How to report Internet Fraud
Internet Fraud is on a rise. As more and more people get online around the world, more viruses are created to steal information, and more people see the anonymity of the Internet as a good way to steal, fraud rates will continue to rise.
Common fraudulent acts range from using stolen Paypal accounts to pay for eBay or Craigslist products. Sending people fake checks for significant amounts of money over the selling price and asking for the extra back, or the common “Nigerian 419 Scam,” where you’re contacted (usually via email) for help moving large amounts of money from another country. But they quickly ask you to send a couple of thousand dollars as a “transfer fee” and none of the money is ever seen again.
The first step in reporting fraud is to gather your evidence. Good portions of such reports go unanswered and forgotten because of the lack of evidence. Providing ample and accurate proof will greatly increase the chances of action being taken by Law Enforcement. When reporting fraud and scams, use this template to provide your evidence. Keep in mind that some online forms may not have room for all this info, but it’s good to compile it before submitting.
Other Contact info: (IM ID, Forum Name)
Other Contact info: AIM or Yahoo IM ID, Forum Names, AKA names. Also include any other email addresses, phone numbers or physical addresses known. Essentially any way used to contact you should be cataloged here.
Nature of Fraud/Scam: Give a brief description, i.e. “Was contacted by person to…”
Estimated Value Lost: Use a range for actual goods, or the sell price of the goods. Otherwise use the actual cash value.
Timeline Description: This is the important section. Provide a day-by-day, hour-by-hour account of the transaction and what went wrong. Cut and Paste Chat Logs, Screenshots (if possible,) and all emails. Be sure to present everything in chronological order as it happened.
Links to evidence: Provide links to forum posts, screenshots of emails and IM logs, etc.
There are several places you can report fraud to depending on where in the world you are.
Online Fraud Complaint Forms:
In the United States:
The Internet Crime Complaint Center: <a href=”http://www.ic3.gov”>http://www.ic3.gov</a>
National Fraud Information Center <a href=”http://www.fraud.org/info/contactnfic.htm”>http://www.fraud.org/info/contactnfic.htm</a>
Royal Canadian Mounted Police:
Other Countries: Please look in comments below, or post if you know your countries web page.
Once you’ve filled out the online forms, it’s a good idea to directly contact any of the below Law Enforcement Agencies. All of these agencies (except maybe City and County Police Departments) have an electronic crime agency who will take your information. In some cases you may be referred to another person, or group. Expect to get a bit of run around but do not take it personally. Remember to be polite and patient when explaining the nature of the fraud.
Local FBI Office: http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm
Local Attorney General: http://www.naag.org/
Local U.S. Secret Service Electronics Crime Division: https://www.treasury.gov/services/report-fwa/Pages/ReportFWA.aspx
Local State Police: http://www.statetroopersdirectory.com/
Local County Police Department: Varies, search Google for your County Name, Police Department and Electronic Crimes Division
Local City Police Department: Use the same search term above
If someone scammed you out side of your country, the Federal Trade Commission has a special site for these complaints. https://www.econsumer.gov/pls/econsumer/wimsnery2$com.main?p_lang_seq=1
A lot of scams involve Paypal due to the ease of setting up accounts or stealing the information from others. Their claims page is located at: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_comres_flow&trans_id=
If a company or business scammed you there are a couple of good places to report them to.
Better Business Bureau
FTC Complaint Center
Also be sure to report them to your and their Attorney General’s Office.
The United Postal Service is especially tough on scammers and fraud via Mail. If you sent a Money Order via mail, or goods and didn’t get anything in return they want to hear from you. Their online form is located at: http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx
The Postal Service is very tough on fraud and scamming. To help them out it’s always a good idea to use Delivery Confirmation when sending large amounts of money, checks, or even expensive goods.
UPS has an online claim section too, https://www.ups.com/myups/login?returnto=https%3a//wwwapps.ups.com/webClaims/create%3floc%3den_US%26report_type%3d1&reasonCode=-1&appid=CLAIMS
Reporting fraud and scams is time consuming, but every bit helps. If you’re short on time at least submit reports to the first two links. Remember, the scammers aren’t going to stop if they get away with it. All it’s going to take is one or two to get caught as warnings to the rest.