Protect Yourself From Internet Fraud

The crimes referred to on this page are international scams where the person committing the fraud is located in a foreign country. If you believe you’ve been defrauded by someone within the United States, please contact Ada County Sheriff’s Dispatch at (208) 377-6790 and request to speak with a deputy who can help you file a report to be investigated by detectives.

Do you believe you are the victim of an Internet scam? Have you been defrauded by someone in a foreign country? Here we will help you identify potential international Internet scams and tell you what you can do if you’ve been the victim of an online crime. The scams referred to here are international – the suspects operate in foreign countries and are not under our jurisdiction or that of any law enforcement agency in the United States.

Because we have no authority outside of the U.S., there is nothing Ada County Sheriff’s deputies or any other law enforcement officer can do about a scam artist operating in a foreign country. ACSO detectives regularly speak with people locally who have lost thousands of dollars as a result of online scams. There is little recourse for victims and often no way to recoup lost money, so it is critical to identify a scam before falling prey to it.

How do I know if I am the victim of an international scam?
If you are suspicious of a person with whom you have contact online about a possible financial transaction or business deal, there are a few questions below that may help you determine if you are involved in an international scam.

Now that I’ve identified the scam, what can I do?
If you believe you have been contacted by an international scam artist but have not lost any money, immediately stop all communication with the scammer. You can report the suspicious activity through the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

If you believe you are the victim of international internet fraud and have lost money in a transaction, your bank or other financial institution may require you to file a police report. Please download and print the Citizen’s Walk-In Internet Fraud Report. Bring the completed report to the Sheriff’s Office Records division or mail it to the address listed. After receiving the form, a records technician will assign a case number to your report and return it to you so that you may provide that information to your bank or other financial institution.

More questions? Call (208) 577-3700

Identifying the Scam: The following questions can help you determine if you are the victim of international fraud. If you answer “yes” to two or more of the following questions, you are most likely involved in an international internet scam:

  1. Were you contacted about a possible transaction or deal after listing an item for sale online (e.g. eBay, Craigslist, Z-Idaho)?
  2. Is someone offering to send you more than the asking price?
  3. 3) Were you contacted in response to a résumé posted online (e.g.,, similar employment site)? Is the person someone you met in a chat room or on a singles/dating-related web site?
  4. Did you receive an email naming you the “winner” of a foreign lottery?
  5. Have you been asked to use Western Union, Money Gram or another wire/money transfer service to make an advanced payment or to return excess funds? Have you been asked to forward excess funds to a third party?
  6. Does the transaction involve a cashier’s check or money order?
  7. Is the cashier’s check or money order purportedly needed to cover taxes or other fees that you must pay before you can collect your “winnings”?
  8. Does the person’s writing (i.e. grammar, punctuation, spelling) indicate that English is not his native language?
  9. Did you receive a check or money order delivered overnight by UPS, FedEx or any other express shipping service?
  10. Is the person contacting you providing detailed instructions and urging “ASAP” or immediate responses?


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