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When you lose money through an Internet scam, the chances of getting your money back are akin to getting your television back after an unknown burglar steals it from your home while you are away on vacation.  It happens only in the rarest of circumstances.  However, you do have some options.

       First, you can pursue criminal charges through the proper agency, and if this happens and the thief is convicted, you can ask for restitution as part of the sentencing.  Depending on the state and county, the thief may remain on probation until the money is repaid.

      Second, you can sue the person in court in order to obtain a civil judgment.  This judgment will allow you to have the thief's personal property seized, his bank account levied and his paycheck garnisheed.  This is a very good option if the thief is employed and has assets.  Unfortunately, the majority of the people who scam do not have stable employment or assets. 

      However, it you obtain a judgment against someone, you can hand it over to a judgment recovery specialist, which is a collector who goes after judgment debtors.  This person will have a financial motivation to find your money, and the fee you pay, which is generally 30% to 50% of the money collected, may be worth it.  50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.  AND you will have obtained justice because the thief will have had to give back the stolen money.

     An additional disadvantage of suing civilly is that a judgment is only valid in the county and/or state where it was issued.  In order for it to be recognized in another county and/or state, it must be filed as a foreign judgment.  Often this means the case must be heard by a judge in the county where it is being filed as a foreign judgment.  If it was a default judgment, the chances are even better that the count will not rubber stamp it without hearing the case.  

     To see an overview of what is available to a plaintiff in a small claims court suit, go to CUFF's Get Even Legally Page.



  If you need assistance in identifying and locating the person who defrauded you on the Internet, CUFF will provide the research for $59.00.  This research will benefit your case and possibly be used to match the person with other complaints.  Order a Background SearchThe information we have uncovered on other con artists has been used by the victims to convince law enforcement to investigate the charges.

     If our research uncovers an outstanding warrant  for the person, we will publish the information for free in the CUFF Fugitive Database so others can help with the search.  If you already know that the person has an outstanding warrant or criminal history, you can Submit the person to the CUFF Fugitive Database for free. This database is not searchable on the Internet until CUFF verifies the warrant and your personal information will not be given to anyone unless you authorize it.  When it is published, anyone can search the database for free using 48 different search criteria, including the subject's physical description, aliases, background information and keywords.

  If our research uncovers a criminal history or recorded civil judgments, we will publish this information in the CUFF Fugitive Database also.

You can also submit the person to the Internet Swindlers Database, which is a proprietary database that is not searchable on the Internet but is used by CUFF to match names and MO's of swindlers in order to provide information to law enforcement.  CUFF matches each submission with con artists already in the database to see if the person has been entered already.  If so, we will send you the e-mail address of the other victim(s) and allow you to discuss your frauds, if you choose.  If information is produced which substantiates a pattern of fraud, CUFF will provide a free background search on the con artist and begin an investigation to determine whether or not there might be evidence to convince law enforcement to charge the person with fraud. 

  If you don't believe the criminal justice system is equipped to handle the growing epidemic of fraud, join CUFF, America's fastest growing grassroots anti-fraud movement that is working to change the laws and social attitude which have contributed to the laxity in prosecution.  

      Review the links and information above and if you feel you still need additional help or have questions, contact CUFF in the Contact form.  Do not e-mail us as we may not open an e-mail if we do not recognize the sender.