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May 13, 2009

41

Help! My Friend Just Emailed Me Saying That They’ve Been Robbed And Now Have No Money To Get Back Home. Is There Anything The Embassy Can Do For Them?

Q: My friend recently emailed me to say that they’ve been robbed. They have no money to pay for their hotel bills and can’t even buy a flight back home to the U.S. Is there anything that the Embassy can do to help them?

A: You should tell your friend to contact the Embassy directly.

Gunpoint Image

Photo: maxw on Flickr

We can be reached by email at SCSLondon@state.gov , or by telephone to 020 7499 9000 (24hrs). We are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., excluding U.S. and UK public holidays, so they can also come in person.

We must caution you that this sounds very much like many of the internet scams we hear about every day. We strongly advise you not to send any money. Have you ever met this friend in person? Even if this is a well known friend, have you confirmed their story by speaking to them over the phone? We would urge you to read our information on internet scams at http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/scs/internet_scams.html .

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41 Comments
  1. Sandy Freitas
    Jun 4 2009

    I also received an email from someone I’d met online about a month ago. Said he was working offshore there close to Manchester. He said he got robbed at gunpoint and was hit in the head. Same story…no money for hotel and plane fare home to US. I sent him money for airfare, but then he said he got robbed again. He is still in contact with me after getting robbed a second time. I’m emailing him this information today. I hope if his story is true, which I believe it is, then how can the Embassy help him?

    Thanks,
    Sandy

    • American Citizen Services
      Jun 5 2009

      Just as the blog post above says, this sounds exactly like many of the scams that we are contacted about everyday here at the Embassy. We strongly advise you not to send any more money to this person. Please have them contact the Embassy. To see what kind of emergency services the Embassy can offer, please see our post entitled U.S. Consuls Help Americans Abroad. We also recommend that you click on the link within the blog post which provides more information regarding internet scams, including who can report them to.

  2. Marjorie Smith
    Jun 11 2009

    Hi, my name is Marjorie Smith.
    I have questions for you. My friend is a citizen of the us. Her husband she recently marry in the Island, but is living in the uk of which he’s not a citizen , he wants ot come and join his wife but dont know what process to go through, could you please update me on what to do to make this possible. I’ll be most greatful, for any information . Thanks in advance. I’ll be awaiting your response.

    Yours truly
    (Ms.) Marjorie Smith.

    • American Citizen Services
      Jun 18 2009

      Ms. Smith, your friend’s husband needs to apply for a visa. All information regarding visas to the United States can be found on our website at http://london.usembassy.gov . Questions regarding visas to the U.S. cannot be answered on this blog.

  3. Lawrence Boardman
    Aug 2 2009

    yhay ask me to send them money for food and money to come home she is not the onley one that asked me that say you will not help with food or to get them home

    • American Citizen Services
      Aug 4 2009

      As stated in the blog post, we strongly advise you not to send money as this sounds very much like many of the internet scams we hear about every day. If your friend is in need, have her contact the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria. Their contact details can be found at http://nigeria.usembassy.gov/.

  4. Lawrence Boardman
    Aug 2 2009

    kalara jones is in nigeria . want me to seng her money to to get here home and for food to

  5. Susan Trout
    Aug 13 2009

    I found out that one of my WWII veteran buddies who is one of my military advisers on a documentary book of the war in the Pacific, is being defrauded by someone in England who hijacked his email account and is using his good name to defraud him, and his friends. The e-letters ask for $2,500 as a loan to pay bills and get home with repayment promised when he returns to the States.

    A report of this Internet, international, fraud – crime has been assigned a reference number by the FTC, and my veteran-buddy’s local police detectives are investigating this reported case. My many Thank Yous go to the local police, the FTC, the FBI, the US State Department, and the American Embassy at London for their duty to carried out to proclaim to all who will look, an alert to these frauds.
    THANK YOU Embassy staff!

