The key point to report is the amount of the loss AND that you discovered the theft in 2008.The alternative approach would be to claim this was an investment gone sour. That would make it a capital loss with all of the ordinary strings attached to such losses. The downside there is that you can't claim the loss until you can show the investment was worthless. That would require some attempts to get the money back. And those attempts would probably be sufficient to show it was a theft loss rather than a capital loss.I think the above is a viable option. Another approach would be to treat the amount lost to the Nigerian scamsters as a bad debt if the money sent to them was supposed to be either a loan or deposit, rather than a "fee," for their promised service.Check out Nonbusiness Bad Debts, p.103 in ,IRS Publication 17, for 2008.
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