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Internet Crime - Reporting to the IC3

Internet Crime Complaint Center Operates Internationally


If you've been the victim of an Internet crime, whether through an email, a pop-up ad or a landing page you ended up on after clicking an ad on the Internet, you can report that crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

What is the Internet Crime Complaint Center?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

The Internet Crime Complaint Center's stated mission is to "serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime."

About Filing a Complaint

The IC3 accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the person who believes they were defrauded (the victim) or from a third party to the complainant (such as a bank, for example). Since the IC3 is empowered to report Internet crime to international authorities, you do not have to be a US citizen in order to file a complaint.

When you file a complaint, the IC3 asks that you provide the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your mailing address
  • Your telephone number
  • The name, address, telephone number, and Web address, if available, of the individual or organization you believe defrauded you. (You can sometimes get this information from the Terms of Service or Privacy Policy links in the footer of the bogus website.)
  • Specific details on how, why, and when you believe you were defrauded.
  • Any other information you believe is relevant to your complaint.

Where to File Your Internet Crime Complaint

The IC3 allows you file a complaint on its website at: http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx. Before you actually complete the form, which will in effect file your complaint, the IC3 asks that you read its FAQ at: http://www.ic3.gov/faq/default.aspx.

What to Expect After You File Your Complaint

After you've successfully filed your complaint with the IC3, you'll receive an email with your complaint ID, a password for your case, and a link to your case file. When you use the link and password, you'll be able to file additional information about your Internet crime complaint as it becomes available.

IC3 personnel will review your complaint and forward information to appropriate criminal authorities and/or regulatory agencies, if warranted. The IC3 itself does not conduct investigations - its primary purpose is to disseminate complaint information and get it in the right hands for further action. You will not receive a status on any actions taken on your complaint.

This Internet crime article is part of the Reporting Work at Home Scams series.

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David Kirkpatrick, Senior Editor, Internet and Technology
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