  6. glace
    Sep 28 2009

    can i have email address of ms sandy freitas? i think we have the same story about a friend asking for help..i just want to know if his friend is the same man i’d met online whom is asking for help too..many thanks.

    glace

    • American Citizen Services
      Sep 28 2009

      Due to privacy laws, the Embassy cannot disclose someone’s personal information. However, we will provide you with the same advice that we gave to Ms. Freitas:

      Just as the blog post above says, this sounds exactly like many of the scams that we are contacted about everyday here at the Embassy. We strongly advise you not to send any more money to this person. Please have them contact the Embassy. The U.S. Embassy exists to provide emergency assistance to American citizens abroad. We recommend that you click on the link within the blog post which provides more information regarding internet scams, including who can report them to.

  7. theresa
    Sep 29 2009

    My friend from London, England got stuck in Lagos, Nigeria for almost a year now. He could not return to his home in London because all his pertinent documents including his passport got lost when he was robbed by various armed men and stole all his money. He is now in and out in the hospital because his health is failing due to lack of food. He was able to look for a job as a construction worker for a very minimal fee that could not even pay for his food and shelter. He always plead for help to embassy but the latter ask him to pay for his plane ticket. Can you please tell me of how the embassy could help him? Where embassy can he reach for help? He is now in Lagos, Nigeria and he is from London..I am hoping that you would be the instrument to help him coz he’s really in trouble now. Thank you and may God bless you all.

    • American Citizen Services
      Sep 29 2009

      Unfortunately, this sounds exactly like many of the scams that we are contacted about here at the Embassy everyday by victims who have thought that they were helping a friend by sending them money. We strongly advise you NOT to send any more money to this person. If your friend is an American citizen, they should contact the U.S. Embassy in Lagos for assistance. For more information on the types of assistance, including help getting funds, that U.S. Embassies provide, please see our blog post “U.S. Consuls Help Americans Abroad“. The U.S. Embassy does not ask for payments to arrange plane tickets.

  8. theresa
    Sep 29 2009

    Sir/Ma’am,

    He’s not an American citizen. He lives and a native of London but got stuck in Lagos, Nigeria. Im not sending him money. What I wanted to know is that, where he can reach for help in Lagos, Nigeria. Do u know of where embassy can help him? Thanks a lot.

  9. theresa
    Sep 29 2009

    Thank you so much. God bless you all.

  10. Gabe
    Dec 23 2009

    okay I was talking a friend of mine who was in nigeria who said they just got robbed. I gave them the info to contact the embassy using this number (234-1) 460-3600 or (234-1) 460-3400.

    they said they were coming back from cashing their traveler’s cheque’s to pay the hotel bill and that the hotel won’t let this person leave flagging the airport.

    my question is how long does it take for them to get helped and to get back in the states if they don’t have any cash on them.

    I have some saved conversations with the name of the hotel, phone numbers, flight number.

    Even if I’m not going to send any money I’d like to still know if this was a scam.

    just to verify for myself if this is a scam I will report it as such. if it is not then they will be helped.

    thanks in advance

    • American Citizen Services
      Dec 23 2009

      This sounds exactly like many of the scams that we are contacted about every day. We strongly advise you not to send money directly. If they are a U.S. citizen in genuine need of assistance getting home to the United States, the Embassy will provide assistance for them to get back. For more information on what types of assistance consular officers are able to provide, please see our blog post “U.S. Consuls Help Americans Abroad“. You may also try contacting the American Citizen Services unit of the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria directly to see if this American has requested assistance from the Embassy.

  11. Colin Salisbury
    Jan 7 2010

    I and my wife have been friends with a so called us citizen living in Lagos for sometime,we met him on facebook,he claims to have been robbed and is now asking for £50 to help feed him,i dont know if i should say his name here but i will anyway his name is Steven Lyle i really dont want to send this many any mone Please if anyone recognises this mans name then please help me.

    • American Citizen Services
      Jan 7 2010

      Unfortunately, this sounds exactly like many of the scams that we are contacted about here at the Embassy everyday by victims who have thought that they were helping a friend by sending them money. We strongly advise you NOT to send any more money to this person. If your friend is an American citizen, they should contact the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria directly for assistance. For more information on the types of assistance, including help getting funds, that U.S. Embassies provide, please see our blog post “U.S. Consuls Help Americans Abroad“.

