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The Fraud Aid Library

Choosing the right law enforcement agency

to file your scam report

Silence is fraud's best friend.  Word of mouth is fraud's worst enemy.  Pass the word!TM

 

 

Jurisdictions Menu

Introduction:

Navigating the system

Definition of jurisdiction

Definition of fraud with intent 

Jurisdiction specialties 

Inter-jurisdiction challenges 

Inter-jurisdiction cooperation 

The cost of a fraud investigation   

Helping to defray the expenses of a fraud investigation at no cost to you

The biggest obstacle for investigators

Understanding fraud evidence that demonstrates intent 

Losses to a group of scam victims

Your role as a scam victim or someone who has knowledge of a scam being perpetrated on others

 

Jurisdictions

Local Enforcement:

US city, borough, or township

County sheriffs

State enforcement:

State Attorney General's Office

State Attorney's Office

Office of the Secretary of State

State's Bureau of Investigation

State Securities Commission

Federal Enforcement:

Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI

Secret Service

US Marshals

US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Federal Trade Commission FTC

Securities & Exchange Commission SEC

Internal Revenue Service Criminal Division IRS

Overseas & International Enforcement:

INTERPOL

Scotland Yard  

The UK's Serious Fraud Office 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP - Mounties)

The National White Collar Crime Centre of Canada (NW4C) 

PhoneBusters  

Secret Service Overseas  

FBI Overseas

Internet

Internet Fraud Complaint Center 

Internet Better Business Bureau

National Fraud Information Center  

SEC Internet Enforcement Program

 

 

 

 

Work at home job scams: Payment Processing, Shipping, Check Writing, Western Union, MoneyGram, more...

 

Lottery Scams

 

YOUR CHECK LIABILITY: How to really verify a check, money order, traveler's check, cashier's check, etc.

Your ID Theft Prevention To-Do List

Threats from scammers: What to do and how to do it

 

WHERE TO REPORT A SCAM: Choosing the right jurisdiction

Intro: Page 1 - Page 2

Law Enforcement Jurisdictions:

US City, Town, and County  US State  US Federal  Foreign & International  Internet

 

U.S. Federal Jurisdictions

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

The US Secret Service

US Marshals

US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)  

The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division (IRS-CID)  

 

When and how to contact

 

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI):

In brief

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the principal investigative arm of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ)*. At present, the FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of Federal crimes.

* See the Department of Justice Organizational Chart (opens in new window)

 

White-Collar Crimes: The White-Collar Crime Program, the largest of the FBI's criminal programs, targets such criminal activity as money laundering, bank fraud, embezzlement, public corruption, environmental crimes, fraud against the government, health care fraud, election law violations, and telemarketing fraud.

 

When to contact the FBI:

When you have evidence or knowledge of:

 

Bankruptcy Fraud

Financial Institution Fraud

Health Care Fraud

International Frauds

Cyber Fraud

Money Laundering

Telemarketing Fraud

Embezzling

Fraud Against the Government

Disaster Fraud

Insurance Fraud

Investment Fraud**

Securities Fraud**

Terrorist activity

**Depending on the circumstances, Investment Frauds and Securities Frauds also fall under the jurisdiction of the state securities oversight agency in which the frauds were perpetrated and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  Present your narrative and evidence packet to the state agency.  If that doesn't work, move to the SEC and the FBI.  Always tell each agency that you have reported to the other agencies, along with the name of the agent you spoke to.

 

 

How to contact the FBI:

FBI field offices are located in 56 major cities. Of those, 55 are in the United States, and one is in Puerto Rico. The locations were selected according to crime trends, the need for regional geographic centralization, and the need to efficiently manage resources.

 

There are 4 ways to contact the FBI:

 

NOTE: It is not a good idea to email the FBI if you need immediate assistance, and they do not encourage it.  If you do not wish to call, it is better to write to them at the address below.

 

  • Look in your telephone book for the phone number of the nearest office, or look online at http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm for the nearest FBI Field Office.  Call and ask for an agent who can speak with you about

  • Submit a tip at https://www.ifccfbi.gov/complaint/terrorist.asp  Although this site was set up primarily for terrorist-related information, it accepts information on any suspected criminal activity as listed above.

  • If you are outside the US and not located near any of the listed offices, you can contact the nearest American Embassy or Consulate: http://www.usembassy.gov.  You will either be directed to the correct office or the FBI will be contacted on your behalf.

  • If you are unsure about contacting a U.S. representative on foreign soil, then you can call directly into the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC at (202)324-3000 or write to the following address:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

 

 

The FBI is open to calls from non-US residents (citizen residents of foreign countries) who want to report U.S.-based criminal activity or crimes perpetrated by US citizens living abroad.

