How to Report Online Fraud


Were you ripped off online?

If you’ve been ripped off on the web, this article explains how to report online fraud to the proper authorities. It includes a step-by-step method to force dishonest individuals or businesses on the internet to deal with you fairly, or at least how to cause them so much pain that they wish they had.

Most people and businesses on the web are friendly and honest, but many are dishonest and fraudulent. Did you pay for a product or service and didn’t receive it, or did it not turn out to be what you expected? Or did you provide a product or service, and the customer didn’t pay you? Did you divulge personal information or send money to someone you don’t know?

Here are a few types of scams you may encounter:

  • Products and/or services not provided or shipped
  • Counterfeit products and/or services
  • Credit report harm
  • Cryptocurrency scams
  • Fake charity or charitable event
  • IRS tax-related schemes
  • Order confirmation scams
  • Relatives in trouble and need money
  • Real estate rental fraud
  • Social Security scams
  • Tech support scams

List of Steps to Report Online Fraud

Whatever the reason, being a victim of a scam online can be painful and embarrassing. Follow the steps below to investigate the fraud and file a complaint.

Gather Information

First, gather as much information about the dishonest party as you can. Get names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. Download copies of chat transcripts, make screenshots of profiles, copies of emails, etc.

Let them know you’re taking action.

Then, let the fraudsters know you’re taking action. This step is optional but may help you resolve the issue without additional hassle. Inform the dishonest party that you intend to take action against them if they do not solve the problem equitably and honestly and that that action will include criminal fraud charges. Give them a chance to figure out that it would be much easier for them, to be honest.

Report Online Fraud to the FBI Internet Fraud Complaint Center

Go to the FBI’s Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) website, locate the type of fraud that most closely matches your situation, and click on the “File a Complaint” link to fill out an online form. The IFCC provides a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a suspected criminal or civil violation.

Report fraudulent incidents to Internet Fraud Watch

Go to the Internet Fraud Watch website and click on the “Online complaint form” link. The Internet Fraud Watch of the National Consumers League is the oldest nonprofit consumer organization in the United States.

Also, if you’re dealing with a business, report the fraud to the Better Business Bureau Online website. BBBOnLine is the arm of the Better Business Bureau that deals explicitly with websites. The BBB contacts the business involved in the dispute to see if they want to work it out amicably. When a company has a lot of complaints at the BBB, it will affect its rating.

Contact the Attorney General’s Office

Use a search engine to find out how to contact the Attorney General’s Office of the state where the dishonest party operates. Then file a complaint. If your complaint involves fraud, this could result in criminal charges against them.

Lookup the Domain and Hosting Company

If the thieves a website as part of the fraud process, go to the ICANN website and do a WhoIs lookup. Unless the owner has private registration, this will reveal who owns and hosts the site. Make a note of all relevant information.

Also, contact the web hosting company and let them know they are enabling scammers by hosting the site. Inform the company that provides the web hosting if they continue to provide the dishonest party with web service. Their company may be liable as an accomplice in a criminal action. However, be careful of making legal threats without consulting with an attorney.

Connect with other victims

Use a search engine to find message boards and discussion forums that may want to help with your problem. You might find that the same company has ripped off many other individuals, and you may be able to initiate a class action lawsuit or at least learn how others are dealing with the problem.

Amazon-specific Reminders

If you need to report a fake Amazon email, forward the email to Then, add the email address to your spam blocker and delete it.

  • Order Confirmation Scams come from phone calls, text messages, and emails. Often, the messages refer to an unauthorized purchase. Then, the scammers ask you to urgently confirm or cancel the purchase. Next, the fraudsters will try to convince you to provide payment or bank account information, install software on your computer/device, or purchase gift cards. So, how do you protect yourself? If you receive this type of correspondence regarding an order you weren’t expecting, verify orders by logging into your Amazon account. Only legitimate purchases will appear in your order history. Also, if you need help, Amazon Customer Service is available 24/7 to assist.
  • Tech Support Scams involve scam artists who create fake websites and claim to provide tech support for devices and Amazon services. Customers who visit the web pages may be tempted to contact the thieves, thinking it is a legit website. Instead, go directly to the help section on Remember, legitimate Amazon websites contain “” such as “”

Additional Tips

To punish the dishonest party, it is imperative to stick with the facts. Don’t exaggerate or make false accusations. If you exaggerate, they could file a lawsuit against you for falsely accusing them of character defamation.