  12. Mary Everett
    Jan 10 2010

    My friend and his son were doing a bridge construction job in Sagamu, Nigeria. He contacted me on November 4th and told me the hotel they were staying at was robbed and him and his son got all thier money from the job and thier id’s stolen. They have no food and no means of making it back to the US now. I told him to contact the embassy but he said noone there will help him. I don’t know what to do I have no money in which to help him get back to the US with.

    • American Citizen Services
      Jan 13 2010

      Unfortunately, this sounds exactly like many of the scams that we are contacted about here at the Embassy everyday. We strongly advise you NOT to send any money to this person. The U.S. Embassy exists in each country to assist American citizens who are in this type of situation and would not deny them assistance. If your friend is is truly in trouble, they should contact the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria directly for assistance. For more information on the types of assistance, including help getting funds, that U.S. Embassies provide, please see our blog post “U.S. Consuls Help Americans Abroad“.

  13. fivecourse
    Feb 1 2010

    i waass talking to these guys online one is from UK and he went to Lagos Nigeria for a job….he has a masters and he went to Lagos Nigeria for an interviesw….I havent heard from him in two weeks…when he did contact me he told me he was kidnapped and they just released him because he had to give them some money for his ransom, now he wants me to contact the embassy to find out how he can come to the US..what should i tell him….
    the other one is from the us went to uk to take care of some business and then had to go to lagos nigeria….a couple of days ago he told me that he got robbed and beat up very badly they pulled him out of the car took his money and beat him up……the next day he went to the hospital and the police……I told the both of them I AM A SINGLE PARENT AND I AINT GOT NO MONEY HONEY….however they still chose to contact me what should i do

    • American Citizen Services
      Feb 1 2010

      If your friends have access to a computer, they should each contact their respective countries’ embassies directly. If they make claims that the Embassy is not providing them assistance, feel free to contact the Embassy yourself to verify that. This sounds exactly like the scams that we are contacted about every day here at the Embassy. We strongly caution you not to send them money directly.

  14. American Citizen Services
    Apr 26 2010

    Natali – Unfortunately, this sounds exactly like many of the scams that we are contacted about here at the Embassy everyday by victims who have thought that they were helping a friend by sending them money. We strongly advise you NOT to send any more money to this person. If your friend is an American citizen, they should contact the U.S. Embassy in Lagos for assistance. The U.S. Embassy in each country exists to assist genuine American citizens in this type of situation, and would not deny assistance to any U.S. citizen.

  15. American Citizen Services
    May 14 2010

    Caraine – We regret that this sounds exactly like many of the scams we hear about every day. In many of these scams the person contacting you has a series of problems and is very unlucky, always requiring more money. Please note that, if Mr James contacted the Embassy in Lagos, they would not have told him that he required money in order to obtain assistance. We strongly recommend that you cease all contact with this person and do not send any more money. If you are concerned about the validity of Mr James’ claims, you may wish to contact the Embassy in Lagos yourself, either by email, or by phone. Contact details for the U.S. Embassy in Lagos are available from their website.

  16. Mary Everett
    May 20 2010

    okay I need to know how do I report someone from being who there not and how to make them pay for getting money from me. I don’t know if I report them from here or what.
    I have two guys one from Uk and one from Nigeria they both had the same pictures on Myspace and say each one is scamming but I’ve talked to both on the phone and they both sound like foreigners and not from the US. I sent one over 1000 dollars cause he said he had no food or money to get home with and the other one had the same picture so I talked to him to try and find out why they both had the same picture and he called me and had a foreign accent too. He didn’t ask me for money yet but I feel he will as time goes by. How do I put a stop to all this scamming please help me.

    • American Citizen Services
      May 21 2010

      Mary – If you believe that you are being scammed, we recommend that you cease all contact with these people. If you are in the United States, you should report the crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership among the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BIA), at http://www.ic3.gov.

  17. rodney cordova
    May 22 2010

    to whom it may concern he was in london england for a business contract and i think he was set up not to come home to the usa where he belongs first it was a man got killed bringing the money i sent to him then a cab driver hit him and put him in the hospital and they would not let him go till i payed some of the bill then we had trouble with the ash cloud and now he was at the airport to come home and a lady ask him to watch her bag and the bag had drugs in it so hes stuck can someone over there please help him i have no money left and hes to go to court and he needs money

    • American Citizen Services
      May 24 2010

      rodney – this sounds exactly like the many scams that we hear about every day at the Embassy. We strongly recommend that you cease all contact with this person and send no further money. If your colleague or friend is in distress, advise him to contact the Embassy directly for assistance. Emergency contact details for the Embassy are available from our website.

