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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Reporting the crime

July 24, 2010

 

What to know about reporting

 Every report of online fraud to law enforcement does not result in criminal investigation or prosecution of the crime.  Reporting to law enforcement or other agencies is still important however; it helps track patterns that can ultimately lead to investigation and prosecution.  Further, reporting incidents can lead to an increased understanding of the crime and better methods for addressing it, thereby decreasing its prevalence and ultimately providing more services and support for victims. 

 How to report

If you are a victim of online fraud, report the crime to your local law enforcement agency.  In addition to local law enforcement, several federal agencies accept reports of online fraud and track patterns in fraud and identity theft nationally:   

 

  •  Identity Theft

-A police report is a vital piece of recovery for identity theft victims.  In these cases, the report is an “Identity Theft Report” and entitles you to specific legal rights.  For more information on filing a police report as a victim of identity theft, see the Federal Trade Commission’s tips here.

-Report the crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).  The IC3 is a joint program of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NWC3) with the intent of receiving complaints regarding internet-related fraud, further developing complaints, and referring complaints to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.

-The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a specific program for identity theft complaints: Call the FTC ID Theft Hotline @ 1-877-ID-THEFT or visit the website. 

 

  • Financial Fraud

-Report the crime to your local law enforcement agency.

-Report the crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

 

  • Other Types of Fraud 

-The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) takes complaints for all types of financial fraud and also collects complaints for other reporting agencies such as the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the United States Postal Inspection Service: Call 1-877-FTC-HELP or submit a complaint online.

-If you are a member of the military or military family, file a complaint with Consumer Sentinel Military, a partnership between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Defense to specifically explore problems affecting members of the military and their families.   

-For more information on reporting, go to the “reporting fraud” section of stopfraud.gov

-If you live outside of the United States, Victim Assistance Online provides a directory of reporting organizations by country.