Keep your actions focused on solving the actual problem. If you begin contacting the dishonest party or other related parties with information or accusations unrelated to the problem, you could be charged with harassment. However, they cannot charge you with harassment for frequently contacting a party to get a product or service you paid for. Or if you didn’t receive or get paid for a product or service that you provided.

Don’t fall for the false sense of urgency. In almost every case, scammers try to get you to act immediately. They play on your fear to get you to react before thinking through the situation.

Questions and Comments

Please post a message below if you have any questions or comments about how to report online fraud. Also, learn more about other Frauds, Scams, and Schemes.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


  1. FORGET THE FCC, My opinion,They are NOTHING but a bunch of DEAD BEATS thats milking the govt for a nice paycheck. Their reply is ” if more people will complain, we will look into this matter,, WHAT?? Thats what those IDIOTS are there for to look into ANYONE that gets ripped off, and NOT wait until more people complain. Im trying to get the FCC investigated as we speak. Bet your complaint hits the trash can after you talk to them.

  2. I was gambling on one of the company’s that operate on Facebook. I sent my deposit thru cashapp and then played. I won 500 bucks. I then requested a cashout. And only then was informed that I will only get 50 dollars a day unless my play is reviewed at the end of the week and my payout increased. Which is based on my play. So basically they hold my money hostage. And force me to play it and most likely lose it in order to maybe get more of my money. This is not normal policy. And is a set up so they never have to pay total amount. Ever will tell you before u deposit. So I got 50 day one and I then sent a messenger message that told them what thieves they are. Today I’m locked and not one penny besides the 50 hasbeen paid. Gonna act like because they were called out what they are and had some expletives thrown in they dont have to pay I have texts admitting they owe. How do I go about this

  3. YourTrendyMall was the site to advertise their product and to sell it during the Christmas shopping days. Number (1) their site tricked you into getting Two of their products instead of one, after they received your credit card number, no way to change it. Crystal Color Changing Touch Operated + Remote Control Lamp looked really nice so I decided to keep them both as gifts to family members. Sad to say, but the remote didn’t work right off the bat, but the lamp worked for 1 day and was very nice. I then wouldn’t work at all and I’ve tried a number of things, but could not get it working. I hate to say this, but I feel ripped off and I bought 2 of them. I tried to review this product on the site where I first saw it, but even that wouldn’t let me say anything other than it’s ok or not. Invested over $100 on your product and nothing to show for it. The return policy was 7 days, then nothing after that, then there were all kind of charges if you returned in the 7 day period, BS. My gifts were not even opened until after Christmas after the 7 day return period had ended. I get a — when I put in “YourTrendyMall” -Bottom line is I’ll accept the loss because I was dumb enough to fall for their advertising of their product, but would like other people to know just how shady this whole deal was.

  4. I order a service upgrade for a device that needed to be shipped to LA, Ca. I paid the 95.00 service charge. The device is cost 950.00. What are my options on getting the device back or having them refund the cost of the device and the service charge?
    Thank you for any advice.


  6. I ordered a product for an elderly person I help from They took the money but cannot contact them, as no order confirmation, phone gets cut off and email doesn’t work. Sick of these vile people who think this is OK.

    • How did you pay for the product? If you paid with a credit card, you can dispute the charge with your credit card. As long as you report it to them in a reasonable amount of time. If you paid with a check, see if can put a stop payment on the check with your bank.

  7. I have a charge on my card from THEKITTYCLOTHES.COM for $59.99. I have never even heard of them before. When I emailed them I was informed that this was my BI-annual charge for their membership. Huh? I am even allergic to cats! They then via email gave me the link to where my “membership” was and my “member” number. I went to the site- where I have never seen such cheap, overpriced Cra* in my life. And they are saying I paid $59.99 for it.. Well, I didn’t and this is obviously fraud period! I am reporting them to EVERYONE! In their “Terms and Coditions” It states there are NO refunds. I replied to their email and highly advised that they return my money. We shall see!

  8. Hello, Today 28th July I placed an order the amount was $67.00, when the sale was completed I have a bill for $495.00. all of which I never ordered. I was not shown this account set up until the sale was finalized. It is an obvious scam, especially with no reply. I would not usually order from America being the inventor of the scam. Thanks for listening. L.D.Witham

    • There are probably steps you could take, but the effort will be difficult. In general, the options are: contact law enforcement in China, contact the Chinese Embassy in the United States, contact the U.S. Embassy in China, or contact an attorney in your local area. It is unlikely that law enforcement or the Embassies would be interested in helping, unless it involves a significant fraud ring. A local attorney in your area may be able to provide some advice, or even write a letter to the company.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.