End of the year review

I would like to thank our friends at the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) for their post yesterday.

Education Remains the Best Defense Against Internet Fraud

2009 is turning out be a banner year for the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Experts predict the Center will end the year with close to 350,000 complaints. That’s a heck of a lot more than last year in which a record 275,284 complaints were received. 2010 will probably set another record.

While there is no doubt IC3 has become one of the most recognized vehicles for reporting online fraud today, the numbers have to date, only scratched the surface. Many experts believe the number of people who fall prey to credit card fraud, online auction fraud, phishing scams and the like, is actually far greater than the complaint numbers would indicate and cyber thieves aren’t letting up. If anything, they’re increasing their efforts to separate you and I from our money.

Consumers need to educate themselves to prepare for the coming decade and the wave of sophisticated scams that are sure to follow. There are a host of Web sites available that can help including:

http://www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com

www.scamvictimsunited.com

http://www.scambusters.org

If you do fall victim to online fraud, contact your local police right away and file a complaint with IC3 at http://www.ic3.gov. It only takes a couple of minutes and the information can help law enforcement bring the perpetrators to justice.

Reporting Scams

“How do I report that I have been a victim of an online scam?” is a question I hear on a regular basis, either on our message board, through emails or left as comments on other sites. There are plenty of places that you can report that you have been a victim of an online scam. The main place that I would recommend would be the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) which is a combined effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).   As you can see, you get the resources of three larger agencies all from one place, and to me, that much better than reporting with multiple agencies individually.   To file a complaint with the IC3, go to http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx

The following information is right from the IC3 site Frequently Asked Questions section . . .

Q: How are complaints resolved?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) thoroughly reviews and evaluates each complaint so that we may refer it to the appropriate federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agency. Every complaint that is referred is sent to one or more law enforcement or regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction over the matter. Once we refer a complaint to the appropriate agency, it may then be assigned to an investigator. We, therefore, ask that you provide a telephone number in the event an investigator needs to contact you for additional information.

IC3 cannot guarantee that your complaint will beinvestigated.

Why can’t they guarantee that your complaint will be investigated? It all comes down to jurisdiction . . . who has the power and authority to address this sort of crime in the location that the crime was committed. Now, you might say that the crime was committed in what ever city or state that you live in, but since this person did not come to your home and take the money from you that is not true. They were sitting in front of a computer in another country and through the information sent to you over the internet they defrauded you. Being that the crime took place over the internet, with the place of origin being the foreign country where the scammer is, it would be the law enforcement and government in that country that would have to address this crime. (why other countries do little to nothing is an issue for another time)

 Now, I am not in ANY way discouraging anyone from filing a complaint . .. quite the opposite!  I feel that it is VERY important for every victim of a scam to report it. This will bring more attention to the growing problem and history shows us that when enough people feel that something is a problem they will try to do something to change it. So if you area victim of a scam please report it. http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

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