How to Report Email Fraud and Spam to Authorities
Email spam is an unavoidable nuisance of online life. And while your email provider probably does a good job of filtering out junk, you might wonder how to report email fraud if you receive a particularly shady message.
Let’s take a look at how to report email fraud to the proper resources.
Reporting Fraud to Government Authorities
First, we’ll look at what government agencies you should report fraud to, based on where you live.
Where to Report Email Fraud in the US
If you receive a fraudulent email and live in the United States, you can report it to both the FBI and the FTC.
For the FBI, visit the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center). There, you can file a complaint. Click the FAQ link to see some details about what a complaint entails. The page is intended for people who have been victims of online crime, but you can fill out the details even if you haven’t fallen for anything.
Next, you should also consider filing a complaint with the FTC. Select a category from the left side and walk through the steps to put your report into the correct category.
Finally, you can also report email fraud to your state’s consumer protection office. Visit USA.gov’s State Consumer Protection Offices page to find the information for your state.
How to Report Email Fraud in Canada
Residents of Canada should head to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s Report fraud page. This will walk you though reporting what happened.
Note that you’ll need to sign in with an approved partner account (such as a bank) or create a new GCKey account.
How to Report Email Fraud in the UK
If you live in the UK, the National Cyber Security Centre asks that you forward phishing emails to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You also have the option of reporting it to Action Fraud using the online form.
Reporting Email Fraud in Australia
Those in Australia should head to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch form.
Reporting Email Fraud to the Impersonated Company
While it’s a good idea to let the appropriate authorities about email fraud, it’s not the only step you can take. Agencies like the FBI probably won’t respond to what you file using their forms, and they can’t help you recover money if you handed it over to scammers.
If you receive a fraudulent email pretending to be from a certain company, you should report it to the real company. You’ll find contact info for most businesses on their website, and some have a dedicated email address for forwarding fraudulent messages.
For instance, Amazon’s suspicious communication page has instructions for reporting scam messages. It asks you to forward fraud emails to email@example.com. PayPal requests that you forward fake emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hopefully, the company in question can have a team look into the specific scam in an attempt to shut it down. If many people report it, they’ll be more likely to start investigating.
Report Email Fraud to the Email Provider
The last step of reporting scam emails is to let the email service know. Companies like Google and Microsoft don’t want malicious users taking advantage of their services to rip people off.
Most email services have an option for reporting phishing messages, as well as options to report accounts that break the rules. Let’s look at a few of the most popular ones.
How to Report Fraud in Gmail
In Gmail, you can click the three-dot menu to the right of any message and choose Report phishing. This will remove the email from your inbox and report the danger to Google.
If the fraudulent email came from a Gmail address, you can also use the Gmail abuse reporting form. This helps Google investigate people using the service for illicit means.
How to Report Email Fraud to Yahoo
Unfortunately, Yahoo Mail doesn’t have simple reporting tools like Gmail does. You can mark an email as spam in your Yahoo Mail account, but there’s no option to report fraud or phishing.
Yahoo’s help pages direct you to Yahoo Support to report security issues, but at the time of writing, this wasn’t working properly. Your results with it may vary.
How to Report Email Scams in Outlook
If you use Outlook on the web, open an email and select Junk > Phishing > Report to let Microsoft know about the problem.
Microsoft has a dedicated email address for reporting phishing. Create a new email message and drag the scam message into it to add it as an attachment. Then send the message to email@example.com so the company can take a look.
Microsoft also has a special page for reporting tech support scams.
The Reality of Email Fraud
If you receive a particularly nasty phishing email, it’s wise to report it using the above channels. Doing so will increase the chance that authorities take action against it.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to be optimistic about this. Due to the nature of email fraud, it’s very difficult to shut down scammers who use this method. The email provider may be able to cut off someone’s access, but that won’t stop them from opening another account and continuing on.
With just an email address to go on, government authorities probably won’t be able to shut down a scam operation. Email addresses are disposable, and the scammers can use VPNs and other methods to hide their location so you can’t trace the email.
This is why gift cards are such a common method of payment for scams. Compared to wiring someone money, gift card codes are essentially impossible to trace. As a result, requesting payment via gift cards is one of the telltale signs of phone scams.
If you or a loved one ever fall victim to email fraud, you can use these methods to explain what happened and hopefully get help. But in most cases, that money is gone. That’s why it’s vital to stay up-to-date on current scams and know how to spot email phishing.
The best defense against email fraud is a healthy caution of everything you receive.
Report Email Fraud When You Can
We’ve seen where you can report email fraud to government agencies, companies, and email service providers. Making more people aware of fraud is important, but it’s also very difficult to shut down scam operations before they pop back up.
If you also get similar messages on your phone, find out how to report spam text messages next.
Read the full article: How to Report Email Fraud and Spam to Authorities