Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

Fraudulent Offers To Locate Missing Persons

The missing persons scam preys on people whose loved ones have disappeared. Sometimes the potential losses can be major. For example, Postal Inspectors investigated a promoter who was running a "recovery bureau" which attempted to collect $20,000 based on fraudulent claims that it knew the whereabouts of a California man's missing former wife and children.

The Californian traveled to Michigan based on the promoter's promises that he could find and reclaim his family in that state. The man became suspicious when the contact he was sent to see in Michigan demanded a $20,000 payment before he would provide any information about the missing former wife and children.

Subsequent investigation by Postal Inspectors revealed that the ex-wife and children had never been in Michigan and that the promoter had no information about the missing family members. In reality, he had only received a routine notice from the husband's private investigator who was seeking assistance in finding the ex-wife and children.

The Postal Inspection Service warns families with missing children, spouses or other relatives, or friends, to be cautious about persons who demand money for information leading to the whereabouts of those missing persons. When such information is made available for sale, law enforcement authorities should be contacted to assure the validity of the claims being made.

How-to Services Scams