Steps to Take When Reporting Internet Fraud
If you enjoy the sheer convenience of paying your bills online or making purchases online, whether it’s on eBay or from your favorite store’s web site, be wary of all the different types of online fraud such as the popular auction fraud and internet banking fraud. Auction fraud, that is items not delivered or misrepresented by the publisher, was responsible for 34 percent of all the complaints the National Consumers League’s Fraud Center received in 2006. In the same year, 20 percent of all the people who were defrauded online were so while paying with their credit cards. So take the extra step and learn how to keep your cards, documents and passwords safe. Read on to find out the steps you can take to report Internet fraud and how it will benefit you.
Internet fraud often includes spam, scams, schemes, false information and everything in between that criminals feed you online as a way to tap in and drain out your financial assets and even rob you of your identity. As the use of the Internet increases so does the number and types of fraud conducted online. In fact, millions and millions of online users are targeted each year by Internet fraud and unfortunately a percentage of these frauds fail to get reported for different reasons such as the lack of information about what to do, embarrassment, and thinking what’s the use?
In 2006, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) stated that victims of all Internet frauds experienced an average loss of $1, 500. This loss could have been prevented if victims took an extra step of precaution before providing personal information via email and “secured” websites. Also, the loss might have been recovered if they’d reported the fraud.
Why Should You Report Internet fraud?
The benefits of reporting frauds conducted online is two-fold. First, more than often you get reimbursed for your losses and are not held responsible for any fraudulent transactions made with your credit card number or bank information. In some places, according to the law card companies can only hold a victim of credit card fraud liable for a maximum of $50 if the victim reports their lost/stolen card or bank information. Second, by reporting the types of fraud circulating the World Wide Web you can help authorities stop criminals from striking again and targeting other online users like yourself.
How Do I Report Internet Frauds?
Regular online shoppers or bill-payers should monitor their accounts on a regular basis for any suspicious or unauthorized activity. If you suspect that your credit card number or other personal information has been scammed, stolen, or compromised. You should:
- contact your card company, bank and other services providers
- check your credit activity to spot other unauthorized charges made to your credit bill or other accounts
- call your local authorities and request to talk to the Fraud Department
- report the fraud with IC3 online (www.ic3.gov)
If you have received spam mail or emails purportedly from the FBI, IRS or from another reputable organization, or if you’re a recipient of an email notifying you won a lottery, asking you to transfer money out of the country, or offering you too good to be true jobs:
- discard the email and
- contact your local police and ask for the Fraud Department
- file a complaint at www.ic3.gov or at another Fraud Centre in your area, or
- get in touch with the organizations that the email claims to represent