Area of Law: Fraud and Fraud Recovery
Answer # 1517
Do not communicate with the fraudsterRegion: Ontario Answer # 1517
Discovering the fraud
Frauds may be perpetrated in any number of relationships, such as:
- investment and securities matters,
- between business associates, and in
- romantic or other personal relationships.
In many cases, when a fraud has been discovered the fraud victim will want to immediately contact the fraudster to demand the return of their money. They may also want to contact the police. It is advisable that fraud victims take some time to evaluate their situation and how best to get their money back before acting on these impulses.
Do not communicate with the fraudster
By immediately confronting the fraudster, a victim may give the fraudster the opportunity to destroy any evidence, as well as spend or hide the money the victim is trying to recover. If the victim does not alert the fraudster that they have discovered the fraud, the element of surprise often increases a fraud victim’s chances of recovering their stolen funds.
A fraudsters crimes are based on lies told to the victim. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that once the fraud is discovered, the fraudster will then be truthful. Instead, fraudsters will often deny having done anything wrong and will offer numerous excuses, or even blame the victim.
When fraudsters realize that their fraud has been discovered they may try to hide their guilt using different methods, including:
- deleting the electronic communications verifying their fraud,
- destroying physical evidence of the fraud,
- hiding the victim’s money, and
- leaving the jurisdiction.
Speak with someone trusted
Instead of confronting the fraudster, it is a better plan for fraud victims to contact a family member, friend or business professional they trust who is not involved with the fraudster. That person can review the situation and confirm that it is reasonable for the victim to believe they have been defrauded.
Delay contacting witnesses or anyone known to the fraudster
If the victim communicates with anyone who does know the fraudster, that person may tell the fraudster, either intentionally or even accidentally, despite guarantees that they won’t. I
Start gathering evidence
If you are sure that a fraud has been perpetrated, start to gather evidence that you can easily obtain, and preserve it. Organize any electronic and paper documents relating to the fraud, such as:
- documents that relate to the transfer of funds,
- bank statements,
- text or email messages, and
- statements and representations made by the fraudster in any other manner.
Organizing documents in chronological order will help a lawyer and the police to better understand the case.
It is advisable for fraud victims to contact a fraud recovery expert who can access their case and determine how strong it is.
You now haveoptions: