If you have been a victim of a scam, you need to report it. This may help to recover any losses you have incurred as well as help protect all of us.
First is to try to contact the company or individual you were dealing with. Even a company that is a ripoff may find it is in its own inteest to offer a refund. Also, everyone else that you report to will ask that you attempted to settle directly
If you paid by Credit Card you should contact your Credit Card issuer and speak with its fraud department. They may be able to issue a chargeback or get a refund from the company. Most of these scam companies want to continue to operate and if they are not willing to issue a refund the credit card company may deny them further credit card payments essentially shutting them down.
Contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and File a complaint on their website. Be sure to give them a valid email address. After you file a complaint they will send you a Complaint ID and Password so you can update the complaint as needed. The IC3 does not actually investigate or prosecute although they are a part of the FBI. They do forward valid complaints to approrpiate law enforecement and government agencies.
If you are a victim of fraud related to the U.S. Mail, including mailed sweepstakes, lotteries, on-line auctions, work-at-home scams or chain letters, you should file a report to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. They do not deal with individual claims. They do investigate if any crime was committed and assist in prosecutions. This works to stop further scams and may force resolutions to consumers as part of a legal settlement.
The Federal Trade Commission is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC collects complaints about companies, business practices and identity theft. The FTC does not resolve individual consumer complaints. The complaints filed are used by law enforcement and goverment legislatures for investigations, prosecutions and new laws for consumers.
You can also phone the FTC at: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
You should also contact your local Police or Sheriff’s office. Many local law enforcement agencies now have a division dedicated to Internet crimes.
Most state Attorney General’s offices also now have a Cybercrimes division.
Remember that timely reporting is important. Some scammers will dissapear quickly along with your money. Place your reports while it is fresh in your mind and before scammers change their addresses, phones, etc. Be sure to update reports as you find new details.