You have been cheated and scammed out your hard earned money! You are angry and want someone to pay. You browse around the Internet for ways to report the scam and warn the others, but don’t quite find a way to do so. Well, you have come to the right place! I am actually an expert in keeping the Internet safe for investors. This article will teach you how to report an online scam and will additionally give you tips and hints how not to get caught, as well as tell you where to find actual legit and paying programs to join.
I have created this practical guide to help you out with the process of reporting an online scam and will go through the steps one by one. It is important to follow the process to ensure a good outcome for your scam report, so please make sure not to miss anything in a hurry! Also please read my previous article about how to recognise an online scam.
Make Sure You Have In Fact Been Scammed
As the very first step, you should calm down! It is easy to jump into conclusions when you are angry and upset! We want to be able to warn others as soon as possible, however in reality shutting down a fraudulent site is a lengthy process and will not happen over night. So take few deep breaths, drink some tea or coffee and go for a walk. Only return to your PC, once you no longer feel like strangling the person who stole your money!
Next step will be to go through the following check list, to make sure that you have in fact been scammed and you have not just made a mistake, or violated the program guidelines and gotten punished for it. Only after exhausting all the options I have listed, should you proceed to making a report for scam. Why is this step so important? A lot of the times real scammers don’t get punished, as people are making a lot of false reporting and it’s drowning the genuine reports or delaying the investigations so long, that they run away with a significant amount of money before they can be stopped in their tracks!
- Is the program still operating? Does the website still load? If the website has stopped operating, it’s a clear indication you have encountered a scam. Be however careful, as they might have been hacked or experience DNS issues, so make sure to check few hours later and the next day again. If it remains non-operational, you probably have indeed been scammed.
- Can you login to your account? There are several reason why you might not be able to get in and might have nothing to do with a scam. Please try the following:
- Reset your password
- Look for other problems with the site, they might be experiencing technical issues
- Contact the site support to ask for the reason of you being locked out
- Have they missed a due payment? There might be several reasons why the payment has been missed and it is mostly because you didn’t actually read the payout conditions properly. Please check the following, especially if this is your first payment from this particular program:
- Your account information is correct
- You have filled in the KYC correctly
- Have you filled in your taxation information
- Did you earn the minimum payout amount?
- Did you fulfill all conditions for the payout?
- Check the banking holidays, both in your country and the country the company operates in! This might cause delays.
- Contact the program asking for explanation for the missing payment.
- Did you read their terms and conditions? You might in fact fallen pray for a dishonest sponsor, who has made you false income claims for your investment. Please understand while this is very unethical, it is not the fault of the program and you should not blame them. Investigate what the program does pay, when and how. Have you full filled all the conditions? 80% of the time when people claim they didn’t get paid, is because they failed to read the policies of the company they joined. Most companies also state that they can change their conditions any time with notice and often due so!
- Are other people experiencing the same issue? If the website has been scamming others as well, you will rather easily find this out on the Internet. Look for scam reports, you should have done this anyway before joining any program. However be careful, as claiming some program is a scam, is a known trick to get you to sign up for theirs! Here is my guide into keeping safe from scams: How To Identify An Online Scam
- Did you contact them? I put this up here as a separate item as people often start yelling scam before even contacting the program in order to have some sort of conflict resolution. There might be many more reasons, that I haven’t listed, which have caused you being locked out of your account or not have gotten your due payments. Call and email the site and give them a reasonable time to respond to you!
How To Report a Scam?
You have with the help of my list come to the conclusion that you have indeed been scammed! I feel for you, I have been there once or twice before I learned to investigate programs that I was joining properly before I got involved! Some of the most effective steps are going to be rather country specific and I cannot possible list them all in this article.
Therefore I am going to give you the following suggestion; let me do the reporting for you! I will double check things for you, before taking actions. I know my way around and have been able to stop many sites in their tracks before they even got started. You can read of one of my many success stories here: INV20 Business Limited – Why is Google Agreeing to Advertise a New HYIP scam?
