How To File An Internet Fraud Complaint
Anyone who finds himself online regularly should know how to file an internet fraud complaint. There are unfortunately many types of internet fraud. It is very critical to file a complaint if you find yourself a victim of internet fraud. This helps authorities track down the guilty parties as well as protect your fellow internet users and yourself in the future.
You can file an internet fraud complaint in three different ways to suit different needs:
- File an internet fraud complaint online. The central organization for online filing of internet fraud is the IC3, internet Crime Complaint Center, and you can file an online complaint by visiting the organization's website. The IC3 is a collaboration between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The victim or a third party to the victim can file the internet fraud complaint. The data of all complaints filed with the IC3 are compiled and every complaint is assigned to an analyst for review. The organization will then report the matter to the appropriate federal, state, local or international law enforcement agency. An investigator may then be assigned to your case after the report has been forwarded to the pertinent law enforcement agency. The IC3 does not guarantee that an investigator will be assigned thus it is a huge advantage if you include as detailed information as possible in your complaint. You will receive an email with your complaint ID after filing with the IC3. The email will include a link to an Adobe PDF file of your complaint and you may edit your complaint anytime. Some local government offices, such as Fresno County in California, suggest filing a complaint with your local law enforcement agency along with your complaint to the IC3. Use a search engine to find out if you can file an online complaint on the website of both the city and state where you reside. You can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau when filing against a business entity. An online complaint form is available on their website.The BBB processes online complaints within 72 hours.
- File a complaint by phone. The IC3 suggests contacting your local and/or state police if you believe your life is in danger from an internet crime. 911 can be called for an emergency as internet fraud is defined by the IC3 as "any illegal activity involving one or more components of the internet". Threats on your safety online is considered an internet fraud and in this case the speedy involvement of the law is necessary. If 911 is too extreme a measure for your situation but quick help is still needed, contact your local police station by phone.
- File a complaint by mail. This is the slowest way for law enforcement or non-goverment organization like the Better Business Bureau to receive your complaint. However in the event where it is necessary to include proof of the internet fraud incident by mail and you can afford about a week of delay compared to filing online, send a formal complaint letter along with details of the fraud plus the pieces of evidence to your local law enforcement agency or the BBB. Use your favorite search engine to get the mailing address of your Attorney General or the police. The Better Business Bureau has different addresses depending on your location. Visit their website's "Contact" page to get the nearest and appropriate BBB mailing address.
Include very specific details of the incident in your internet fraud complaint such as the name of the person or company that defrauded you, email sender and URL information when applicable, specific date/time of the incident, the type of fraud and your complete contact information. You can fight back when it comes to online crimes. Don't be an apathetic victim of internet fraud and file the complaint on time.