Report scams to authorities. It’s okay, don’t be embarrassed!
Many of us have been scammed online in some way. It's important to report scams to authorities. Yes, it’s embarrassing, and you want to forget about it, but it’s vital that you do it.
Agencies and law enforcement need your help—and so does the entire country. When you report a scam you’re protecting others by helping police and government agencies. They need you to report your individual case so they can do a better job catching cyber criminals.
Here’s who to report it to.
Let’s get right to it. Here are the places where you could report a scam and other fraudulent activity.
- Contact your local police department. They may or may not have a fraud unit, but they’ll want to know if people in their jurisdiction are being targeted. A little online research on your part will tell you what services or assistance they offer.
- Contact the scam and fraud unit in your state. Your state has resources and a place to file a report on cybercrime, and to begin the recovery process.
- Contact the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). This is a must for any scam involving fraudulent transactions pertaining to purchases and/or businesses, whether online or offline. This is also the place to report text and phone scams, which account for a majority of fraud these days.
- Contact the FBI and their IC3 unit. If you’ve had an encounter with an online scammer, reach out the FBI and their Internet Crime Complaint Center, also known as IC3. Report any crime that happened online to the FBI.
- Go to the U.S Government website for help. You’ll find complete information and resources regarding scams and fraud on the us.gov website: https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-fraud
If you have any questions about reporting fraud to the FTC, you can get answers through their FAQ page at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/faq.
Report near scams too!
Report a scam even if you weren’t victimized. Because there’s a very fine line from being targeted for a scam and becoming a victim. Your report of a close call still helps build a profile of and case against scam networks. Your report of near scams gives authorities more information to build profiles and track trends.
The majority of scams and fraud are not reported!
Government agencies around the world tasked with fighting cybercrimes and fraud need our help. The fact is, too few victims are reporting that they’ve fallen prey to scammers and fraudsters.
A recent guest on the Easy Prey podcast, hosted by Chris Parker (CEO of WhatIsMyIPAddress.com), shared this dismal news on cybercrime reporting by victims. In his estimation…
- For losses of less than $100, the expert guessed that perhaps 1% of the victims reported the lost to any authority.
- For losses around $1,000, he believes that only around 10% of victims report the crime.
While those losses may seem too small to matter, think of how fast these small “successful” scams add up and the money losses with them. In other words, These unreported scams quickly add up to hundreds of thousands of losses, and no record at all of how the scam worked, where it happened and who the victim was.
Also, don’t assume that when someone loses $5,000 or $10,000 those losses are reported. Again, many victims are too ashamed or feel too guilty to tell anyone about their loss. Thousands of scams involving significant losses go unreported every day.
If You’ve Been Scammed, You Need to Report It. Here’s How. Report the crime to authorities. It’s okay, don’t be embarrassed! Click To Tweet
An unsuccessful scam…is still a scam.
Maybe we need to redefine what a scam is, because nearly every thinks they if they haven’t lost money to a con artist or a fraudster, they haven’t been scammed.
That’s not the case.
Think of it like this: If there was a night burglar who was checking houses for unlocked windows and doors, wouldn’t people report that? And wouldn’t the police want to know if that was going on? Here’s what would happen:
- Several neighbors would report the incidents they saw.
- Each report would include time, location, and a description of the suspect of vehicles.
- Investigators would use the information, from targets and victims, to try to identify and locate the intruders.
And yet, it's likely that only 10% to 15% of actual scams are reported to authorities.
And if people who get scammed don’t file a report, you can imagine how few people report a close encounter with scammer.
Reporting scams is key to the fight.
Just like police detectives or FBI investigators on a case, cyber sleuths need leads to track down cyber thieves. You’ve seen the crime shows and movies for years. When a crime has happened, the police and detectives go looking for leads. Think about this for a minute:
- Without any leads, the investigators can do very little. They’re chasing ghosts.
- The more information, tips, insights and details they can get, the better chance of breaking the case.
That’s why sharing in-depth details of your scam experience is helpful,
- It can benefit millions of others by helping take a successful scammer or a scam trend out of circulation.
- It can prevent scammers from preying on others who have a similar profile to you.
It’s not only government officials who analyze the information they receive from reports of fraud. Cybersecurity experts and financial security advisors also have joined the cause to help reduce the occurrence of money scams. They need statistics and information to analyze and share with others.
Scams make headlines; however, scam networks that get busted don’t often make headlines, even though that’s the news we should hear and cheer.
That’s why we all must report financial scams (whether we lose money or not) to government agencies that are set up to fight cybercrimes or fraud.
Winning the fight against cybercrimes.
Yet, there are two types of scam victims:
- There are those that retreat in shame and guilt, and cannot get themselves to admit to others or report it to authorities.
- Then there are those who, despite the emotional pain and hurt, take action and report it. They understand that it’s important to tell authorities of the scam, in hopes of catching the criminals or recovering some of their losses.
Reporting scams and internet crimes helps authorities bring criminals to justice, with hopes of making the internet a safer place for everyone.
Increase your awareness of cybercrimes and scams!
Reporting scams is one step against the fight against scammers. Increasing your awareness—becoming scam savvy and avoiding scams—is another big step.
One way to do that is to subscribe and listen to the Easy Prey podcast, where host Chris Parker interviews experts on a wide range of important topics, all relating to staying safer online and in the real world.
Keep informed, stay safe, and join the fight against scams and fraud.
Listen to the Easy Prey podcasts.
The more you know, the safer you are.