When individuals fall victim to fraud, embezzlement, or online scams, a common question arises: Can you call the police, and will they take action? In this blog post, we’ll explore the dynamics of involving law enforcement in financial crimes, the challenges faced by police departments, and proactive steps you can take to enhance the chances of your case being pursued.

Understanding the Legal Landscape

In the realm of investigations, clients often inquire about involving the police in cases involving fraud, embezzlement, or online scams. Legally, a fraud against an individual is considered a crime in most jurisdictions. Whether it amounts to a misdemeanor or felony depends on the jurisdiction and the specifics of the case. The natural inclination is to seek law enforcement intervention as an ideal scenario, where the government takes over the case, handling it at no cost to the victim.

Police Response to Financial Cases

In reality, the path to involving the police in financial cases is nuanced. While these incidents can technically be filed as police reports, the practicality of police departments taking swift action varies. Public or non-published restrictions may exist in some jurisdictions, treating financial disputes as civil matters. Some jurisdictions set thresholds, only considering cases exceeding a certain amount for criminal prosecution. The understaffing and overwork prevalent in police departments contribute to their selective approach in handling cases.

Challenges Faced by Police Departments

Detectives in police departments face constraints in addressing online scams or fraud cases. The sheer volume of cases, coupled with the intensity of more severe crimes, often leads to discouraging reports from being taken. Practical considerations, such as jurisdictional issues or categorizing cases as civil matters, may further complicate the process. While victims understandably seek justice, the reality is that law enforcement resources are stretched thin.

Proactive Steps for Victims

If you find yourself in a situation where you want law enforcement involvement, taking proactive steps can significantly impact the outcome. Merely reporting a vague description of the incident may not prompt immediate action. To increase the likelihood of a district attorney, police department, or another agency showing interest, consider the following:

1. Compile a Complete Case File

  • Documentation: Organize comprehensive proof, including detailed records, communications, and evidence that substantiates the fraudulent activity.
  • Identity Information: Uncover the real identities of scammers, as online personas may use false names, addresses, or company information.

2. Provide Forensic Data

  • Digital Forensics: If applicable, present digital forensic data, such as IP addresses used in the scam, to strengthen the case.

3. Establish a Demonstrable Pattern

  • Multiple Victims: If possible, identify and document a pattern by involving other victims with similar experiences. A collective approach may garner more attention.

4. Create an Organized Report

  • Structured Report: Develop a well-organized report, categorizing information logically to facilitate ease of processing by law enforcement.

5. Leverage Online Reporting Systems

  • FBI Reporting: Utilize online reporting systems like WC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) to file a report with the FBI. While immediate action may not be guaranteed, it adds your case to their database for future reference.

6. Consider Private Investigation

  • Private Investigator: If the public sector response is not yielding results, consider engaging a private investigator who specializes in financial cases. Book a consultation for personalized assistance.

Empowering Victims

In the face of financial fraud, victims often grapple with the desire for justice and the limitations of law enforcement resources. By taking proactive measures, victims can empower themselves to present compelling cases to law enforcement, increasing the likelihood of official intervention. While private investigation remains a viable option, understanding the dynamics of police involvement equips victims with the knowledge to navigate the complexities of financial crimes.

For any questions or assistance, feel free to reach out to us, and our team of licensed investigators will be glad to help you navigate your unique situation. Remember, knowledge and preparedness are potent tools in the pursuit of justice.