Reporting scams that run on the Internet can be done in several ways. Popular Internet search engine companies like Yahoo! and Google have professional teams that investigate scam complaints, which results to malicious sites being taken down or blocked to halt its operation. Google users can access its “Report malicious software” page at http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/report_badware/ to lodge a complaint against suspicious sites while for Yahoo!, you can navigate to the Yahoo! Security Center in Yahoo! Help and access the “Yahoo Security Phishing Report Form.”
Websites that use deceit or manipulative social engineering tactics to steal personal information are called phishing sites, while those that offer financial gain from minimal investment fall under the category of business and employment scams. When you have been victimized in one of these websites and prefer formal investigations that will result to prosecution, reporting scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the best action to take.
The Internet is filled with fraud and scams that fall under various categories. Reporting scams like the ones listed below must be done to have the site closed and keep more people from being deceived.
- Identity theft or phishing scams start with spam emails that that lead you to a website where your login credentials, bank account number, credit card number, and PIN number must be keyed-in. Whether scare tactics or get rich schemes are being used to manipulate you, keep in mind that legitimate businesses never ask for personal information.
- Business and employment scams entice people through promises of substantial income from an initial investment of a hundred dollars or less. When you get taken in by this scam, its succeeding stages require higher amounts of investment without delivering the promised income. Reporting scams like these at its initial stage can help you recover some of the money that you have spent.
- Ecommerce scams are websites that auction or offer goods for sale at substantial discounts. The site can either be a phishing scam that vanishes after you have provided your personal information or in some cases, purely malicious sites that fail to deliver the promised goods or send you goods with inferior quality.
The FTC is an independent agency of the US government with a mandate to protect consumers against deceptive acts and unfair practices. Its mandate covers a wide scope that include investigative and enforcement actions against suspicious advertising and marketing practices, telemarketing fraud, and identity protection. There are other government agencies tasked to investigate Internet fraud but reporting scams to the FTC can put a stop to the suspicious websites that continue to victimize Internet users. To file a complaint against perpetrators of phishing emails and other Internet fraud, you can go directly to the FTC webpage at http://www.ftc.gov/complaint.
Some victims of Internet fraud avoid reporting scams because they feel powerless against faceless scammers. When lodging a complaint, people are used to putting a face and a name to identify the perpetrator of the scam. In Internet scams, the people that you deal with remain faceless and the names that they go by are usually fictitious. However, the FTC has been dealing with reports and complaints about Internet scams for many years, and has the resources and databanks to identify scammers. Reporting scams to the agency is the best action to take not only to recover part of the money that you have lost to the scammers but also to prevent other people from being victimized.