Knowing you have been scammed is always difficult…
First of all don’t despair! You can check out our handy guide on how to handle things ‘post-scam’ here!
But in this article we will focus on who you should contact to report a scam and how to make sure you have the best possibility to stop the scammers!
How to collect evidence of the scam
The following steps are adapted from Jennifer Mueller’s article at wikiHow:
Step 1: Write down the order of events.
When you’ve been scammed, the process leading up to this point can be weeks or months, involving email communication, payment, delivery etc. It can be helpful to sit down and think through the order of what has led to the scam itself. Below is an example:
- Saw an advertisement on Instagram for shoes
- Clicked the advertisements and ordered a pair of shoes on the site
- Received a tracking email from the company
- The delivery date was missed
- Emailed the company on <date>
- Never received a reply
- Emailed twice more on <dates>
- Complained to my bank and the amount was refunded to my account <date>
It might sound like a simple exercise, but this allows you to collect as much relevant information as possible which may be useful when reporting a scam. It can also help you identify the best parties to get in contact with (In this case the social media platform could also be contacted to help them remove the online store if it is a scam).
Step 2: Keep copies of online locations and online files/documents related to the scam
This is a important step and can include the collection of the following:
- Source code of relevant websites
- Electronic files,
- Save relevant webpages (incase the scammer shuts the site down)
- Take screenshots of online evidence that is hard to save.
Step 3: Collect non-electronic evidence related to the scam
If you have purchased a product or service, often there will be evidence such as receipts, bank statements etc. that can be useful. It’s better to be overly cautious when collecting this, as even the smallest thing can help authorities identify and track down the scammer!
Where can I report a scammer?
That might sound simple, but with the global nature of the internet often the victims, criminal and the goods can be in three different locations. (However if you have been threatened by the scammer, our advice would be to contact local law enforcement immediately).
So at Scamadviser we’ve put together a handy guide on agencies you can contact in order to report an online scam. We’ve ordered it by country/region to help you find the most relevant organizations!
Econsumer.gov (Initiative of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN)
- Police – Online form / Tel: +357 22808200, +357 22808461
The United States Department of Justice has stated the following when it comes to different kinds of online crimes/scams (as of publication).
Computer Intrusion (i.e. hacking)
Child Pornography or Exploitation
Internet fraud and SPAM
Other resources include:
Think there is an organisation or contact that is missing from this list? Let us know via the comments or contact us directly!