 

You can file an online report at the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) site.  Be sure to read the instructions carefully, and have all your information ready before you fill you the form.  http://www1.ifccfbi.gov/cf1.asp 

 

If you are calling in a tip that you suspect someone of a violation, write down what you want to say, including valid reasons for your suspicions, before you make the call.

If you are reporting a direct, personal knowledge and/or experience of a scam, have your long narrative or short narrative and evidence package ready.

 

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The U.S. Secret Service (USSS):   

In brief

Established as a law enforcement agency in 1865, The US Secret Service investigative responsibilities include crimes that involve financial institution fraud, computer and telecommunications fraud, false identification documents, access device fraud, advance fee fraud, electronic funds transfers, and money laundering as it relates to our core violations. US Secret Service - Investigations  http://www.ustreas.gov/usss/index.shtmlFor more information, see The Financial Crimes Division (FCD), http://www.treas.gov/usss/financial_crimes.shtml

  

THE SECRET SERVICE AND YOU:   The Secret Service relies heavily on the support of outside organizations and individuals. Federal, state, county, and local law enforcement [police] organizations are valued partners of the Secret  Service in every phase of its investigative and protective operations.

 

The support of private individuals helps the Secret Service succeed in its  investigative and protective missions. 

 

When to contact the U.S. Secret Service:

When you have knowledge or evidence of:

 

- Financial Institution Fraud & Related Criminal Investigations

- Counterfeiting 

- Money Laundering

- Telecommunications Fraud

- Forgery

- Food Stamp Violation

- 419Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud

- Terrorist Activities

- Credit Card Fraud

- Fraudulent Identification

- Cyber Fraud

- (Government/Welfare) Program Fraud

- Social Security Fraud

- Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Card

- International Organized Crime Activity

 

If you are calling in a tip that you suspect someone of a violation, write down what you want to say, including valid reasons for your suspicions, before you make the call.

If you are reporting a direct, personal knowledge and/or experience of a scam, have your long narrative or short narrative and evidence package ready.

 

How to contact the Secret Service:

You will find a list of Secret Service US and overseas based field offices with address and phone number at http://www.treas.gov/usss/field_offices.shtml

 

It is not a good idea to email the Secret Service if you need immediate assistance, and they do not encourage it.  If you do not wish to call, it is better to write to them at the address below.

 

If you are outside the US and not located near any of the listed offices, you can contact the nearest American Embassy or Consulate: http://www.usembassy.gov

You will either be directed to the correct office or the Secret Service will be contacted on your behalf.  If you are unsure about contacting a U.S. representative on foreign soil, then you can call directly into the Secret Service headquarters in Washington, DC at 202-406-8000 or write to:

 

U.S. Secret Service
Office of Government Liaison & Public Affairs
950 H Street, N.W.
Suite 8400
Washington, DC 20223

 

The Secret Service is open to calls from non-US residents (citizen residents of foreign countries) who want to report U.S.-based criminal activity or crimes perpetrated by US citizens living abroad.

 

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The US Marshals Service

 

In brief

Established in 1789, the duties of the U.S. Marshals Service include protecting the federal judiciary, apprehending federal fugitives, managing and selling seized assets acquired by criminals through illegal activities, housing and transporting federal prisoners and operating the Witness Security Program.

When to contact the US Marshals

US Marshals do not investigate crimes, so you would not choose them to file a fraud report.

 

However, fugitives have to hide somewhere and sometimes they choose to run a romance scam or other relationship scam to provide themselves with a safe haven, money, and transportation.  If you suspect that a person with whom you, a friend, or relative is involved may be a fugitive, immediately contact your local law enforcement.  You may want to contact the US Marshals as backup.  http://www.usmarshals.gov/contacts/

 

If you are not in the US, contact the nearest Secret Service or FBI overseas office, and/or call the US Marshals directly.

 

If you are calling in a tip that you suspect someone of a violation, write down what you want to say, including valid reasons for your suspicions, before you make the call.

If you are reporting a direct, personal knowledge and/or experience of a scam, have your long narrative or short narrative and evidence package ready.

 

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US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)

 

In brief

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety.  ICE executes its mission through the enforcement of more than 400 federal statutes, and focuses on smart immigration enforcement, preventing terrorism and combating the illegal movement of people and trade. 

 

When to contact ICE

In addition to immigration scams and foreign bride scams, fraudsters cross borders, perpetrate their scams and run back across the border.  Illegal aliens scam victims to obtain false identification, money, and transportation.  Foreign thieves, drug traffickers, human traffickers, arms traffickers, and other cross border criminals have no problems scamming people to obtain whatever they need to achieve their goals.

