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.
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 agencies.
Report to the business involved: If the scam uses the name of a business or you were scammed by someone on their platform , you can report it to that business.
FTC: Next,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 scammer.
Complain to the company, assuming it is a legitimate company. If you are polite, but persistent, you may get a areplacement or refund.
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 at Internet Fraud Complaints Center.
Be sure to contact your bank or credit card company if you have given out credit card numbers, bank account information, etc.
If You Are A Victim File A Report With Ic3
If you are the victim of an online or internet-enabled crime, file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center as soon as possible.
Crime reports are used for investigative and intelligence purposes. Rapid reporting can also help support the recovery of lost funds.
Visit ic3.gov for more information, including tips and information about current crime trends.
Report Scams To The Federal Government
You can report scams to the federal government. Your report may keep others from experiencing a scam. Government agencies use reports of scams to track scam patterns. They may even take legal action against a company or industry based on the reports. However, agencies dont follow up after you report, and can’t recover lost money.
Do not use the contact information included in scam messages. Use verified contact information in USA.gov’s federal agency directory to report other government imposters.
Report Disaster and Emergency Scams
Report coronavirus scams and other scams about disasters and emergencies.
Use the National Center for Disaster Fraud’s web complaint form or call .
Find more information on identifying and reporting coronavirus scams.
Report Most Common Scams
The Federal Trade Commission is the main agency that collects scam reports. Report the scam to the FTC online, or by phone at . The FTC accepts complaints about most scams, including these popular ones:
- Phone calls
- Demands for you to send money
- Student loan or scholarship scams
- Prize, grants, and sweepstakes offers
The FTC also collects reports of identity theft. Report identity theft online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at .
Report Online and International Scams
Report Social Security or IRS Imposter Scams
Scammers often pretend to work for the Social Security Administration or Internal Revenue Service . Common signs include:
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Reporting To The Police
In the UK, all fraud , is reported to the police through Action Fraud using its contact centre or online reporting tool. Action Fraud is the central repository for reports of fraud and cyber-dependent crime and feeds all data it receives into the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau that matches and analyses data and disseminate crimes that meet a certain criteria to police forces for investigation.
Action Fraud and NFIB are managed the City of London Police, the National Lead Force for Fraud Investigation.
Search The Government Website For An Official Number
For all other countries, the best way to find out where to report scammers is to Google the countrys official government website and search the site for a scam reporting phone number, or other information about the proper avenues to use for reporting scammers.
You can also Google something like how do you report a scammer in and the name of the country youre in. This should pull up official websites for agencies that deal with different types of scams in your country.
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Do You Have To Choose Between The Criminal And Civil Justice Systems
No. The two systems can work together. There is nothing to prohibit a civil claim following a criminal claim, or vice versa or even both happening simultaneously . Simultaneous proceedings are allowed unless the defendant would face a real risk of serious prejudice which may lead to injustice in either the civil proceeding, the criminal proceedings or both.
For instance, serious prejudice would occur if there was significant adverse publicity generated by both cases occurring simultaneously. Please visit the Fraud Advisory Panel charity website and complete their interactive decision tree that will help you understand more about the civil and criminal justice routes.
What Are The Benefits Of Reporting The Fraud To The Police
There are several benefits to reporting fraud these include:
The possibility the State will investigate, seize assets and prosecute the offenders When a fraudster is prosecuted and found guilty, the Court may order the confiscation of assets and award compensation Alerting the police to the identity and activities of fraudsters may help to protect others from being defrauded Reporting fraud shows others that you take the matter very seriously
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Ive Been A Victim Of Fraud Now What
If you lost money as a result of the fraudulent communication, you may file a report online.
To prevent further loss of monetary funds, please ensure you take the following steps:
If you have provided personal information but have not lost any money, please contact the Police Reporting Unit at 613-236-1222, extension 7300 to file a report as a report cannot be filed online.
