Scams: Where Does Your Money Go?

A common misconception is that when a person is victimized by a scam, they don’t need to report it because that way they can “save face” and avoid embarrassment. They rationalize that it was only about $15,000 or less, so it’s not the end of the world.

The issue with that line of thinking is that if you don’t report something, the scammer gets away clean and is then free to victimize someone else. In addition, you’re only seeing the very front end of the big picture. The money ultimately goes toward things like drugs, human trafficking, weapons and terrorism.

You may think, “I only sent my money to some individuals and a small company in the United States. I may have read off some gift card numbers, too. But I did not support any kind of terrorism.”

The individual you sent money to is most likely a money mule. They are a victim of some kind of scam as well. They think they’re receiving the money for a different reason. They’re instructed to keep $50 but then move the rest to two other locations.

The company you sent money to is typically a shell company, meaning they exist in name only and don’t conduct any real business. The main purpose for their account is to move or pass money through to some other entity. In many cases, the money ultimately ends up going overseas and ends up in the hands of terrorist groups and other organized crime entities.

Scams generate millions of dollars per day, every day. To put it in perspective, the terrorism acts in the news (pipe bomb attacks, cars running through crowded sidewalks, vigilante citizens taking their frustrations out on the public or sabotaging of food and water sources, etc.) take very little money to implement or carry out.

When the death toll of a suicide bomber reaches even 5 or 6, the fact the cost to make the explosives was less than $200 kind of puts into perspective what kind of damage even small amounts of money can do. You have to start asking yourself, how much is even 1 life worth?

If you've been a victim, or know someone who has, report it. Our Report Fraud Page has the information for the organizations and agencies to contact and report it to.

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