How To Report Internet Fraud
Hundreds of unsuspecting people fall victim to an Internet scam artist every year, and many of these criminals will get away with it because the victims may not know how to report Internet fraud. The convenience of quick and easy access to information that the Internet provides has unfortunately made it also easy for Internet fraud to occur. There are steps you can take to protect yourself and fight back.
- File a police report, especially if the Internet fraud involved an exchange or loss of money. Local law enforcement may be limited in what actions they can take against Internet scam artists, but a police report may serve as a valuable part of your paper trail.
- Contact your bank or credit card company. Ask to speak to someone in the Fraud Department. Explain what happened and provide all pertinent information. Your bank or card company will file a fraud report and reverse the fraudulent charges on your card or credit any unauthorized withdrawals back to your bank account.
- File a complaint online. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has a website for individuals who suspect they are victims of Internet fraud. The IC3 is partnered with the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NWCC) to receive complaints regarding internet fraud and other crimes committed via the Internet. The IC3 refers internet fraud complaints to local, federal or international agencies for legal enforcement as deemed appropriate.
- File a complaint with your State Attorney General’s office. Submit the complaint to the attention of the Internet fraud or Internet crimes unit (if possible). You can file your complaint online, although some states allow complaints by mail only. Be sure to print out a copy of your complaint so you have hard documentation. Response is usually timely; however, actions taken by attorney generals’ offices can vary among states. Some will forward your complaint to an agency they feel is more suited to handle your complaint. Others may feel that your only recourse is to seek legal representation. The point of filing a complaint with the state attorney general is to make state officials aware of the situation. The more complaints pertaining to similar acts of Internet fraud they receive, the more likely they will take notice and take immediate action.