Report Online Scams and Frauds

Too many victims of online scams and frauds feel too ashamed to report their loss. Don't let this happen to you. The authorities need your information to help fight these crimes, and while they can't always help you recover your losses, your report might help save someone else from being victimized. The federal government has begun successfully prosecuting online scammers under the federal Can Spam Act, but they can't continue their work without your help.

Here's what to do if......

You've spotted a scam

  • Forward all fraudulent emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at
  • Forward phishing emails to the companies or organizations they are imitating.
  • Forward phishing emails to the federal government's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT: and to the Antiphishing Working Group (
  • Contact the Web site's security department if you were approached via a shopping, auction, social networking or dating site.
  • Report fraudulent businesses or charities to the Attorney General ( and the Federal Trade Commission (

You've revealed personally identifying information to a scammer.

  • Do all of the above that apply, plus
  • Cancel any accounts that may have been compromised.
  • Contact a credit bureau and ask them to place an initial fraud alert on your accounts, which will ensure creditors contact you before extending credit.
  • Review your account statements carefully over the next few months.

You're a victim of identity theft.

  • Do all of the above that apply, plus
  • File an ID Theft Complaint Form with the FTC (
  • Bring a copy of your FTC ID Theft Complaint Form with you to file an in-person report with your local police--together they constitute an Identity Theft Report
  • Send a copy of your Identity Theft Report to each of the three --that forces them to remove any fraudulent debts from your credit history.

You've lost money due to an online scam or fraud.

  • Do all of the above that apply, plus
  • File a report with your local Secret Service field office (listed in the Blue Pages or at, or
  • File a complaint with the Internet Crimes Complaint Center (, a joint venture of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crimes Center (NC3W), which offers an easy online form that you can use to report online scams and fraud. The IC3 will collect your information, add it to federal databases that help track similar crimes and refer your complaint to the proper local, state, federal or international authorities for investigation.

For further guidance

contact the FTC or your state's Attorney General's office. While neither agency investigates individual crimes directly, both track trends that help the government crack down on online scams and frauds and both provide an excellent referral service and step-by-step guides to help you report and recover from an ID theft.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
TTY: 1-866-653-4261.

New York State Attorney General
Consumer Helpline: 1-800-771-7755
Crime Victims Hotline: 1-800-771-7755
Hearing Impaired: 1-800-788-9898
Visit for a directory of Attorney General's offices to find a link to your state's office.