Fraudulent Offers To Locate
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
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.