Frequently Asked Questions

Prior To Filing A Complaint

Q: How do I file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center accepts online Internet crime complaints filed by the person who believes they were defrauded or filed by a third party to the complainant.

Q: What details will I be asked to include in my complaint?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center can best process your complaint if we receive accurate and complete information from you. Therefore, we request that you provide the following information, if available, when filing a complaint:

  • Your name
  • Your mailing address
  • Your telephone number
  • Name of the individual or business that defrauded you
  • Address of the individual or business that defrauded you
  • Telephone number of the individual or business that defrauded you
  • Website and email address of the individual or business that defrauded you
  • Specific details on how you were defrauded
  • Any other relevant information necessary to support your complaint
Q: How are complaints resolved?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) thoroughly reviews and evaluates each complaint so that we may refer it to the appropriate federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agency. Every complaint that is referred is sent to one or more law enforcement or regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction over the matter.

Once we refer a complaint to the appropriate agency, it may then be assigned to an investigator. We, therefore, ask that you provide a telephone number in the event an investigator needs to contact you for additional information. IC3 cannot guarantee that your complaint will be investigated.

Q: Do you have a definition of Internet crime that I can refer to?

Internet crime is defined as any illegal activity involving one or more components of the Internet, such as websites, chat rooms, and/or email. Internet crime involves the use of the Internet to communicate false or fraudulent representations to consumers. These crimes may include, but are not limited to, advance-fee schemes, non-delivery of goods or services, computer hacking, or employment/business opportunity schemes.

Q: Can I file a complaint if I have been defrauded of money or goods?

If you believe you are the victim of an Internet crime, or if you are aware of an attempted crime, you can file a complaint on our website. Be sure to include as much information as possible about yourself (i.e. name, email address, mailing address, etc.), the perpetrator, and the Internet crime that you are reporting in order to expedite your complaint.

Q: Should I file a complaint if I received an email asking for my bank account information in order for money to be transferred from another country?

If you believe you are the victim of an Internet crime, or if you are aware of an attempted crime, you can file a complaint on our website. Be sure to include as much information as possible about yourself (i.e. name, email address, mailing address, etc.), the perpetrator, and the Internet crime you are reporting in order to expedite your complaint. Be sure to copy and paste the entire email, including the header information, in the complaint. For more information on this topic, please see Internet Crime Schemes.

Q: Should I file a complaint if I received an offer from someone in another country to purchase an item I have listed on the Internet with payment being made in the form of a cashier's check in excess of the asking price?

If you believe you are the victim of an Internet crime, or if you are aware of an attempted crime, you can file a complaint on our website. Be sure to include as much information as possible about yourself (i.e. name, email address, mailing address, etc.), the perpetrator, and the Internet crime you are reporting in order to expedite your complaint. Be sure to copy and paste the entire email, including the header information, in the complaint. For more information on this topic, please see Internet Crime Schemes.

Q: Should I file a complaint if I received an email from a financial institution or other entity asking me to verify personal account information?

If you believe you are the victim of an Internet crime, or if you are aware of an attempted crime, you can file a complaint on our website. Be sure to include as much information as possible about yourself (i.e. name, email address, mailing address, etc.), the perpetrator, and the Internet crime you are reporting in order to expedite your complaint. Be sure to copy and paste the entire email, including the header information, in the complaint. For more information on this topic, please see Internet Crime Schemes.

Q: Can I file a complaint if I am a citizen of the United States but have been victimized by an individual or company outside of the United States?

If one of the two parties involved is located within the United States, please feel free to file a complaint.

Q: Can I file a complaint if I have been victimized by an individual or company in the United States, but I am not a citizen of the United States?

If one of the two parties involved is located within the United States, please feel free to file a complaint.

After A Complaint Is Filed

Q: What happens after I file a complaint?

After you file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), you will receive an email containing your complaint id and password. This email will contain a link to an area on our site where you can view, download an adobe pdf version of your complaint, and also provide additional information to be added to your complaint.