 

If you suspect or have personal knowledge that a scammer is an undocumented foreigner, contact ICE immediately for instructions.  http://www.ice.gov/contact/field-offices    

 

If you are calling in a tip that you suspect someone of a violation, write down what you want to say, including valid reasons for your suspicions, before you make the call.

If you are reporting a direct, personal knowledge and/or experience of a scam, have your long narrative or short narrative and evidence package ready.

 

ICE is open to calls from non-US residents (citizen residents of foreign countries) who want to report U.S.-based criminal activity or crimes perpetrated by US citizens living abroad.

 

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US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

In brief

The DEA does not investigate fraud reports but is interested in valid tips.

The DEA enforces US controlled substances laws and regulations aimed at growing, manufacture, and illicit trafficking.  The DEA works to uphold laws against illicit drugs in the US and on an international level, cooperating with foreign enforcement agencies and INTERPOL.

Organized crime is known to use fraud, most particularly Internet scams, as a source of income to help fund the establishment and maintenance of drug trafficking.

If you strongly suspect or have personal knowledge of a scammer who is involved in drug trafficking, please contact the FBI or the Secret Service with your report; however, it does no harm to also inform the DEA that you have filed a drug-related scam report with the FBI or Secret Service.  http://www.dea.gov/contact.shtml

If you are calling in a tip that you suspect someone of a violation, write down what you want to say, including valid reasons for your suspicions, before you make the call.

If you are reporting a direct, personal knowledge and/or experience of a scam, have your long narrative or short narrative and evidence package ready.

 

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US Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

In brief

The Department of Homeland Security does not investigate fraud, but it does coordinate various agencies that do. 

DHS missions include preventing terrorism and enhancing security; managing our borders; administering immigration laws; securing cyberspace; and ensuring disaster resilience.

That doesn't mean you can't contact them with knowledge of a crime to seek guidance.  For instance, if you suspect or have personal knowledge of a disaster relief scam, you may want to contact the DHS to ask for the best agency to call.

If you are calling in a tip that you suspect someone of a violation, write down what you want to say, including valid reasons for your suspicions, before you make the call.

If you are reporting a direct, personal knowledge and/or experience of a scam, have your long narrative or short narrative and evidence package ready.

 

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

In brief

The Federal Trade Commission enforces a variety of Federal antitrust and consumer protection laws. The Commission seeks to ensure that the nation's markets function competitively, and are vigorous, efficient, and free of undue restrictions. 

The Commission also works to enhance the smooth operation of the marketplace by eliminating acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive. In general, the Commission's efforts are directed toward stopping actions that threaten consumers' opportunities to exercise informed choice. 

 

 

Finally, the Commission undertakes economic analysis to support its law enforcement efforts and to contribute to the policy deliberations of the Congress, the Executive Branch, other independent agencies, and state and local governments when requested.

In addition to carrying out its statutory enforcement responsibilities, the Commission advances the policies underlying Congressional mandates through cost-effective non-enforcement activities, such as consumer education. http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/mission.htm 

 

When to Contact the FTC:

When you have knowledge of or evidence of:

 

  • Telemarketing fraud

  • Product labeling fraud

  • Identity Theft

  • Billing for services fraud

  • Consumer Fraud

  • International Telephone Billing Scams

  • For more information on crimes covered by the FTC, please click to http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/stat3.htm

 

How to contact the FTC:

The FTC does not perform investigations on behalf of an individual per se.  It collects information about fraudulent business practices and turns the information over to the proper law enforcement agency.  To learn more about how the FTC works an investigation, please click to http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/action.htm

 

There are 3 ways to contact the FTC:

  • Phone: toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)

  • Write to the FTC at 

Federal Trade Commission
CRC-240
Washington, D.C. 20580

If you are calling in a tip that you suspect someone of a violation, write down what you want to say, including valid reasons for your suspicions, before you make the call.

If you are reporting a direct, personal knowledge and/or experience of a scam, have your long narrative or short narrative and evidence package ready.

 

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission - The SEC

 

In brief

The world of investing is fascinating, complex, and can be very fruitful. But unlike the banking world, where deposits are guaranteed by the Federal government, stocks, bonds and other securities can lose value. There are no guarantees. That's why investing should not be a spectator sport; indeed, the principal way for investors to protect the money they put into the securities markets is to do research and ask questions... http://www.sec.gov/about/whatwedo.shtml

The Division of Enforcement investigates possible violations of securities laws, recommends Commission action when appropriate, either in a Federal court or before an administrative law judge, and negotiates settlements on behalf of the Commission.

