Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Information on the 2024 Campaign is available now.  Click here to find out more.

Investigation Main Photo

Our Investigative Mission

Horizontal Rule

The U.S. Secret Service has a long and storied history of safeguarding America’s financial and payment systems from criminal exploitation. The agency was created in 1865 to combat the rise of counterfeit currency following the Civil War. As the U.S. financial system has evolved - from paper currency to plastic credit cards to, now, digital information - so too have our investigative responsibilities. 

Today, Secret Service agents, professionals, and specialists work in field offices around the world to fight the 21st century’s financial crimes, which are increasingly conducted through cyberspace. These investigations continue to address counterfeit, which still undermines confidence in the U.S. dollar, but it is credit card fraud, wire and bank fraud, computer network breaches, ransomware, and other cyber-enabled financial crimes, that have become the focus of much of the Secret Service investigative work.


Types of Crimes We Investigate


Unauthorized access to computers or networks, using malware, compromised access credentials, phishing, or similar methods. Network intrusions are typically performed to gain access to systems and exfiltrate sensitive information to exploit for financial gain. Network intrusions are also used to block access to computers, networks, or critical infrastructure until a ransom is paid. Ransoms are typically demanded in cryptocurrency.  

Counterfeiting of United States currency, bonds, checks, and other financial obligations and securities. Distributing or passing of counterfeited, forged, or altered U.S. currency and other financial obligations and securities. Criminals sometimes use online forums to sell bulk counterfeited U.S. or foreign currency.

Financial transactions that attempt to disguise the proceeds or nature of financial crimes, cyber fraud, or other illegal activities. Specialized criminal organizations may offer money laundering as a service to other criminals. Money laundering organizations sometimes use networks of witting and unwitting money mules, who become part of the process to disguise the flow of money. Money laundering often includes mixing traditional currencies and cryptocurrencies.

Unauthorized access to payment card processing terminals or cashier systems that facilitate electronic transactions for goods or services. These compromises typically focus on exfiltrating payment card data for exploitation of sensitive information for financial gain or resale to other criminals.

Fraud involving the use of payment cards, to include debit and credit cards, or other devices that enable electronic funds transfers. Relevant activities include ATM cashouts, skimming, and similar criminal exploitation of payment systems. Access device fraud also includes exploitation of public assistance programs, such as Electronic Benefits Transfers (EBTs).

Compromised networks or computer systems, typically large-scale, under the control of a cybercrime organization. Botnets may be used by criminal organizations to exploit the compromised host machines with an intent to steal sensitive banking information or register criminal accounts.

The theft and unauthorized use of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This includes criminals utilizing other people’s identities for credit card and bank fraud, or other financial gain. Criminals also steal PII by compromising networks and exfiltrating sensitive information in bulk, which is then used or resold to other criminals for financial exploitation.

Unauthorized bank transfers to criminal accounts via means such as social engineering and phishing techniques. Criminals may deceive employees responsible for payments by impersonating executives or vendor representatives, who unwittingly transfer the funds to the criminals.

Crimes using social engineering and deception to entice or exploit victims for financial gain. Enticement includes romance and investment schemes, to include scams known as "pig butchering." Extortion involves threats to expose a victim, typically with sexually compromising information.

Online sexual exploitation and abuse by predators and other criminals, sometimes for financial gain.



Counterfeit Investigations

USSS Stars

The Secret Service was formed in 1865 to investigate counterfeit currency during the civil war, as it presented a national security issue. Over time, the Secret Service investigative mission expanded.

Financial Investigations

USSS Stars

As the original guardian of the nation’s financial payment systems, the Secret Service has a long history of protecting American consumers and industries from financial fraud and payment scams. 



Financial Investigation

Cyber Crime - Hard Drive

Cyber Investigations

USSS Stars

The Secret Service is world-renowned for performing some of the most complex, technical investigations into financially-motivated cybercrime organizations threatening the global financial infrastructure.

Internet Crimes Against Children

USSS Stars

The Secret Service is dedicated to combatting online child sex abuse and was the first federal agency to partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in 1997.



Operation Safe Kids Logo

Most Wanted Fugitive Flyer

Most Wanted Fugitives

USSS Stars

View of a list of the Secret Service’s Most Wanted Fugitives. Submit tips if you think you can assist with apprehension.

Seeking Information

USSS Stars

The Secret Service is actively soliciting information from the public concerning various criminal organizations and identifiers currently the subject of investigation.



Man with hidden face and a red question mark

Image of scam button on keyboard

Avoid Scams

USSS Stars

Learn how to protect yourself from various types of scams and fraudulent schemes.



Office of Investigations Strategy FY2021-2027

Annual Report FY2023


Latest Press Releases