Scams happen everywhere1. Unfortunately, anyone could become a victim of scams. If you have been scammed and suffered financial loss, the top priority would be to report it to the police and your bank. If you want to identify a suspicious person, you’re in the right place. This post will show you how to track down someone who scammed you or intends to do that.
To begin with, choose what types of scams you encounter:
How to track down a dubious online dating scammer
Reddit user @AffectionateJelly612, having fallen victim to an online dating scam that resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of dollars, wanted to verify the identity of her potential partner on the first date. However, she was uncertain if this precaution might jeopardize the possibility of a second meeting2.
Well, it might really happen if she asks for the ID directly. However, there are confidential methods to reveal someone’s identity – a username search or reverse image lookup.
Both ways are easy and effective. You can follow the guides below to track down someone who scammed you on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media.
Method 1 – Search one’s username with BeenVerified
As an industry-leading people lookup engine, BeenVerified spares no effort to help people spot scammers and avoid online fraud. Possessing cutting-edge technology and lightning-fast response, it scans more than 55 social networks and returns every match to you. Simply enter a username and click Search Now below.
BeenVerified will list all potential owners of the username in the report, and you can click Search person to further reveal this person’s other details.
What you find in the report may be more than you expected: contact info, addresses, age, criminal records, social media accounts, and more when available. If any of this info is different from what he/she told you, stop contacting this person.
Method 2 – Dig on social networks
However, if you don’t want to pay, you can use some tricks to cross-search social platforms.
For example, search until:2022-01-01 to:@CNN on Twitter, and you’ll get the tweets and conversations mentioning CNN before January 1st, 2022. Or, if you search since:2022-01-01 from:@CNN, you’ll get tweets and replies CNN sent after January 1st, 2022.
People tend to use the same or similar usernames on different social media. And it’s also likely that they reveal their real identity or info during public conversations with other users. So explore relevant tricks on other social networks and do your digging.
Method 3 – Trace someone with image
A model’s friend posted online to warn people about online dating since she found out that she and her friend had their pictures stolen and used for romance scams3. It’s universal that some scammers post pictures stolen from somewhere online and consolidate a fake personal image to win your impression and trust.
To figure out where these pictures come from and whom they belong to, search the image on Social Catfish.
How to track down a suspicious phone scammer
Phone Scammer Lookup
Get Owner’s Name, Address & More!
Countless tricks enable scammers or spammers to get your contact information like your phone number or even your coworker’s name.
A person received a text impersonating their coworker John, asking for payment. John also received the same text. It wasn’t until they spoke that they realized a scammer was trying to pit them against each other. As the discussion progressed on the forum, other users suggested that the scammer might have obtained their personal information from Google, data brokers, personal information aggregators, or even a Google Voice number4.
In 2022, phone scams yielded the highest reported loss per person with a median of $1,400 by the FTC report. If you fall into a phone scam, there are still ways to track the scammers down. When they call you, their phone number also jumps up on your screen. Therefore, you can track a scammer through a phone number.
Method 1 Perform a phone lookup with PeopleLooker
PeopleLooker is your first choice when it comes to reverse phone lookup. As a people search expert, its comprehensive data engine locates any matching from enormous sources and presents it as a detailed, well-constructed report. You can utilize it to get more information about the suspicious phone number owner.
It provides an easy-to-navigate interface. Here is how it works:
- Visit PeopleLooker phone lookup website. Type the phone number in the search box and then click Search.
- Your report will be ready in a while and you need a membership account to access the full report. It may involve the phone number owner’s name, address history, age, possible relatives, and more. By this way, you can look up a scammer’s location and other info.
Method 2 Google the phone number
Search the number in Google or other top search engines. If this phone number is related to any company, you can tell it from the search page. Besides, if someone has reported the number on scamming sites or shared it online, you can grab more details before making any decision.
How to track down a mysterious email scammer
In 2019, people are expected to receive about 96 emails a day, while 75% of companies in the US are victims of phishing attacks in 2020. Both statistics suggest why you should verify a mysterious email address.
Method 1 Verify email address with Spokeo
Spokeo email search tool combs through billions of public records and tries to connect the email address to the person behind it. It keeps your search confidential, legit, and valuable. For years, it has helped uncover info about a buyer or seller, find old classmates, spot scammers, and research online crushes.
- Visit the Spokeo email search website. Fill in the email address and click Search.
- The algorithm will sort through the database. Wait patiently until the report is generated with much background information about the email owner. Pay for a membership plan to unlock the report.
Method 2 Search email address online
In this informative era, it’s hard to leave no trace online at all. As some social media try their best to connect everyone together, they may guide users to leave an email address on their profile. So try to search the email address on search engines like Google and Bing, and social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.
Though it may be time-consuming, you have a chance to name the email owner’s real identity.
What to do if you successfully tracked down a scammer?
- Document the evidence: Ensure you have thorough documentation of the scam, including any communication, emails, messages, or transactions. This evidence may be useful if you decide to report the scam to law enforcement or other relevant authorities.
- Help avoid scams: Add the phone number or email address to scammer list websites to help other people avoid being scammed. Also, report the social network account to the platform to call for action if you’re a victim under social network. Just Google how to report scam on plus platform name and you’ll find guidelines.
- Report to corresponding agency: Contact the fraud department of any corporate entity purportedly represented by the scammer. This may include your bank, corporations such as Amazon, or government bodies like Department of Motor Vehicles.
- File a police report: Contact your local law enforcement agency or the appropriate online crime reporting entity in your jurisdiction. Provide them with all the evidence you have gathered. They will guide you on the next steps and may open an investigation if necessary.
- File a complaint to the FTC: The Federal Trade Commission is an official website of the United States government. Although FTC doesn’t resolve individual complaints, your report could help the FTC recognize recurring patterns in the scam and help the police with the investigation.
— Scam recovery can be a complex and challenging process. Unfortunately, the realm of scam recovery is rife with scams itself, making it crucial to be discerning when seeking assistance. If you’ve fallen victim to a scam, consider reporting the incident to law enforcement and seeking guidance from legal professionals before engaging with any recovery service.
— Contact the company or bank that issued the credit card or debit card. Tell them it was a fraudulent charge. Ask them to reverse the transaction and give you your money back.
— Report the fraudulent transaction to the company behind the money transfer app (e.g. PayPal) and ask them to reverse the payment. If you linked the app to a credit card, report the fraud to your bank and ask them to reverse the charge.
— Go to IdentityTheft.gov to view a detailed instruction on what steps to take, including how to monitor your credit.
That’s all. Hope you find these tricks helpful in spotting scammers.
- The Global State of Scams Report (2023). GSAS. https://www.gasa.org/product-page/global-state-of-scams-report-2023 ↩︎
- ask [AffectionateJelly612]. (2022, March 20). Can I ask to see his ID on our first date to verify his identity? [Online forum post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/ask/comments/11vzvaj/can_i_ask_to_see_his_id_on_our_first_date_to/ ↩︎
- Scams [GrumpyFinn]. (2023, August 18). My friend and I had our pictures stolen and used for romance scams. [Online forum post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/Scams/comments/15trmir/my_friend_and_i_had_our_pictures_stolen_and_used/ ↩︎
- privacy [GnarlsGnarlington]. (2023, August 31). How did scammers get my phone number as well as my family’s phone numbers? [Online forum post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/165zwuu/how_did_scammers_get_my_phone_number_as_well_as/ ↩︎