International Financial Scams Alert- U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince, Haiti (June 14, 2018)
Location: Haiti, countrywide
Event: The American Citizen Services unit of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has received a number of calls in recent weeks regarding fraudulent requests for funds. The typical scenario is that a family member – parent, uncle, aunt, or grandparent – receives a call regarding an emergency of a son/daughter, niece/nephew, or grandchild allegedly in trouble (traffic accident, arrested, etc.) in Port-au-Prince. The call is a third party or from someone claiming to be the actual family member in trouble. The caller sounds upset and typically states there are only a few moments to talk. The caller may say that they have a cold if you don’t quite recognize their voice. A new variation is that the purported family member is in Haiti as part of a volunteer mission trip. The caller usually requests between $2,000 and $4,000 U.S. dollars. Sometimes, the caller says that the Embassy is assisting the U.S. citizen.
Actions to Take BEFORE YOU SEND ANY MONEY:
- Although the supposed relative may plead with you not to tell their family about their situation in Haiti, immediately contact the person who is allegedly in trouble abroad. In the vast majority of cases, the real relative is safe in the United States at home, school or work.
- When in doubt, contact the U.S. Embassy in Haiti at 011-509-2229-8000 or the State Department’s Office of Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) at 1-888-407-4747. We will help you verify whether the situation is legitimate or a scam.
- If the incident turns out to be a scam, report to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center(NW3C). IC3 was established to receive internet related criminal complaints and to research, develop, and refer complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement if appropriate.