Most people know the saying "Innocent until proven guilty" but the scam victims that I have spoken with that have been arrested would say that they were seen as guilty until they could prove they were innocent. Why is this? Over the years some businesses and banking institutions have gotten better at detecting a counterfeit cashier's check or money order, but instead of warning the customer that the item is a counterfeit and that they are involved in a scam, they instead call the police into the matter and press criminal charges against the customer. These businesses and financial institutions will charge that the customer was aware that the document was counterfeit and that they were trying to defraud them . . . basically, that they were in on the scam. Most times the customer is truly an innocent person who really believed that the cashier's check sent to them was good, or was only going to the bank to ask them to verify it and then before they know it then end up in handcuffs in a police department.
If you find yourself in this situation you need to read the document "The At Risk of Arrest and Arrested Fraud Victim Manual" This document will cover you and your relationship with law enforcement, your attorney, how to write a narrative of what happened to you, as well as defining some of the legal terms that you will hear so that you know better what to expect.
One of the really important things that this document says is that if you are a fraud/scam victim and you feel you are at risk of being arrested, keep a copy of this manual with you at all times. If something happens, you can refer to this document so that you don't panic and say or do something that will make your situation worse. NEVER wave you Miranda Rights.
While we were never arrested in our case, I do understand the feeling of panic of becoming a scam victim. My first thoughts were "Who do I call? Where do I report this?" That is exactly why we have the Resources page on our site. When you feel like your world has been turned upside-down and you don't know what to do, write up one letter that includes all of the information on what happened . . . names, dates, who said what and when . . . and then send that one letter to all of the agencies listed at our Resource Page. We also have information on banking terms on this page along with other helpful tips like
- Close any other accounts that you have at that bank so they cannot freeze those accounts
- Turn off any direct deposits you have going into that account
- Turn off any automatic payments or withdrawals you have coming out of that account
- Open an account at another bank