Where to Complain if You Have Fallen for a Ponzi Scheme or HYIP Scam?

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Brigadier General
Where to Complain if You Have Fallen for a Ponzi Scheme or HYIP Scam?

These two are basically the same in one aspect. They promise better returns than any legitimate investment and count on victims being so focused on the returns on their investment that they don't stop to think carefully about the safety and return of their investment.


Charles Ponzi is dead, but new Ponzi Schemes are created every day.

The main difference is that most Ponzi schemes pay monthly. HYIPS usually pay (or claim to pay) on shorter timeframes. I've seen time frames as little as an hour.

Many HYIPS are deposit-only, only pay a few times, demand bigger deposits before paying, or try to charge fake fees with a promise to pay after the fee arrives (But wait! There's another fee and another fee, forever). Then when they can't squeeze any more money out of their client, they shut down and open a new site to repeat the scam.

In contrast Ponzi schemes usually pay like clockwork. Sometimes for months. Occasionally for years. Then they either get caught or grab the money and run. By the time an investor in this excellent and profitable plan knows something is wrong, it's too late to pull the money out. Think you were smart getting in early and coming out ahead? Legal clawbacks are getting more and more common in order to fairly distribute all money among all investors.

If you want to learn more about these scams, read my article:

Ponzi Schemes and HYIPS - Free Money Traps.

Even before filing a report on a Ponzi Scheme or HYIP, try to withdraw exactly as much money as you put in. If you get it all, great. if not, that opens the door for additional complaints.

If you have been scammed by a Ponzi Scheme or a HYIP, here's a list of places to file reports to get you started:

1. In this case, I recommend starting with your local police and working your way up. The local cops might or might not care about some offshore HYIP you put some money in, but the fraud division should be very interested if there's any local recruitment into a possible Ponzi scheme.

If you used a bank wire, ask your local bank about filing wire fraud charges. Also file a complaint with the receiving bank.

2. State (or provincial) financial authorities, police, and consumer protection should be next on the list. Click Here for USA state level lists. I don't have equivalent lists for other countries. One recent Ponzi scheme had the first official action taken against it by state level authorities in Texas. Bank accounts were frozen, meaning less of the victims' money was lost to the scam.

3. As always for any financial scam, let the world know through eConsumer.gov. Information about any form of online scam or fraud no matter where you live or where the scammers are.is shared with the police and regulators in many countries.

Click Here to see how to file information about scammers with eConsumer.

4. If the internet is involved (occasionally a purely local Ponzi won't even have a website or social media page), the USA's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (no matter where you are). Even if you and the Ponzi/HYIP scam are both outside the US, it's probably only a matter of time until someone in the US reports being a victim. That Ponzi scheme that was first acted against in Texas started in South Africa (the South African authorities joined the party a little later). Evidence you provide may be key to shutting the scam down and sending the scammers to prison. This link shows how to report.

IC3 from the FBI

5. Any regulator or business registry the binary company claims to belong to. Ponzi's frequently claim to be highly regulated. Very rarely, they are. The vast bulk of the time, claims of regulation are another lie.
The police and financial regulators in any country the binary broker claims to do business in.
The police and financial regulators of an country you have evidence the company is connected to. Your country's police financial regulators (if you live in one country and are a citizen of another, complain to both).

Check the table of contents for links and instructions for some of the more common places to complain. If it's not on the list, don't worry. Click Here for links to global financial regulators and Click Here for links to global police agencies.

6. Even if you aren't in the USA and there's no US connection, go ahead and send the info to the SEC and CFTC:

SEC - The Securities and Exchange Commission

CFTC - The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission

7. If a HYIP (or Ponzi) want taxes before letting you withdraw, let your country's tax authorities know. Click Here for more information and to get a list of national tax authorities from around the world.

8. How did you put money in or get money out?

I already covered bank wires in item one. How about crypto? If you sent (or received) money via crypto from a Ponzi/HYIP. no matter where you are, go ahead and Click Here to file a report with the US Secret Service (depending on circumstances, they sometimes can recover some crypto). You can also Click Here to find a both link to a DIY crypto tracing as well as a paid professional crypto tracing/recovery service from GASO.

If by credit card, call the issuing bank and ask to speak to someone in the fraud or abuse department about a chargeback. If you put money into one of these schemes, one of the promised services is to allow you to withdraw the funds that legitimately belong to you. Refusal to process the withdrawal is a failure to provide promised services.

If PayPal was involved, click Here to file a fraud complaint with PayPal. Make sure to specify that the Ponzi/HYIP is failing to permit a withdrawal per it's terms of service.

For other money transfer companies, check the transfer company's website for how to file fraud complaints.
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