While the SEC has civil enforcement authority only, it works closely with various [Federal] criminal law enforcement agencies [and police offices] throughout the country to develop and bring criminal cases when the misconduct warrants more severe action... http://www.sec.gov/about/whatwedo.shtml

 

When to contact the SEC:

When you have knowledge or evidence of an investment fraud that involves any kind of shares, Promissory Notes, Bank Guarantees, financial documents, trade documents, billing documents, insurance documents, Bonds, or Treasuries.  The SEC will refer you to the proper agency for the parameters of the crime.                     

 

 

 

How to contact the SEC:

>  You can file a complaint with the SEC online at http://www.sec.gov/complaint/selectconduct.shtml

 

>  You can call the FTC at (202) 942-7040 or TTY: (202) 942-7065

 

>  You can write to the FTC at:

 

SEC Complaint Center
450 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20549-0213
Fax: 202-942-9634

 

If you are located outside the U.S., then you can contact the nearest American Embassy or Consulate and speak with a Legal Attach?/span> (a-ta-shay)  Go here for a list of Legal Attach?: http://www.fbi.gov/contact/legat/legat.htm

The Attach?will either direct you to the correct office or contact the FBI personally.

 

If you are calling in a tip that you suspect someone of a violation, write down what you want to say, including valid reasons for your suspicions, before you make the call.

If you are reporting a direct, personal knowledge and/or experience of a scam, have your long narrative or short narrative and evidence package ready.

 

The SEC is open to calls from non-US residents (citizen residents of foreign countries) who want to report U.S.-based criminal activity or crimes perpetrated by US citizens living abroad.

 

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The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division (IRS-CID)

 

In brief

"... Since the inception of IRS Criminal Investigation, our mission has been to follow the money. And almost from the inception, the question of "Why is IRS involved?" has been asked. The fact is, no matter what the source, all income earned, both legal and illegal, has the potential of becoming involved in crimes which fall within the investigative jurisdiction of IRS CI. It is the objective of CI to utilize the broad authority of Title 26 and 31, tax, currency reporting and forfeiture and Title 18 money laundering, conspiracy and forfeiture to identify, investigate and prosecute the most significant tax, currency and money laundering offenders; and to pursue the assets of those offenders both domestically and internationally for criminal tax and asset forfeiture purposes. ..." http://www.treas.gov/irs/ci/docfinancialcrimes.htm

 

When to contact the IRS-CID:

NOTE: If you are having trouble getting your fraud report heard, especially if it involves substantial sums of money, try looking at probably income tax evasion and contact the IRS-CID.

When you have knowledge or evidence of:

 

  • Income Tax Evasion

  • Failure to File

  • Filing False Returns

  • Narcotics Related Financial Crimes

  • Frivolous filers/non-filers who challenge the constitutionality of the American tax system

  • Abusive Trust Schemes

  • Employment Tax Cases

  • Unscrupulous Tax Return Preparers

  • Claims for Fraudulent Refunds

  • Illegal Source Financial Crimes (Money obtained illegally or through fraud)

  •  Money Laundering

  • Money used to further terrorism, particularly:

  • The leadership and members of extremist groups who have committed tax, money laundering, or currency violations;

  • Persons engaged in fundraising activities to support terrorism, especially if tax exempt organizations are being utilized;

  • Terrorism investigations involving complex, extensive or convoluted financial transactions.  

  • For more information on this topic, please go to http://www.treas.gov/irs/ci/factsheets/docterroristtaskforces.htm

 

 

 

How to contact the IRS Criminal Investigations Division:

  • To report suspected tax fraud activity, telephone 1-800-829-0433 

  • To report suspected tax law violations, telephone 1-800-829-0433

  • If you are located outside the U.S., then you can contact the nearest American Embassy or Consulate and speak with a Legal Attache (a-ta-shay)  Go here for a list of Legal Attaches: http://www.fbi.gov/contact/legat/legat.htm

    The Attache will either direct you to the correct office or contact the FBI personally.

If you are calling in a tip that you suspect someone of a violation, write down what you want to say, including valid reasons for your suspicions, before you make the call.

If you are reporting a direct, personal knowledge and/or experience of a scam, have your long narrative or short narrative and evidence package ready.

 

The IRS-CID is open to calls from non-US residents (citizen residents of foreign countries) who want to report U.S.-based criminal activity or crimes perpetrated by US citizens living abroad.

 

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We are not attorneys and don't pretend to be.  In our experience, the information and guidance offered on this site have proven to be effective; however, we always recommend that you consult with an attorney.

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