Internet Fraud

Internet scams are so common that phrases like “Nigerian get rich quick” are a cliche.  Yet as Marguerite’s experience demonstrates, there seems to be no government agency interested in deterrence.  All that I have encountered seem interested only in investigating after an actual loss has occurred.

I should think it would be desirable to run “sting” operations to make it more risky for the fraudsters to operate.  But I guess most of them operate in parts of the world where corruption is pandemic, and enforcement is casual.  Here are the agencies that I know about:

Internet Online Complaint Center: www.ic3.gov
Consumer Fraud (DOJ) www.usdoj.gov
Consumer Guides: www.usa.gov
Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force: www.stopfraud.gov
www.onguardonline.gov

US Computer Emergency Readiness Team  https://www.us-cert.gov/  “You can report phishing … by sending email to phishing-report@us-cert.gov.

I regularly send phishing emails to this last address.  Only once did I receive any response.  I suspect that they get thousands if not millions of reports.  In general it is most helpful if you can send the entire message including the headers.  Simple forwarding of the message usually does not include the information needed to track the sources.

AOL, Comcast, and most other providers have teams that work to shut down scammers.  Usually the email address is something like “abuse@comcast.net.”