How to Report a Scam
How to Report a Fraud or Scam
If you have observed a scam or been the victim of a scam, spam
or fraud and
want to report it for enforcement, here is a list of where to report different
types of scams in the US, UK, Canada and many other countries. In some cases
there is more than one agency to contact. Some scams fit into more than
one category, also.
Of course, in all cases,
you can start by reporting it to us, using this form. We will use the
information to warn other consumers and help you to direct it to law enforcement
the Federal Trade Commission's online complaint tool is
the main tool to reporting a problem or scam to the government. They won't
likely get your money back, but at least you will help them to catch the
Another catch-all for bringing internet scams to the attention of the
FBI and FTC is the U.S. government's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at
Internet Fraud Complaints
Center. If you are looking for your
local FBI Office Listings to report a
crime or scam, click here.
Do you want to report a fraud, scam or crime to the FBI (the
Federal Bureau of Investigation), but
can't find the phone number for your nearest local FBI office?
See this page to find the closest office!
But to protect your finances, identity and in some cases,
identity, you will generally also want to report the scam directly to another
specific agency - see further down this page for specific directions.
Be sure to contact your bank or credit card company if you have
given out credit card numbers, bank account information, etc.
And we will track and post more examples, so once again, please forward a copy to us - see the
email address at the top of this page or cut and paste the email into our
How to report different types of scams:
In the United States:
- The Federal
Trade Commission's online complaint tool is the main tool
and your first stop to reporting a problem or scam. You can file a
complaint here for many types of complaints, such as scam emails, phone
calls claiming to be from the IRS, FBI or another government agency,
identity theft scams, spam, telemarketers, educations scams, jobs scams.
- Reporting Advance Fee
Frauds (also called Lottery scams, Money Transfer Frauds, Lawyers
with deceased clients, widows and orphans with money to
transfer, AFF Scams, Nigerian scams, etc.
- Reporting abusive
use of email accounts (to send scams or spams or receive responses)
- Filing complaints
against a business
- Reporting crimes
- Reporting medical
- Reporting fake websites (called
Phishing and Spoofing)
- Reporting Postal /
scams on the internet
Securities and stock frauds
- Reporting Spam
(unsolicited business emails)
- Reporting stolen checks
- Other useful U.S. Agencies and Websites
Reporting Spams and Scams in Other Countries
See this page for all
You can report spams and scams that are coming from specific email
accounts to the providers. For example, if a scammer is using a Hotmail
account to send scams or spams or receive replies, you can report it to
Hotmail. Be sure to forward the email and copy it's headers (click
here to see how) into the email you send to the provider . That helps
them to trace the source. See
this page for the reporting addresses for the major email account providers.
Scams: AFF - Nigerian, Lottery scams, Money Transfer
Frauds, Lawyers with deceased clients, etc.
- Write to the Federal Trade Commission:
firstname.lastname@example.org - copy them on the email
and explain what has occurred since.
- U.S. Secret Service: If you
ever receive an e-mail or fax from someone you do not know requesting your
assistance in a financial transaction, such as the transfer of a large sum
of money into an account, or claiming you are the next of kin to an wealthy
person who has died, or the winner of some obscure lottery and suffered a
significant financial loss related to the advance fee fraud (so-called
"Nigerian scam"), please contact your local Secret Service field office.
Forward the email to the US Secret Service at
email@example.com or via
fax at (202) 406-5031. The Secret Service retains these messages for future
investigations. Make sure that you include the scammer's message with its
headers (see this page for
information about how to do that). Local Secret Service office phone numbers are available in the
Directory and may also be found on the inside cover of your local
telephone directory. Any investigation regarding this type of fraud will be
conducted on a case by case basis at the discretion of the local Secret
Service and U.S. Attorney's Office.
- If you have given money to the scammers, or believe a crime has been
committed, contact your
State Attorneys General
Businesses: Complaints with businesses with fixed
- Complaints with any US or Canadian business:
Better Business Bureau
Contact the Better Business Bureau where the company is located.
- Any type of Crime; Write to the Federal Trade Commission:
- contact your
State Attorneys General.
Your state Attorney General or local office of consumer protection is also
listed in the government pages of your telephone book
- Phishing and Spam:
Internet Crime Prevention & Control
Institute, a cooperative effort between Zero Spam Network Corp. and
the University of Miami. Staffed by Miami undergraduate and graduate
students and Zero Spam employees, works closely with the Secret Service's Electronic Crimes Task Force
and ISPs in the United States and abroad to identify and block traffic to
machines hosting phishing sites.
- And of course, you can notify the company that is being "spoofed"
- for example, if you receive a phishing attempt that looks like it
came from PayPal, write to the scam reporting at Paypal -
click here for the addresses
for most major companies that have been spoofed.
Medical Frauds, Illegal Drug Sales and Spam
Postal scams (actual letters in
your mailbox / mail slot / letterbox / postbox)
Search engine scam / spam results
- If you have checks stolen, you
will obviously need to quickly notify the police and obtain a copy of the
police report. You must also promptly notify your bank, and not only
void those check numbers, but also close your account and open a new
account. The reason for this is your account numbers can used by the
criminals to create counterfeit checks, like the ones sent to people in
lottery scams. (see
this page as an example of what can happen). Also notify the check
verification agencies yourself. Here is a list of these agencies:
- National Check Fraud
- SCAN: 1-800-262-7771
- TeleCheck: 1-800-710-9898
or 927-0188 (also
see this page for more information)
- CrossCheck: 1-707-586-0551
- Equifax Check Systems:
- International Check
- CheckRite (800) 766-2748
- ChexSystems (800) 428-9623
Non governmental agencies and private organizations