help the FTC recognize recurring patterns in the scam and help the police with the investigation.

Visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3. 

The Internet Crime Complaint Center is partnered with the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. They receive scams and fraud reports and contact the appropriate local, state, national, or international regulatory agency in dealing with a case.

Contact Call for Action or Consumer Action.

Organizations like Call for Action and Consumer Action are known to help scam victims by giving them a sense of community and assisting them in getting better services from government agencies.

On a Final Note…

Tracking down a scammer requires an enormous amount of hard work. But again, it is possible. You can unveil a scammer by investing in the right tools and the appropriate people. You’ll also boost your chances of winning against this crime by eliciting help from law enforcement and government bodies. 

At the end of the day, locating any type of criminal needs a lot of heavy lifting, especially from the victims. It’s scary and daunting. But you can power through it. Don’t let the scammer win.

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