The U.S. Embassy regularly receives inquiries from people who have been victimized by internet scammers who seek to extort money from U.S. citizens by developing a friendship with them online and then exploiting that relationship to ask for money.
One of the most common extortion techniques involves calls, text messages, or social media messages in which a person alleging to be a U.S. citizen, typically a military service member or military contractor, claim that they have suffered a serious injury and need assistance to return to the United States. Other times, the person will claim that they are stationed in Afghanistan with the military and need money to travel home to visit an ill relative in the United States. The conversation usually begins with a request for assistance and may develop into a request for the person to send them money so that they can obtain medical treatment or travel back to the United States. After the person receives the money, they disappear and do not respond to messages.
The U.S. Embassy strongly cautions against sending money to persons whom you have not met personally prior to their purported travel to Afghanistan. The U.S. military and U.S. government has systems in place to evacuate service members, direct-hire employees, and contractors who are injured or need to visit families in the United States for emergencies.
If someone you know has traveled to Afghanistan and has been seriously injured, hospitalized, detained by the police, or is facing an emergency, please contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. If you believe that you have been a victim of this scam, please file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI at ic3.gov. Further information on international financial scams is available on the State Department website.
ATMs and Western Union
The most efficient way to get money to a U.S. citizen in Afghanistan is to deposit money in that person’s U.S. bank account, and have the person withdraw the money in Afghanistan using an ATM card.
If that option is not possible, we suggest wiring money through Western Union by following the instructions on their website. You may also contact them in by phone at 1-800-425-1851 in the United States, or by finding a local agent in Kabul, Afghanistan by clicking here.