  18. Sigi B
    May 25 2010

    My son and his friend went to Japan and missed there plane back home, I got a short vm from my son but there was so much static that I couldn’t get the details, there are somewhere around the Hong Kong Aiport, I know why they must be out of money or close to it, how do I find them or how can I help them

    • American Citizen Services
      May 25 2010

      Sigi – you should advise your son to contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate for assistance. If your son is in Japan, he may wish to contact the Embassy in Tokyo, contact details here. If your son is now in Hong Kong, he should contact the Consulate there. Contact details are available from their website. You may also wish to contact the Embassy yourself for advice on how you may be able to assist your son and his friend.

  19. nicolette
    Jun 9 2010

    I just received two very similar e-mails from different friends saying that they have been robbed in the U.K and are in need of money. One of the friends facebook account has vanished!
    I am sure this is a fraud!!!! I say give out your number and have them call you ! to confirm!!

    there are a lot of internet frauds out there!!

    best wishes!!

    • American Citizen Services
      Jun 9 2010

      nicolette – you’re right, this does sound like a scam. We strongly recommend that you don’t send any money. Remember the U.S. Embassy will never refuse to help an American in distress.

  20. karen
    Aug 19 2010

    i have been talking to a jerry martins email jerrymatt85@yahoo.com,he is well spoken and polite,hes sent me flowers and so forth..he says he went to help the earthquake victims and worked for the un..he then went to michigan to see his mum who has cancer this was when he asked for money,then he went to nigeria to start a business he cannot afford his hotel bill,says the manager has taken him to court he says he could be made to have a prison stay there then be deported back to america where he would not be able to leave the coubtry to travel again,i tried to get in touch with the hotel maaris domestic in nigeria but no hotel is listed even though there was a pic of it with the bill board display ive told him hes a scammer to which he replied no way,hisaccent isnt that of american either,hes also deactivated his facebook account..would the american consul do such a thing?many thanks

    • AmericanCitizenServices
      Aug 19 2010

      Karen – unfortunately, this sounds exactly like the hundreds of scams we hear about each week at the Embassy. We strongly recommend that you break off contact with this person and particularly DO NOT send them any money.

  21. Natali
    Oct 1 2010

    Could you please kindly delete the comment on date April 26, 2010 at 13:56, posted by Natali as it may be caused the reputation of refered person in the message? For your kindly consideration and promptly action that would be appriciated.

    Natali

    • AmericanCitizenServices
      Oct 4 2010

      Natali – the post has been deleted as requested.

  22. Ahmad S.
    Nov 10 2010

    hi,
    I was wondering were to go to for help regarding me going back home to texas , i am currently in northern cyprus stuck with no money to get back home ,i tried selling most of my belongings to get some money to feed my self, extra phone, ipod , jewlerey ect., i am an american citizen and i no there is not any american embassy because it is not a recodnized country, so please if anyone can help me get back home , i am not asking for no one to send me money i just want to get back home and i want an honest answear from people with experiance , will the american embassy help me get back home ??

    • American Citizen Services
      Nov 10 2010

      Ahmad – There is a U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus. http://cyprus.usembassy.gov/emergency-contact2.html Please contact them for immediate assistance. As an American citizen, you have a right to return home and the U.S. Embassy will be able to help you.

  23. Nov 20 2010

    I have a friend in nigeria and he has a daughter he is not asking for money but he needs it to get a certificate to be allowed to come home to th eUSA and his daughter is sick who can help him over there get the 650.00 for a certificate to be able to board the plane back hoime to the USA

    • AmericanCitizenServices
      Nov 22 2010

      brenda – unfortunately, this sounds a lot like the scam emails we hear about every day. If your friend is in real distress, he should contact the U.S. Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria. The Embassy will never refuse to assist an American in distress. We strongly urge you not to send any money to this person.

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