As Internet crime complaints are reported online, the IC3 electronically compiles the data. Trained analysts review and research each complaint, disseminating information to the appropriate federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies for criminal, civil, or administrative action, as appropriate.

Q: When will I be updated on the status of the investigation of my complaint?

After you file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the information is reviewed by an analyst and forwarded to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies with jurisdiction. The IC3 does not conduct investigations and, therefore, is not able to provide the investigative status of a previously filed complaint. It is the IC3's intention to review every complaint and refer them to law enforcement and regulatory agencies having jurisdiction; however, investigation and prosecution is at the discretion of the receiving agencies.

Q: How do I add additional information to my existing complaint?

If, at any time, you would like to report additional information pertaining to a complaint you have already filed with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, you can update your complaint by providing your previously assigned complaint number and password.

Q: Will I be informed that my complaint was received successfully?

Once you file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, you will receive an email confirming receipt of your complaint which contains your complaint id and password.

Q: How do I cancel my complaint that I filed?

Once a complaint has been filed with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, it cannot be canceled.

Related Evidence

Q: Should I retain evidence that supports my complaint or send it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center does not collect evidence regarding complaints. While you may include copies of electronic information in your complaint, you must be sure to keep all original documents in a secure location. In the event that a law enforcement or regulatory agency opens an investigation, they will request the information directly from you.

Q: What type of documents would be considered as evidence in regard to my complaint?

It is important that you keep any evidence you may have related to your complaint. Evidence may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Canceled checks
  • Certified or other mail receipts
  • Chatroom or newsgroup text
  • Credit card receipts
  • Envelopes (if you received items via FedEx, UPS, or U.S. Mail)
  • Facsimiles
  • Money order receipts
  • Pamphlets or brochures
  • Phone bills
  • Printed or preferably electronic copies of emails (if printed, include full email header information)
  • Printed or preferably electronic copies of web pages
  • Wire receipts

Keep items in a safe location in the event you are requested to provide them for investigative or prosecutive evidence.

Urgent Complaints

Q: Can I file a complaint if I have been threatened over the Internet via email, chat room, or on a website?

If you think your life is in danger, please contact your local and/or state police immediately!

Q: What should I do if I believe my complaint is time sensitive?

After you file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, the information is reviewed by an analyst and forwarded to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies with jurisdiction. As investigation and prosecution is at the discretion of the receiving agencies, please contact your local law enforcement directly if you believe your matter is time sensitive.

Terrorist Tips

Q: Where should I submit information relating to possible terrorist activity?

To submit possible terrorist information, please visit the Federal Bureau of Investigation's website and submit a tip.

Disclosure of Information

Q: What information can the Internet Crime Complaint Center provide regarding the legitimacy of a company?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) cannot provide information on a specific company. IC3 was created to serve as a comprehensive reporting and referral system for Internet crime complaints. It serves the public and the law enforcement agencies which investigate Internet crime.

Q: What information can the Internet Crime Complaint Center provide if I think that a complaint has been filed against myself or company?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is not a resource available to the general public for answering questions arising from the complaint information it receives. IC3 does not release information about specific complaints and/or the resolution of those complaints. Therefore, IC3 is unable to provide you with such information.

Spam Emails

Q: Is there an email address that I can forward SPAM emails that I receive?
You must file a complaint on our website as the Internet Crime Complaint Center does not have a specific email address established for the receipt of such information. Be sure to copy and paste the entire email, including the header information, in the complaint.

Media

Q: Whom do I contact from each of the partner agencies at the Internet Crime Complaint Center if I am a member of the media wishing to speak with a member of your press office?

Please contact the National White Collar Crime Center, Communications Department, Richmond, VA, (800) 221-4424 or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Press Office, FBIHQ, Washington, D.C., (202) 324-3000.

Employment

Q: Where can I find out about employment opportunities with the Internet Crime Complaint Center?

For employment opportunities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), please visit the FBI's website.

For employment opportunities with the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), please visit the NW3C's website.