If you rather swing it on our own, there are some methods, all having their pros and cons. I have listed them all here.
Exposing The Program As Scam On Social Media
As you will quickly learn if you take this route, exposing scam is rather ugly business! Many of the scammers are definitely not happy about you closing their source of income, so think twice before you start on the public route.
You can join some relevant groups on Facebook and Google+, spread the information with twitter, and forums you might even make a website dedicate to it, like I did! You will be able to warn some people with this methods, but will definitely not reach everyone, or will be able to shut down the site by this method alone! Why, you might ask. Well, you must understand that many people will simply not believe you. There are two reasons for this:
- Scammers pay for positive reviews, income statements and proofs and so called monitoring sites to list their program and legit and paying
- They might been suspecting all along that they were cheated too, but are afraid of stating so, as many of these websites have a ‘Not negative comments’ policy, meaning they can expel you or freeze over your accounts if you claim they cheated you. Therefore some people who are simply afraid of saying so.
They might also have learned it’s a scam, or even known so all along, but have simply kept it to themselves, as they wanted to recruit others, in order to cut their own losses! Extremely unethical, but unfortunately this happens all the time!
Contacting The Scam Site
Yes, you can do this and I myself use this method all the time, mostly though in attempt to recover someone’s money. You can threaten them with actions or exposure. Depending how well you are known in these circles, determines your success rate. You are not likely to gain anything by doing this as an individual, without having some influential back up at least.
They might also threaten you in return and even attempt to hack or at least to spam your site or profile. If you are running paid services, they might purchase bad reviews for them in revenge! I have personal experience with both.
Contacting Their Hosting Services
This is a very easy fast way of putting someone out of business as most of the hosting farms have some policies and guidelines about what people run on their servers. You find out who hosts them, by using one of the many websites on the Internet dedicated for this service.
However there a several examples in which these scam sites were allowed to operate for years on the same services, as the hosting companies were either paid off or just didn’t care enough to investigate properly. One example of such a rather clever and long running scam is Forex Paradise, you can read my scam report here: Forex Paradise Scam – Long Running HYIP Offline
Reporting Them To Scam Exposing Sites
There are several hundred site, just like mine out there. It’s a fact, this is not an easy niche to start a website in. However be careful, most sites like mine actually take a percentage of your investment for the recovery of your money or a certain fee for doing an investigation and exposing a site. Some are also scam sites themselves, who’s sole purpose of existence is to get to you sign up to the scam they are either running themselves or at least in business of promoting! I for one don’t, as I only want to genuinely help out anyone, who has fallen a victim of a scam!
Reporting Them To Authorities
This sounds much easier than it actually is! A lot of these sites are actually legally registered in places like Hong Kong, where the laws with financial fraud are rather relaxed! The might also have several different branches around the world. For instance a lot of these institutes like to setup a base in UK, with allows foreign firms easily to register a sister company with a mere virtual office!
That being said, there are couple of government websites, dedicated for reporting Internet fraud:
United Kingdom: ActionFraud is a site run by the police. It’s very annoying, as you have to choose the correct categories and some are simply missing. There is however a human chat available during business hours. They investigations take forever and their services are only open for people who live in UK
Mainland Europe: Report Cybercrime Online is run by Europol. They mostly concentrate in the crimes that happened within European union. Their website is rather good and includes a phone support, however their investigations also take a lot of time.
USA, Worldwide: Internet Crime Complaint Center run by the federal bureau of investigations (FBI) themselves. Works for everyone and good at actually catching the crimicals. They however really don’t care about the money you lost and are rather slow in their investigations.
USA: You may also contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. However navigating their site in order to find a right place to report a specific crime, is a nightmare!
Worldwide: Econsumer this is the best and fastest place to report any crimes anywhere in the world that I have found online. Bit of a navigation nightmare, but if you learn it’s tricks, you can get help fast!
I often have to take several actions, before a site is closed down and sometimes this progress takes months to complete, requires time and dedication and in the end only pays me with the satisfaction that the criminals were either caught or put our of business.