U.S. citizens can become victims of scams at home or abroad. There are many different types of scams, but they all share a common goal: monetary gain for the scammers.

Scams Targeting U.S. Citizens at Home or Abroad

Romance Scam:

  • Someone you have not met in person quickly offers friendship, romance, and/or marriage.
  • Be skeptical if the person asks for money to pay hospital bills, visa fees, or legal expenses and/or seems to have many sudden problems overseas.
  • Check this online dating scam infographic.

Grandparent/Relative Scam:

  • A person contacts grandparents or other relatives pretending to be a grandchild, niece, nephew, or other family member who needs money right away.
  • The scammer usually asks the person contacted to keep it a secret.
  • Reach out immediately and directly to the family member purportedly needing money to verify the situation.

Drug Trafficking Scam:

  • The scammer makes contact by phone or email and offers a job overseas, the opportunity to do charity work, or requests someone to transport documents/items for them.
  • These scams often begin as romantic relationships.
  • Typically, the scammer offers to pay all travel expenses and offers free luggage and/or asks the person to stop in a third country to pick up something. The luggage/item(s) will contain drugs, and the victim may face arrest at the destination.
  • Be cautious if someone asks you to transport anything to another country and report it to airline and border authorities before you travel.

Lottery Scam:

  • The perpetrator promises significant prize money, but the recipient must pay taxes and other processing fees up-front for winning a foreign lottery.
  • If you did not purchase a lottery ticket in this foreign country, it is highly unlikely that you can win a prize.

Additional information on Travel.State.gov

Lottery Scam:
FBI – Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)