If you’ve ever been scammed, you may feel hopeless. Scam artists have many tactics up their sleeves, from selling counterfeit goods to stealing your information online. Sadly, the majority of people have found themselves on the receiving end of a scam, unsure about how to find justice. But fortunately, there are ways you can fight back, including reporting the incident to the police. In this guide, we will discuss reporting a scammer to the police, as well as how to find justice through the Federal Trade Commission and Internet Crime Complaint Center. If you’ve been scammed, read on to find the right solution for you.
What can you do if you get scammed?
If you have recently been scammed, take comfort in knowing that there are multiple resources out there to help. However, scammers come in all shapes and sizes, and reporting them may look different depending on the crime. If you’ve been scammed over the phone, the process of reporting it will look a bit different than if you have been scammed on a website or by a local scam artist.
Regardless of the details of the crime, you will want to notify your bank immediately if a debit or credit card was used to make the fraudulent purchase. When you call, ask to speak to the fraud department. The fraud representative will ask you several questions about the scam, such as when it took place, how much money you have lost, and if you have noticed any other suspicious transactions that resemble fraud. Many banks will investigate on your behalf and reimburse you if they find the purchase was indeed a scam.
Where do I report a scammer?
Once you’ve notified your bank, you should reach out to the authorities to report the scam. For those who have experienced website scams or fraud via an online purchase, reach out to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov. This is a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FB) website. All you need to do to report the crime is provide the FBI with some basic information. Start by clicking “File a Complaint.” Then, proceed by clicking the IC3.gov button, which will take you to a page focused on internet crimes.
If you believe the scammer has also stolen your identity, you can reach out to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or 1-877-ID-THEFT. They also have a place on their website, www.ftc.gov to file a consumer complaint or report identity theft.
If you are unsure about where to direct your scam complaint, reach out to the FBI online or give them a call at (202) 324-3000.
Can you file a police report on a scammer?
If you have fallen victim to a scam, your local police department should be able to help along with the resources mentioned above. It is generally best to file a police report on a scammer, reach out to your bank, and file a complaint with the appropriate federal agency as soon as possible after you have been scammed.
To file a police report for a scam, you will need make a call to or visit the fraud division of your local police department. Make sure you are able to provide them with information about the incident, from bank statements to credit card charges, emails, and phone call history. If you have any information about the scammer, such as their physical appearance, the sound of their voice, phone number, or IP address, be prepared to share it with the authorities.
Upon reaching out to the police, they will ask you for the information they need to file the report. Be sure to make a note of which officer files the report and their contact information in case you need to follow-up. Depending on what kind of scam has taken place, your local authorities may not be able to catch the scammer. In this case, they should be able to provide you with additional resources to help. Sometimes, your local police department will direct you to a state consumer protection office for scams related to banking, insurance, investments, and household utilities.
How do I get my money back from a scammer?
There are a couple of avenues you can take if you are trying to get your money back after a scam. The most efficient way is to report scams immediately to your bank’s fraud department if you had money stolen from you on a credit or debit card.
The FTC focuses on stopping businesses who use scams to make money. They also work to get customers refunds for any money lost from scams. If you file a report, the FTC cannot promise you will get your money back, but if there are enough scams from one company, they will make it a priority to shut them down and get customers their money back.
To learn more about this topic, check out How To Spot and Protect Yourself From Scams.