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Will The Police Prosecute Someone
When a fraud is investigated by the police in the UK, there is no guarantee it will result in a prosecution. In cases such as this, the decision to charge is made by the Crown Prosecution Service based on the guidance set in The Code for Crown Prosecutors. The prosecutor applies a test to decide if the evidence is strong enough to secure a conviction and that prosecution is in the public interest. The Prosecutor will also refer to CPS guidance on charging practice for Fraud Act offences. For example, the guidance states:
The borderline between criminal and civil liability is likely to be an issue in alleged Fraud Act offences particularly those under Section 1. Prosecutors should bear in mind that the principle of caveat emptor applies and should consider whether civil proceedings or the regulatory regime that applies to advertising and other commercial activities might be more appropriate. Not every advertising puff should lead to a criminal conviction but it is also the case that fraudsters prey on the vulnerable.
Prosecutors should guard against the criminal law being used as a debt collection agency or to protect the commercial interests of companies and organisations. However, prosecutors should also remain alert to the fact that such organisations can become the focus of serious and organised criminal offending.
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Fraud Alert: National Elder Fraud Hotline Impersonation Scams
The National Elder Fraud Hotline has received reports that the Hotline’s name and phone number are being used as part of a scam.
These scammers falsely represent themselves as Hotline staff and attempt to obtain personal information or money through threats, including a claim that the caller is filing a suit against the call recipient.
We encourage the public to remain vigilant and do not provide personal identifiable information , such as a social security number, or money in response to these false claims.
If you have received a scam phone call, email, or message, you may report it to the Federal Trade Commission online or by calling 877FTCHELP . After reporting the incident to the FTC, please contact the Hotline at 833-372-8311 so we can track the frequency with which this scam is happening.
Identity Theft And Fraud
Identity theft most commonly occurs online, but there are other ways thieves can get your personal information:
- Phone books
- Personal checks
- Social Security numbers
Over 500,000 Americans become victims of identity theft annually, costing them and financial institutions approximately $750 million. Once victimized, it could take months or even years to clear ones credit rating. Taking the following steps will help avoid identity theft, along with the aggravation and expense that follow.
How to Protect Yourself
What to do if Your Identity is Stolen
- Notify your bank and/or credit card companies immediately. Also notify the three credit bureaus , and the police. Contact the creditor with whom your name has been fraudulently used. Make them aware that you too are a victim of the fraudulent activity.
- Keep detailed records, including dates, times, and names of previous persons notified, and the results of the conversations. Note any tracking or complaint number issued to your case. Follow up all company notifications with written correspondence. Keep copies of all correspondence.
- Check current accounts for a recent change of address request. Notify the Postal Inspector if you learn that an identity thief has filed a change of address form for your mail.
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Avoiding Scams In The Future
Take a look at our information on spotting and avoiding scams for some simple tips on keeping your money and personal details secure. Be aware that scammers sometimes target people they know have already lost money to scams. They might claim to be an organisation that can help to get your money back in exchange for an upfront fee. Genuine law enforcement agencies would never ask for a fee to recover the money you have lost.
Friends Against Scams train people to protect themselves and others against scams. If youve been targeted by scammers and want to help, you could sign up online as one of their Scam Marshals.
What Is An Impostor Scam
An impostor scam is where someone pretends to be someone else, maybe someone you know or a business or charity you trust. Impostor scams can be over the phone, email or through the mail.
Common impostor scams include someone pretending to be
- a debt collector
- a debt settlement company or offering debt relief
- a foreclosure relief company
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Contact Information For Specific Types Of Fraud
While the Competition Bureau does not investigate many of the following scams, we work with many enforcement bodies to help address them.
Contact the organizations listed below to report a scam or request and investigation.
- Fraud and scams in your province/territory
Contact your local consumer affairs office to request an investigation into a scam that appears to come from within your own province or territory. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau to file a complaint or leave a review about a business.
How To File A Fraud Report With Police
Reporting fraud, from embezzlement to identity theft, is important for two reasons: it can help you as a victim recover personal losses, and it can prevent other people from falling victim to the same scheme. Sometimes, whether because of the high volume of fraud reports or because your local police force is ill-equipped to deal with such cases, filing a fraud report with local authorities can be difficult. Still, you should always report a crime, including fraud, to the local police, as a police report will help protect you in the future. If you’re the victim of a fraud, close your affected bank accounts and credit cards, file a report with the Federal Trade Commission , place an alert on your credit report and begin the process of filing a police report with your local law enforcement agency.
