WHERE TO REPORT A SCAM:
Choosing the right jurisdiction
Page 1 -
Law Enforcement Jurisdictions:
US City, Town, and County
Foreign & International
U.S. State Jurisdictions
When and how to contact
State Attorney General's Office
Office of the Secretary of State
State's Bureau of Investigation
State Securities Commission
State Jurisdictions do not get involved in scams perpetrated from out
of country or out of state unless at least one of the suspected scammers resides in or
is operating out of that state. Example: an alleged investment
corporation is registered in one state and the scammer owners reside in
If you are aware of a scam being perpetrated by a suspected fraudster living in
another state, do not hesitate to contact the proper authorities in that
If you are calling in a tip that you suspect someone of a
violation, before you call write down what you want to say or make some
of notes so you remember everything you want to report. There are
few things more frustrating than remembering information you wanted to
hand over after you've hung up the phone.
If you are calling in with
direct, personal knowledge and and victim experience, have your
long form or
short form narrative and evidence package
at the ready.
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE
As chief legal officers of the states, commonwealths, and
territories of the United States, the Attorneys General serve as
counselors to state government agencies and legislatures, and as
representatives of the public interest. It is often said that Attorneys
General occupy the intersection of law and public policy, dealing in
areas as diverse as child support enforcement, drug policy, and
When to contact a state's Attorney General's
As a general rule, Attorneys General do not have any
authority over local law enforcement or a state's courts. However,
as an information source and guide to your state's processes and
procedures, statutes (Criminal Code), Statutes of Limitations, and
general legal directions to follow, they can be invaluable.
Not all Attorney General Offices are created equal.
Depending on state budgets and statutory and constitutional mandates,
the availability of guidance differs. Do not be dismayed.
Persistence usually pays off. Don't be timid about knocking on all
the AG's doors, including that of the Legal Department. You will
find the national list of Attorneys General on the
US Attorney General's website.
state's attorney's office is a coordinator for state and local
enforcement, providing support by representing the people of the state
in criminal cases.
Ordinarily, the state's attorney's office, like the U.S. Attorney's
office, does not come into play until there is sufficient evidence that
a crime has been committed to warrant action on the part of the state.
A state's attorney's office does not perform primary investigation
When to contact your State Attorney's Office:
Unless you have already filed a report with law enforcement, you would
not accomplish anything by contacting a State Attorney's Office.
On the other hand, if your report has gone far enough that warrants have
been issued and a Prosecuting Attorney has been assigned to the case,
then you will be given the name and phone number of the Prosecutor.
If you feel that your case is sitting in a pile of cases
somewhere or is being ignored because you are "only a scam victim," you
may want to call your State Attorney's Office.
Search: [name of state] attorney general
THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE:
Among other duties, a state's Secretary administers
corporate and trademark laws, business registrations, partnerships,
limited liability partnerships, trade names, licensing for various
professions and trade crafts, and more.
When to contact a state's Office of the Secretary of
Contact a Secretary of State's Office when you are the
victim of a corporation, licensed professional, or licensed tradesman,
whether or not you live in the state or country where the problem
business is registered.
Secretary of State offices normally have an online
database for you to search to determine the existence and status of a
registered business. It is wise to use this service before making
Search: [name of state] secretary of state
BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION:
state's bureau of investigation is a support facility for state and
local enforcement. Although each state may have a different policy with
different programs, a state's investigative branch is mainly concerned
with analysis and information support for on-going investigations being
conducted by other law enforcement entities within that state.
When to contact your State's Bureau of Investigation:
Although your state's Bureau of Investigation is normally only an
internal resource of your state's Justice Department, it never hurts to
give them a call, especially if you have your
short form or
narrative and items of proof
and/or corroborating witnesses lined up.
Whether they will consider your case or not is dependent
on a variety of factors, and you may have just the evidence they were
looking for - or not.
If not, ask for a recommendation to another agency.
Search: [name of state] bureau of investigation
THE STATE'S SECURITIES COMMISSION
Securities and investment fraud perpetrated by scammers
residing in any particular state is not always handled by an agency
called "Securities Commission." In some state, these crimes are
addressed by the Office of the Secretary of State, or by an agency with
a name that does not include the word "Securities."
The best way to determine the name and contact
information for the correct state agency for securities and investment
scams is to contact the state's Attorney General's Office.
To find the contact information for a particular state's
Attorney General's Office, call information or go the National
Association of Attorney's General web site:
http://www.naag.org/. You can
also search [name of state] attorney general.
When to contact a state's authority that enforces
When you have knowledge of and/or personal experience of
Investment scams perpetrated by a group or individual
A web site offering fraudulent investment schemes
where the site is registered to an individual or company residing in
Fraudulent securities offerings
Fraudulent offers of Bank Guarantees, Debentures,
Letters of Credit, Certificates of Deposit, or other financial
The Dictionary of Financial Scam Terms, High Yield
Investment Program Fraud)