How to Write a Letter to Refuse Payment for a Scam

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Report fraud: Internet scams are punishable by law.
Report fraud: Internet scams are punishable by law. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Scam artists seem to be everywhere, and the Internet is their preferred place to operate because of the anonymity involved. In 2009, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that 275,284 complaints of Internet fraud. These schemes involved everything from false inheritances to promises of merchandise if the recipient send money through an Internet payment site. If you have been a victim of fraud, you do not have to pay the thieves any additional money even if you promised to do so.

Contact the appropriate authorities before you mail anything to the scam artist. Where you report the information depends on the nature of the scam, but you must let the proper authorities know right away so they may begin working on the case; this will prevent others from being duped as well. Then, request permission from the law enforcement agency handling the complaint to contact the scam artist to tell her that you will not pay her any additional money. Do not proceed unless you have been given permission, otherwise you may adversely affect the agency's investigation.

Begin the letter by typing the date. Skip a line space. Omit your address unless you know the thieves have it already, or you may put yourself at unnecessary risk. Type the thief's name and address on separate lines. Skip an additional line space, and type "Mr./Ms. (last name)" followed by a colon.

Tell her right away that you are aware that her offer/service is fraudulent. Explain how you know or how you discovered the fraud. Use firm language but refrain from using foul words in case your letter becomes official evidence in a court proceeding.

Detail the dates of the transactions and his failure to deliver on his promises. If you were sent merchandise but the goods were shoddy or not as promised, take pictures of them and mail copies with your letter.

Tell the thief firmly not to contact you again, except to return your payment, if applicable. Do not tell her that you have already reported the matter to the authorities or you may cause problems for the investigation.

Close the letter by typing your name. Print the letter, and sign above your typed name.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you fear that the thief or thieves might become violent, do not bother sending a letter. Call the same authorities that you reported the crime to if you are confronted about non-payment.

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