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The Registry Application Process
Step 1 Get court order/verificationStep 2 Get live scan fingerprintsStep 3 Complete registration application formStep 4 Complete checklist for applicationStep 5 Mail documentsStep 6 Receive registration notification
The information above is from the website of the Office of the Attorney General, State of California, Department of Justice.
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Obtain Proper Building Permits When Rebuilding
- Contact your local building inspectors office about permit requirements before starting repairs. Sometimes permit fees are waived after a disaster as part of the rebuilding process. The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards encourages contractors to apply for permits on behalf of building owners.
- Schedule any necessary inspections. As part of the permitting process, local building inspectors must inspect the work being done to ensure it meets all relevant codes and standards.
- Document all work. Keep records of building permits, inspections, etc. for insurance and other record-keeping.
For additional information, see Home Improvement guidance from the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation .
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Getting Your Money Back
You wont always be able to get your money back if youve been scammed. You might have more protection if you’ve paid for something by credit card. Contact your bank immediately if you know that youve been tricked into revealing personal information or banking details, or if you notice suspicious activity on your account.
The Money Advice Service has more advice on getting your money back if you’ve been the victim of a scam or identity theft.
Dont Panic Take Action
Its perfectly normal to feel distraught and hopeless after you lose money to scammers, but the sooner you take action, the better your chances are of recovering at least some of your money.
Its very important to follow the next steps to prevent scammers from stealing any more of your hard-earned funds, especially if they have hold of your credit card or bank info or other sensitive data that could be used to perpetrate identity theft.
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Where Do I Report A Scammer
Once youve notified your bank, you should reach out to the authorities to report the scam. For those who have experienced website scams or fraud via an online purchase, reach out to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov. This is a Federal Bureau of Investigations website. All you need to do to report the crime is provide the FBI with some basic information. Start by clicking File a Complaint. Then, proceed by clicking the IC3.gov button, which will take you to a page focused on internet crimes.
If you believe the scammer has also stolen your identity, you can reach out to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or 1-877-ID-THEFT. They also have a place on their website, www.ftc.gov to file a consumer complaint or report identity theft.
If you are unsure about where to direct your scam complaint, reach out to the FBI online or give them a call at 324-3000.
Report The Incident To The Financial Institution That Transferred The Money
If you have already sent money, notify the financial institution you sent the money to. This might be a money service business such as Western Union or MoneyGram, a bank or a credit union, a credit card company, or an Internet payment service provider. Tell them you are reporting fraudulent activity associated with their account.
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Gather All Information About The Suspected Fraud
All information related to a scam might be useful as evidence. Here’s how you can help:
- Take note of the name of the person who approached you, what they were trying to get you to do, and when it happened.
- If they contacted you by telephone, write down the phone number they used.
- If the contact was online, make printouts or take screenshots of key web pages, such as those focusing on the product or service, the terms and conditions, and payment information.
- Write down or copy and paste the exact website address.
- If you were contacted by email, save a copy and take note of the senders IP address, if possible.
- If you found the website using a search engine like Google, provide the search terms you used and indicate whether you clicked on a link or banner ad.
- Keep your notes and all documentation, such as:
- cancelled cheques
- printed or electronic copies of emails
- printed or electronic copies of web pages
Reporting A Fraud Or Scam
Many people fall victim to frauds and scams. If you have been a victim of a fraud, its important that you report it. Not only can it help you possibly recover any loss, it helps protect the community from future frauds and scams.
- Document all information about the fraud including receipts, copies of emails and/or text messages.
- Report your fraud to police:
- If you have suffered a financial loss and the value is less than $25,000 CDN submit your report to us online.
- If you have suffered a financial loss and the value is more than $25,000 CDN call us at 204-986-6222 to make your report.
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