What to do When Unknowingly Involved in an Internet Scam

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“I unknowing got involved in an internet scam;

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

My question: What responsibility do I have? I did not promise anyone anything, I did not solicit in anyway anyones funds, I transmitted it as agreed to.”

Whether you did it knowingly or not, you aided a crime and could be held legally liable for your involvement. Based upon your explanation, you may have some mitigating factors that may help you avoid serious penalties. But at a minimum you will need to refund any money you made to the victims, and be prepared to assist them (and law enforcement) in doing whatever is possible to catch the perpetrators.

Your best bet is to contact a criminal defense attorney in your area (contact your state or county Bar Association and make use of their attorney referral system to find an attorney in your area who will give you a brief consultation, often at a discounted rate). That attorney will be able to assist you in understanding what penalties you may face, and the attorney may be able to assist you in approaching law enforcement in a way that will favorably dispose them towards you as they consider what, if any, charges to bring against you.

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Author: Ray Everett-Church, Esq.

Ray Everett-Church is a privacy and security consultant with PrivacyClue LLC and is co-author of "Internet Privacy for Dummies"