The Internet Crime Complaint Center ( IC3) was
established as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of
and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C)
to serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints
and to further research, develop, and refer the criminal
complaints to federal, state, local, or international law
enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for any investigation they
deem to be appropriate.*
That's pretty official sounding. If you think you've
been wronged, IC3 may be the place to go. They seem to be very
willing to help and aren't asking for much on our part. It only
takes minutes to file a report. Here's all they ask, straight from
the IC3 website:
accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the actual
victim or from a third party to the complainant. We can best
process your complaint if we receive accurate and complete
information from you. Therefore, we request that you provide the
following information when filing a complaint:
name, address, telephone number, and Web address, if
available, of the individual or organization you believe
details on how, why, and when you believe you were defrauded.
other relevant information you believe is necessary to support
The IC3 explains what to watch out for too.
The Counterfeit Cashier's Check scheme
targets individuals that use Internet classified advertisements to
an interested party located outside the United States contacts a
seller. The seller is told that the buyer has an associate in the
United States that owes him money. As such, he will have the
associate send the seller a cashier's check for the amount owed to
amount of the cashier's check will be thousands of dollars more
than the price of the merchandise and the seller is told the excess
amount will be used to pay the shipping costs associated with
getting the merchandise to his location. The seller is instructed
to deposit the check, and as soon as it clears, to wire the excess
funds back to the buyer or to another associate identified as a
shipping agent. In most instances, the money is sent to locations
in West Africa (Nigeria).
cashier's check is used, a bank will typically release the funds
immediately, or after a one or two day hold. Falsely believing the
check has cleared, the seller wires the money as
instructed. Shortly thereafter, the victim's bank notifies him
that the check was fraudulent, and the bank is holding the victim
responsible for the full amount of the check.
Opportunity schemes have surfaced wherein
bogus foreign-based companies are recruiting citizens in the United
States on several employment-search websites for work-at-home
web-based international companies are advertising for affiliate
opportunities, offering individuals the chance to sell high-end
electronic items, such as plasma television sets and home theater
systems, at significantly reduced prices.
affiliates are instructed to offer the merchandise on well-known
Internet auction sites. The affiliates will accept the
payments, and pay the company, typically by means of wire transfer.
The company is then supposed to drop-ship the merchandise directly
to the buyer, thus eliminating the need for the affiliate to stock
or warehouse merchandise. The merchandise never ships, which often
prompts the buyers to take legal action against the affiliates, who
in essence are victims themselves.