How do I Report Email Fraud?

Ken Black

Reporting email fraud is not as simple as many people may think it should be. Most countries do not have a national clearinghouse or central collection point for email fraud cases. In many situations, reporting the fraud depends on what type of fraud is being perpetrated, what is being alleged and what, if any, identity is being used to make it legitimate. This identity may be personal or business related.

For many people, issues related to privacy and fraud on the Internet and in email are of increasing concern.
For many people, issues related to privacy and fraud on the Internet and in email are of increasing concern.

There are many types of fraudulent email scams going on. Some of the most popular email fraud schemes involve credit card fraud or bank fraud. In those cases, the person trying to perpetrate the crime will often send a very official-looking e-mail, which will actually take the person to a shadow site that looks like something he may be familiar with, in order to entice him to enter account information. When this type of credit fraud or bank fraud occurs, the best solution is to contact not only a law enforcement agency, but also the business whose name is being used.

Most businesses will be especially appreciative of customers who turn in email fraud examples to them. This will help them alert customers that they may also be receiving something and provide directions on how to handle that type of situation. However, doing this requires the ability to be able to recognize a scam and stop it before becoming victimized. Many people may only become aware of the scam after the fact.

Some types of email fraud, at least in the United States, are handled on the national level. This involves any email fraud involving international dealings, interstate commerce or exploiting children. In these cases, the U.S. Department of Justice has different departments that can accept that information. The Department of Justice Website can provide more information.

The main objective in an email fraud reporting situation, is to provide as much consumer protection and identity protection as possible. The easiest time to stop a scam is before it happens. Once the criminal already has the knowledge to do the damage, making it all better can be a very difficult challenge, even for professionals who handle these situations regularly.

In addition to the sites and agencies already listed, one final organization to report e-mail fraud to may be local news media outlets, especially if the scam is very unusual or of an extreme nature. While most news agencies will not have the time to be bothered by everyday scams, there are some so unusual that they garner a tremendous amount of public interest. Those are the types of cases the news media would be interested in sharing.

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Discussion Comments


Some good news is that banks and credit card companies have gotten very good at protecting consumers against fraud. If you find out that a scammer has your bank account or credit card number, report it to your financial institution immediately. There's a very good chance you will get your money back and you will also pass on some appreciated information that can help stop scammers in their tracks.

It wouldn't hurt to get in touch with your ISP, either. They can clamp down on fraud and alert other providers of the problem.


Some states have a great, local resource in a consumer protection division operated by the attorney general. Not all states have that, but the ones that do generally have a consumer protection division (or something very similar) that is quite aggressive at both warning the public of scams and tracking down scammers.

You can easily find out if your state has one by heading to the state attorney general's Internet site. If that office has a consumer protection division, you will usually find that very quickly from the front page because attorneys general love to brag about offering that protection.

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